Peanut Bars

My grandma Grace made these delicious peanut bars.  The recipe is from her mother in law, my great-grandma Scholta.  My dad and I would make these bars at Christmas.  Now, my son and I make them on New Year’s Eve.  It takes two people to finish them.  They are very messy to make but totally worth it!

Bear with me as I interpret the recipe from grandma Grace’s hand written cards.


Start with the Mock Angel Food Cake

1 c. white sugar
1 c. scalded milk
1 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. baking powder
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla

These are grandma’s instructions:

I sift the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder together 2 or 3 times to blend well in the bigger bowl.  I put milk on to heat while I beat the two egg whites (use a hand beater) to near peaks (not dry).  When milk is bubbly on the edge it is ready.  Add milk and vanilla to four mixture until just mixed, do not beat, just stir well.  Add egg whites and fold into mixture.  Do not beat or use a mixer.  Dough will be kinda foamy.

Pour into a greased 9X13 pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Makes 18 bars.


Frosting for the Peanut Bars

Grandma says, “I mix powdered sugar, some butter and some milk for a regular powdered sugar frosting till sort of a runny consistency!

Here is what I do:

Melt 1/2 c. (0ne stick) butter.  I then add powdered sugar and milk until a have the runny consistency and the frosting doesn’t taste too buttery.  You will need quite a bit to do all 18 bars.

Finely chop a jar of unsalted peanuts.

Put the frosting in a shallow dish and the peanuts another shallow dish.  Pie plates work great for this!

This is where the messy comes in!  You will need two people to finish the bars.

One person will need to roll the bars in the frosting.  Place the frosted bar in the peanuts and the 2nd person rolls the bar to cover with peanuts.  Put the bars on waxed paper to set.

Grandma has noted on her card – Grandpa rolls them in peanuts.  And does tasting!  I love all of her sweet notes on my recipe cards!

I love, love these peanut bars for so many reasons.  They are wonderful with a big glass of milk, but mostly I love them because of all the great memories I have of making them with my grandma.



Aunt Margaret’s Dilly Bread

Not sure why this is called Aunt Margaret’s Dilly Bread, I don’t have an Aunt Margaret, but here is what I know – my mom made this every year for Thanksgiving and Christmas and it is delicious!!  I now make it for Thanksgiving and Christmas and everyone LOVES it!!   It is so incredibly easy to prepare and it always turns out great.


  • Combine 1 package of dry yeast and 2 tbls. sugar in 1/4 c. lukewarm water.  Let sit until bubbly – 5 to 10 minutes.
  • While waiting for yeast to activate, combine the following ingredients:
    • 1 c. cottage cheese – room temperature
    • 1 tbls. minced onion – I used dried
    • 1 tbls. butter – room temperature
    • 2 tsp. dill seed
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 egg
  • Mix together until combined.  Add yeast mixture and combine.
  • Add 2 1/2 cups of flour and mix

Put in a bread pan and let rise in a warm area for 2 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve warm with butter!  Yummy!


Sweet Potato Casserole

I HATE sweet potatoes, but apparently I make that best sweet potato casserole ever made.  I wouldn’t know because I have never tried it!!  When I first started making it, it was way too sweet.  With my husband’s help I altered my original recipe to make it what it is today.  Instead of the traditional marshmallow topping, which my husband HATES, this has a crumbly, nutty topping. We celebrate Thanksgiving Day with our dear friends and I am required to bring this every year!!


3 cups mashed sweet potatoes, fresh or canned (I always use canned)
1/2 c. white sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
1/2 t. cinnamon (Saigon cinnamon is my favorite)
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs

2/3 c. flour
1 c. brown sugar  (I like dk. brown, but this is to your taste)
2 c. pecans
2/3 c. melted butter

Beat sweet potatoes, sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla and eggs.  They should be the consistency of brownie mix.  Try to get all of the lumps out of the sweet potatoes.  Pour into a buttered, 9X13 baking dish.

For the topping, stir dry ingredients together.  Add the melted butter & stir.  Spread on top of the sweet potato layer.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.  Serve warm!


Apple Cranberry Pie

I have been making this pie for years!  There are homes I’m not allowed to enter if I don’t have this pie with me.  I buy pie plates at Goodwill so that I can just leave the plate.  Sometimes I get them back, sometimes I don’t – it just doesn’t matter!!  I love cooking and baking for my friends.


You will need pastry for a 9″ two-crust pie.  You can buy the frozen pie crust, but trust me when I tell you pie crust is SO easy to make.  Here is the recipe I use and it has never let me down.


2 1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c. cold butter, cut into pieces

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the food processor and give it a quick pulse to blend the ingredients. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture is crumbly.  Add 6 tbsp. ice cold water and pulse until mixed.  Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and flatten to a disc. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and let the dough rest for 30 minutes to relax the gluten.


3/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 c. sliced Granny Smith apples
2. cranberries – whole
2 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine sugars, flour & cinnamon.  Add fruit and mix well.  Pour into a pastry lined pie plate.  Dot the tops with butter.  Cover with pastry and cut slits in the top crust.  Seal the edges.  I like to use tiny cookie cutters to cut holiday themed  designs out of left over pie crust and decorate the edges of the pie.  Brush an egg wash over the crust and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.  (I use a pie shield on the edges of the pie for the first 30 minutes of baking.  Keeps the edges from getting too brown.)


Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.


“Go To” Dinner

We all have that one dinner that is our “Go To” dinner.  Mine is parmesan/breaded chicken breasts and orzo & rice pilaf.  Add a salad to that and you have a great dinner that is quick and easy to prepare.  My family never complains when I make this meal.  This is also the meal I make to take to friends when they need meals.  Again, never any complaints.

Crispy Baked Chicken

3/4 c. bread crumbs or panko
1/4 c. grated parmesan
3 T. butter
1 egg, beaten
3 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Grease baking pan.

Melt butter in microwave and add bread crumbs and parmesan.

Dip chicken in the beaten egg, then dredge in bread crumb/parmesan mixture.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.  Will depend on the thickness of your chicken.


Orzo & Rice Pilaf

2 T. butter
1/4 c. orzo
1 very small white onion, minced
3/4 c. white rice
1 can chicken broth
1/8 tsp. black pepper, or to taste

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt butter.  Add orzo & cook, stirring occasionally until orzo is browned.  Add onion & cook until onion is soft.  About 5 minutes.

Add rice & pepper, stirring to coat.  Add broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.  Rice should be soft and fluffy.


Great Grandma Scholta’s Lemon Meringue Pie

This is one of the many things I remember my Great Grandma Scholta making and it was my favorite.  My great grandparents lived in Loman Minnesota.  Loman sits right on the Canadian border.  It is a teeny town, but there is a great deal of love, friendship and, for me, family in that teeny town.  My great grandparents, Norman & Veda, were farmers in a time when there were no modern conveniences, winters were harsh and snowy, summers were hot, humid and buggy!  They were wonderful people who cared deeply for their family and friends.

I loved visiting Loman when I was a kid.  I had family all up and down the road.  My aunt Ruth was the postmaster. Her house sits right next to the post office – her son still owns it and I stay there when I visit.  Staying there brings back such sweet memories of mornings in Aunt Ruth’s kitchen.  She and my grandma, in their bathrobes, drinking coffee and laughing – or as my cousin Dennis would describe it, cackling!  I know they’re are in heaven together doing just this!


It took me awhile to perfect my Great Grandma’s lemon meringue pie recipe. The first version of the recipe was in my Grandma Grace’s handwriting and the measurements were a little bit of this and a little bit of that.  Fortunately one of my cousins published it in the Bethany Lutheran Church Recipes and Remembrances cookbook.  Bethany Lutheran is the only church in Loman and everyone goes there!!  My great grandfather helped build it, my grandparents were the first couple married there and my great grandma took care of everyone who went there.




Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Put the following in a food processor:

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Pulse until mixed.

Then add 1 cup cold butter cut into small cubes.

Pulse until crumbly.  Add 6 T. cold water and mix until the dough comes together.

Roll the dough into a ball and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  This helps relax the gluten and makes the dough easier to roll out.

Roll out the dough and put in a pie plate and crimp the edges.  Use a fork to pierce the bottom of the pie.  Place two sheets of aluminum foil over the pie crust and fill with pie weights

or beans.  Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the foil and weights/beans and continue to cook for an additional 6 minutes.  I put a pie shield on the edges during the second half so the edges don’t get too brown.





This recipe makes enough dough for a two crust pie.  You can divide the dough and freeze half for your next pie.


1 1/4 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6-8 T. cornstarch
1/4 c. butter
3 egg yokes (save the whites for the meringue)
1/2 c. lemon juice


Mix sugar, salt and cornstarch.  Boil 2 cups water, add the dry ingredients and cook over medium high heat until thickened.  Start with 6 T of cornstarch, if the liquid doesn’t thicken add more cornstarch one tablespoon at a time.  Once thickened, turn to simmer and cook for 10 minutes.  Temper the egg yokes by adding 3 tablespoons of the hot liquid to the egg yokes one tablespoon as a time stirring as you add, this keeps the eggs from cooking.  Add the butter to the hot liquid and let melt.  Gradually stir in the egg yokes and lemon juice.  This filling should be thick, almost custard like.  Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, I use the pie shield on the crust.


While the filling is baking, make the meringue.


Beat 5 eggs whites with 6 tablespoons of sugar and 1 tsp. lemon juice.  Beat on high until there are stiff peaks.  When the pie comes out of the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Pile the meringue lightly on the pie, spread to the edges and bake until the top is lightly brown.  P.S. Some people say meringue shouldn’t bead, but I’m here to tell you it does.  Great-grandma’s meringue always had beads on it, so I know that is what is supposed to happen!


I hope you love this pie as much as I do.




Homemade vanilla is so easy and so delicious.  Once I discovered how easy it is to make your own vanilla I won’t use anything else.  The one thing to keep in mind is that it takes three (3) months to brew.  I try to make a new batch as soon as the previous one is done brewing.  That way I never run out!

Ingredients for Vanilla Extract, Titos vodka, natural vanilla beans
Ingredients for Vanilla Extract

Here are the ingredients:

2 cups vodka – I use Tito’s – it is my absolute favorite vodka for all purposes.
24 Madagascar Vanilla Beans

Pour vodka in a Ball jar.  Slice the vanilla beans down the center and scrape out the caviar.  Put the caviar and the remainder of the bean in the Ball jar.  This process is a tad tedious, but so worth it!


Once you have finished, seal the Ball jar and shake.  Put in your cupboard and shake once a week.

In three months pour the brewed vanilla through a coffee filter and store in an air tight container.


After three months your vanilla will turn into this beautiful, rich liquid.  It smells heavenly and adds great depth to your recipes.  Once you make this, you will be like me, it will be the only vanilla you will use.


Deb’s Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Rolls


I am known for my cinnamon rolls. The boys who hang at my house constantly request that I make cinnamon rolls.  Each year on Easter I bring these to church for the parking crew.  Over the years I have been asked many times to share my recipe, but I have been a tad selfish with it.  I’ve decided it’s time to play nice and share!



Ingredients for Deb's Cinnamon Rolls
Ingredients for Deb’s Cinnamon Rolls
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 ½ tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 5 large eggs
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour


Heat the butter, milk, ¾ cup sugar and salt in a small saucepan until the butter is melted.  Don’t let the mixture get too hot.  Set aside to cool.  In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over warm water, add the remaining 2 tsp. sugar, stir.  Let sit for 10 minutes until bubbly.  Add the cooled milk mixture, the eggs and mix until combined.  Add the flour one cup at a time until it forms a stiff dough.  Knead by hand or with the dough hook on your mixer until the dough is satiny.  Butter a large bowl to put the dough in.  Turn the dough in the bowl until all sides are buttery.  Cover the bowl with a dish towel or plastic and let sit for an hour until the dough has doubled.  Punch down the dough and roll out into a 24” X 36” square.  (My boys make fun of me because I use tape to mark of the dimensions!)

Before, Unrisen dough
Before, Unrisen dough


After, Risen Dough
After, Risen Dough


Rolled Dough, Ready for cinnamon!
Rolled Dough, Ready for cinnamon!



  • 4 cups firmly packed brown sugar (I like dark brown sugar)
  • 1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) butter
  • 3 T. ground cinnamon (I love high quality Saigon Cinnamon)
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar
Ingredients for Cinnamon Sugar


Rub, Pat entire rolled out dough surface with cinnamon sugar
Rub, Pat entire rolled out dough surface with cinnamon sugar
Roll dough/cinnamon sugar into tube
Roll dough/cinnamon sugar into tube


Sliced cinnamon rolls into baking dish
Sliced cinnamon rolls into baking dish

Butter two 9 X 13 baking dishes.  Beat the brown sugar, butter and Saigon Cinnamon

together until well combined. Evenly spread the filling over the dough.  I use my hands to get it over the entire surface of the dough.  Roll the dough lengthwise and cut in 2 inch sections.  Makes 12 large rolls.  Place 6 rolls in each buttered dish.  Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic and let rise for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the rolls for 20 – 30 minutes, until lightly browned.

After baking, spoon icing over each cinnamon roll
After baking, spoon icing over each cinnamon roll



  • ½ pound cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup whipping cream, may need more to thin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract – (I make my own and will be sharing my recipe)
  • 3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Icing
Ingredients for Cinnamon Roll Icing

Beat the cream cheese, whipping cream and vanilla together until well combined.  Add the powdered sugar until creamy, you do not want stiff icing.  Ice the rolls and serve while warm.

Ice the rolls and serve while warm
Ice the rolls and serve while warm

 These are so big that sometimes I cut them into fourths!

Yummm! You can eat only a quarter of each cinnamon roll
Yummm! You can eat only a quarter of each cinnamon roll


Mom’s Monster Cookies

These are my “go to” cookies.  They are so easy to make, I don’t even have to haul out the KitchenAid and you can customize them to your taste or what you have in your cupboard!  The boys who hang out here have never had any complaints!


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

1 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 beaten eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups chips (anything you have – I like Snicker bits, Heath bits & chocolate chunks)
2 cups chopped nuts (again, it is anything you prefer)

Melt the butter. When the butter has cooled a bit, mix in the white sugar and the brown sugar.  Add vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Add the eggs and stir.  Stir in the flour then add the chips and nuts.




Drop onto a greased cookie sheets – I prefer using a Silpat mat!  Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes.  Don’t over bake.  Let cool then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.


Makes about four (4) dozen cookies.

ENJOY!!  These boys did!!


Gran’s Pickles


My parents grew up in a wonderful town in the High Sierra mountains, Bishop.  I spent many summers in Bishop and have such precious memories of those days; climbing the tree in my Gran and Papa’s front yard, playing in the yard at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house and swimming at Keough’s Hot Springs.  One of my favorite things about Bishop is Mt. Tom!  Bishop has my heart like no other place.

These sweet pickles have such great memories for me.  My Gran always had these in her fridge.  They take nine (9) days to make, but are worth the time and effort.

Start with 14 cucumbers.  Place them in a large bowl.  Cover with boiling water and let stand for 24 hours. Repeat this process for five (5) days.  On day six (6) cut the cucumbers into pickle sized pieces, this is a personal preference.  Return the cucumbers to the bowl.

In a large saucepan boil the following ingredients:

8 c. sugar
2 T. pickling spices
2 T. kosher salt
4 c. apple cider vinegar

Boil these ingredients for 5 minutes being very careful not to let boil over – trust me on this!!

Pour hot liquid over cucumbers.

Let stand for 24 hours then drain off the syrup into a saucepan.  Bring the syrup back to a boil and let boil for five (5) minutes.  Pour the hot syrup back over the cucumbers, almost pickles!  On day nine (9) of the process, pour the syrup into a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Turn down to simmer and add the cucumbers, heat until the cucumbers are warm.

Pack the pickles into jars and top with hot syrup.  I submerge the jars in boiling water to make sure that they are sealed.