Blood Orange Margaritas

Hands down my FAVORITE drink!!! If you didn’t know, blood oranges are a seasonal fruit available between January and March.  So right now is the season!  We found our first bags of blood oranges last week.  You can buy blood orange juice, but it tends to be pricey.


We fresh squeeze 3 to 4 bags at a time and freeze the juice.  We freeze enough juice so that we can have margaritas well into the summer.  It is a sad day when the juice runs out.



3 ozs. tequila (which ever tequila you like best)
2 ozs. grand mariner
3 ozs. simple syrup (1 c. water & 1 c. sugar)
2 ozs. fresh lime juice
3 ozs. blood orange juice

Put everything in a cocktail shaker and shake it up.

Rim the glasses in sugars crystals using lime – we use Wilton


Fill the glass with ice and pour in the beautiful margarita.  Squeeze in lime juice and garnish with the lime.


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.


Cookies for Garrus & Tali

Because my sweet Garrus has issues with his food, I try to make treats for my puppies.  They love these biscuits!  All of the ingredients are good for dogs and the pumpkin is great for their tummies!  I store mine in the freezer because these biscuits tend to mold quickly – no preservatives!!  Garrus & Tali don’t mind at all that their treats are frozen!

I hope your dogs will love them as much as mine do!


Treats for My Puppies

4 eggs
1 can pumpkin
4 tablespoons dry milk
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
5 cups brown rice flour
2 teaspoon dried parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In large bowl, whisk together eggs and pumpkin. Stir in dry milk, sea salt, and dried parsley. Add brown rice flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a stiff, dry dough. Turn out onto floured surface and if dough is still rough, briefly knead and press to combine.  This dough is very sticky, so you will need to keep flouring your surface and rolling pin.


Roll dough between 1/4 – 1/2″ and cut out with a cute cookie cutter.  I use a bone. Place shapes on cookie sheet, no greasing or paper necessary. Bake 20 minutes. Remove from oven and carefully turn biscuits over, then bake additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely.



Spooky Halloween Cookies

I love decorating sugar cookies for all seasons.  Here are a couple of my go to cookies for Halloween.  See my Fruit Pizza Cookies for my go to sugar cookie recipe.  It is tried, true and delicious!  Easy to make and won’t crumble when packed and transported.  It took me awhile to perfect this recipe, but numerous incidents with crumbled cookies, this seems to work.

I love this royal icing recipe!


1/2 cup meringue powder
2 lbs powdered sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 c. water

Beat meringue powder with water to soft peaks.  DO NOT OVERBEAT!! Add powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Beat on high until shiny.  Use paste food coloring to tint.

Making spider web cookies is so simple.

Start with a base coat of white.



Use black icing and make a spiral starting in the center.  I use a #2 piping tip.



While the icing is still wet, use a toothpick, starting in the center drag the toothpick out to each point.  This creates the spider web effect.





Seriously, so easy peasy!!!  I added a fun purple spider to my cookies!



I also made this fun spooky faces.  Beware!!!  Eating these cookies will make your teeth turn black – eeeek!!





Mini Fruit Pizzas

I love entertaining! When my girlfriends come over I pull out my Great Aunt Marie’s violet china luncheon plates and my silver dessert forks. I love using white linen napkins and my great grandmother Hilliard’s crystal water goblets. It is so much fun to pamper my friends.

I had a small gathering at my house this weeks and I made these cute dessert pizzas. My guests assembled them to their taste.

Making them is as easy as making sugar cookies, cream cheese frosting and cutting up fruit. Then displaying everything on pretty dishes.

This recipe is great for sugar cookies that hold their shape during baking and hold up after being decorated. My favorite sugar cookie recipe tastes better, but crumbles easily when decorated 🙁



1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


1. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamed and smooth – about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 or 4 minutes.

2. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract and beat on high until fully combined, about 2 minutes.

3. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Turn the mixer down to low and add about half of the flour mixture, beating until just barely combined. Add the rest of the flour and continue mixing until just combined.

4. Divide the dough into 3 equal parts wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Don’t skip this step. Chill up to 2 days.

5. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350°F. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Remove one of the dough pieces from the refrigerator and roll out to about 1/4 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut in shapes.

6.  Bake for 9 – 10 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Makes 36 3″ round cookies.

Unfrosted cookies freeze well, you can also freeze the uncooked cookies dough.



8 oz. cream cheese

1/4 heaving whipping cream

4 tsp. vanilla

3 to 4 cups powdered sugar.

Beat the cream cheese, cream and vanilla together.  Add powdered sugar and beat until creamy.




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.