Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies


Here's a recipe I like to make that have two of my favorite ingredients in them--chocolate and peanut butter. Yum!

2 cups flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
10 oz. peanut butter chips
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In small bowl, combine flour, baking cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake to 8-10 minutes until centers are set. Makes 4 dozen.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Time for Soup

Now that autumn has officially arrived, it's time to get out my soup pot to start making delicious soups for our family. There are so many soup recipes to choose from, but here are our Top Twelve Favorites. Enjoy! 

Szarlotka (Polish Berry Pie)

 Here is a Polish dessert very similar to a cobbler. You may substitute the blueberries for mixed berries or apples.

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
9 tablespoons butter
2 eggs
18 oz. fresh blueberries
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Decorating sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, add flour, sugar, baking powder. Mix until combined. Add slices of butter, pulsing just until crumbs form. Add eggs and pulse again just until mixed. Do not over mix. 

In a medium bowl, lightly mix together blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and cinnamon.

In a 9-inch springform pan, press 2/3 batter to cover the bottom and sides. Add blueberry mixture on top of the batter. Crumble remaining 1/3 batter over blueberries. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45-50 minutes until crust is lightly browned and dough is cooked in the center. Serve with whipped topping or ice-cream. Serves 8-10.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins


Here's a recipe we enjoy at our house using one of our favorite cereals - Malt-O Meal.

1 cup flour
3/4 cups Malt-O-Meal, dry
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into small bits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine flour, Malt-O-Meal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Create hole in center and pour in milk, oil, egg, and vanilla. Stir together until ingredients are moistened. Fold in apples. Pour batter into greased or paper-lined muffin pans, filling 3/4 full. Bake 18-20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Cookbook Preview ~ The New Essential Cookbook

The New Essentials Cookbook, by America's Test Kitchen

Cooking well is about more than just knife skills and finding a favorite lasagna recipe. It’s about knowing when to reach for a nonstick skillet and when not to, why you “reverse sear” thick chops, and what umami really is. The New Essentials Cookbook presents a new approach to building on your skills and gaining culinary mastery with a lineup of what we consider today’s essential dishes, from Shrimp Pad Thai, Olive Oil Potato Gratin, and One-Pot “Baked” Ziti to Bacon and Cheddar Breakfast Sandwiches, Lemoniest Lemon Bars, and Molten Mocha Microwave Mug Cakes, each paired with insightful, practical “Think Like a Chef” sidebars with tips and how-tos to help you tackle all kinds of recipes with confidence.

Additional featured recipes include Butter-Basted Rib-Eye Steak, Smashed Cucumber Salad, Pan-Roasted Potatoes, Classic Homemade Chicken Broth, Creamy Parmesan Polenta, Sesame Noodles with Shredded Chicken, Easy Steak Frites, Crunchy Pork Chops with Winter Squash and Cranberry Sauce, Cheesy Stuffed Poblanos, Skillet Apple Crisp, Buttermilk Drop Biscuits, and more. Buy the cookbook HERE.

Potato and Cheese Pierogi with Buttered Apples and Onions

Here's a new recipe I tried after eating at a Polish restaurant in Michigan. These are so yummy. Try some today!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, softened

1 cup warm mashed potatoes
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper

Apple-Onion Topping:
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 granny smith apples, thinly sliced
6 tablespoons butter, divided
salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Create a whole in the center of the flour and add egg, sour cream, and butter. Stir egg mixture together with a fork and then begin working it into the flour until it forms a slightly sticky ball. Lightly knead and fold the dough until it becomes less sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. 

Meanwhile, to make the filling, combine the warm mashed potatoes and cheese. Stir and mash until the cheese is melted and the filling is cool to the touch. Season with salt and pepper as desired. 

To fill the pierogi, roll half the dough 1/8" thick. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut circles in the dough. Place 2 teaspoons of filling on each round of dough. Gently fold the dough over, forming a pocket around the filling. Pinch the edges, then seal with the tines of a fork. Repeat with remaining dough. At this point, the pierogi may be frozen or refrigerated. To cook, fill a large stockpot with water and boil with 2 teaspoons salt. Cook about 10 pierogi at a time. When the pierogi float to the top, they are done, about 4-5 minutes. Drain on wire rack and keep warm until ready to serve. 

To make the Apple-Onion Topping, heat a saute pan on medium heat and melt 4 tablespoons butter until browned. Add apples and cook until soft and golden, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper. 

While apples are cooking, heat another saute pan and melt remaining butter. Add onions, along with a splash of olive oil. Cook until caramelized. Season with salt and pepper and add to cooked apples. Add cooked pierogi to the empty skillet and cook until each side has a golden brown sear. To serve, top each pierogi with warm apple and onion mixture. Serves 6-8.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Spiced Apple Muffins


Here's a delicious recipe to make this month for your family.

2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup oil

1/3 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup chopped nuts 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add beaten egg, milk and applesauce. Stir just till moistened. Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full. Mix topping ingredients. Sprinkle on top of muffins and press gently into batter. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

Gail Kittleson's Veggie Pastry Pie

World War II intrigues Gail Kittleson, whose Women of the Heartland Series features make-do women of the Forties. An Iowa farmer’s daughter, Gail grew up with the smell of sweet corn in the air. Well, and manure. She has taught college expository writing and ESL throughout the years, and now devotes her time to writing memoir and fiction, as well as facilitating writing workshops. You can find her blog and more information at

Gail's Women of the Heartland Book Series: Women
 of the 1940’s made-do through the dangers and trials of a vast world war. They knitted caps, sweaters and warm socks for the troops, often did “a man’s job’ in factories or on the farm, and contributed to the war effort in important ways. These make-do women exhibited courage, steadfastness, and hope in the face of incredible fears. Buy the series of books HERE.

Gail's Veggie Pastry Pie
Adapted from a WWII recipe - enough to feed a hungry man. I use GF baking flour.
Vegetables can be varied to taste.

12 oz whole wheat flour with 3 teaspoons baking powder
large pinch of salt
3 oz margarine (or dripping)


10 oz scrubbed diced cooked potatoes with skins
4 medium carrots diced
1 sauteed large onion or 1 finely chopped leek
herbs, salt, pepper

Sift flour with salt, add margarine, add water a little at a time and form into pastry. Steam carrots and potatoes, mix with a little margarine, salt, pepper and herbs. Add onions or leeks. Divide the pastry into fourths and roll each one into a round. Put mixture in center of each round, wet pastry edges with water and pull one side over the other, press down edges and prick the top with a fork. Brush with a little milk and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 mins until crisp and brown. Serve hot. Drizzle cheese over the top if desired.

Sourdough Breakfast Strata

Here's an easy recipe to make the night before, then just put it in the oven the next morning!

8 slices sourdough, cubed
1 pound ground sausage, browned
2 cups cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon whole mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Place a thick layer of sourdough cubes on the bottom of a large greased casserole dish. Sprinkle sausage and then cheese over the sourdough cubes.In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and cream, parsley, mustard, salt and pepper. Pour over sausage and cheese. Cover and chill at least 8 hours or overnight. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes until lightly browned and set in center. Serves 8-10. 

Apple Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze

Here's a fun version of my cinnamon roll recipe using apples and the yummiest maple glaze much like that on a long john doughnut. Enjoy!

1 package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/3 cup butter, softened
5 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup melted butter, divided
1 1/3 cups brown sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Maple Glaze:
3 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons maple extract

In small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In large bowl, mix together scalded milk, butter, sugar, salt and egg. Add yeast mixture and one cup flour. Mix together until smooth. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle. Knead dough on lightly floured surface for 5-8 minutes. Place in greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.

When doubled, punch down dough. Roll out on floured surface into a 15x9" rectangle. Spread 1/3 cup melted butter over dough. Sprinkle buttered dough with 1 cup brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle with apples and pecans. Roll up dough, beginning with long side, and pinch edge together to seal. Cut into 12-15 slices.

Coat the bottom of 9x12 baking pan with remaining melted butter and brown sugar. Place cinnamon rolls close together in pan and rise until double, about 30-40 minutes. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

In small bowl, mix together powdered sugar, melted butter, milk, and maple extract. Spread over warm rolls. Makes 12-15 rolls.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.

State Fair Foods

September is the perfect time to attend a local state fair. Here are a few of my favorite state fair recipes that we love.

Mashed Cauliflower

It seems the new fad in cooking is to come up with a new dish for cauliflower. Here's one we enjoy at our house!

1 medium head of cauliflower, cleaned and cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons cream cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried chives

In a large saucepan cover cauliflower with water. Boil for 5-6 minutes, until tender. Drain well. Add sour cream, cream cheese, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mash with a potato masher until they look like mashed potatoes. Transfer to serving bowl, and garnish with chives. Serves 4.
Click here for a printable version of this recipe.