Tag Archives: Baking

Candied Yams for Recipe Friday

Today I want to share a recipe that is new for me, something I made for Christmas dinner that I’ve never made before – Candied Yams. I don’t know why I decided to make them. My husband was actually not too thrilled when I told him we were having yams with our spiral ham on Christmas Day. “I don’t think I like yams,” he said. I made them anyway, but made sure we also had mashed potatoes and gravy as well as a vegetable that I know he likes to round out the meal.

Since I had never made Candied Yams before, I had a little research to do. I started by asking the produce guy at my local Safeway whether I should use yams or sweet potatoes for the dish that has little marshmallows on top. He said to use yams, so I bought three big ones. I ended up only using two of them.

Next, I searched the Internet for various recipes for Candied Yams (many of which called for sweet potatoes). I found a variety of recipes and eventually created my own based on a conglomeration of the ideas I’d gleaned from the recipes I read. This recipe is the result. I think it turned out pretty good, and my husband even ate some and said they were good. My son liked them, too.

Candied Yams

There are only three of us so there were lots of leftovers. A big family dinner would be a better time to make these Candied Yams.

Candied Yams


2 large yams
1 small (6 oz) can pineapple tidbits
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ to ½ cup pecans
½ tsp nutmeg
little marshmallows


Peel yams and cut into cubes. Boil in enough water to cover, with a little salt, until yams are tender. Drain and return to pan. Add pineapple tidbits and juice, brown sugar, pecans, nutmeg, and salt. Mash and combine with a potato masher.

Turn yam mixture out into an 8″ square baking dish. Bake for 1 hour in 275° oven (if also baking a spiral ham) or for 35 to 40 minutes in a 350° oven (if also cooking a roast or turkey). Remove from oven and cover the top with little marshmallows. (If you want to, you can line them up all nice and neat, but I didn’t have the patience for that, so I just poured a bunch out and made sure the top was covered). Return to the oven and broil on center rack on low broil heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until marshmallows are browned and a little bubbly.

Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes before serving. Note that this dish really holds its heat – we all almost burned our tongues on it.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Sugar Cookies

I love sugar cookies! They are one of my favorite Christmas desserts. And in the last few years I have discovered an easy way to make the most delicious sugar cookies: Krusteaz sugar cookie mix.

Krusteaz makes a mix they call “Bakery Style Sugar Cookies.” I usually bought single batch boxes at my local grocery. Then a couple of weeks ago we went to Costco and found out they have a large bag that makes 7 batches! That’s a lot of sugar cookies – I’m going to have to share.

So here is how easy they are. You aren’t going to believe they are so easy. And once you taste them you’ll never want to make them from scratch again.

Krusteaz Sugar Cookies


2 ½ cups Krusteaz sugar cookie mix
½ cup butter, softened
1 egg
Colored sugar sprinkles


Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, mix together softened butter and egg until blended. Add sugar cookie mix and combine until well blended. Hand-kneed if necessary. Scoop by teaspoonfuls, roll each spoonful into a ball, and roll the ball of dough in the colored sugar. Place cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on a silpat lined cookie sheet and press down to flatten slightly. Bake for 6 to 7 minutes or until slightly brown around the edges. Remove from cookie sheet and cool on a wire rack. No need to frost – they are sweet enough just as is.

Now doesn’t that sound easy? I made a batch the other night at 9:00 and my family managed to polish them off in just a few days. I really need to find someone to share these with.

Merry Christmas!


Filed under Family, Jesus, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Christmas Stollen for Recipe Friday

Today I want to share a recipe I have never made, but I have eaten it many times, and it is delicious!

For the past eight Christmases I have been blessed by one of my staff members who brings in loaves of this wonderful dessert bread every year. A couple of times she has made it with cinnamon chips for me. To keep me from eating the whole loaf, I usually freeze it and then take it to my in-laws for our family Christmas gathering. There is never any left over!

I asked her if she would give me the recipe this year so I could share it with you all and she agreed. I had no idea the recipe involved so much work! Now I feel even more blessed.

Although I’ve never made this before, I think I might try it this year during the week before Christmas because I am taking the week off to spend some time with my son and get some reading, writing, baking, and gift wrapping done. I’m afraid it might not turn out as good as what I’ve become accustomed to, but I’m going to give it a try.

Christmas Stollen


2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon mace
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
½ cup cold butter
¾ cup ground almonds*
1 cup cottage cheese
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons rum
¼ cup candied lemon or pineapple, or orange
½ cup currents and raisins
3 tablespoons melted butter

*(buy bulk slivered almonds and grind in a Cuisinart)


(I use a Cuisinart for this)
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, mace, cardamom and almonds. Cut the cold butter into pieces and blend into the flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

(In a blender)
Add cottage, cheese, egg, extracts, and rum. Blend till smooth. Add the candied fruit and blend just a few seconds to make the candied fruit into smaller pieces.

(Using a Kitchen Aid or big bowl)
Add the wet mixture and raisins to the flour mixture and mix together until all ingredients are moistened.

Mold into a ball, place on a floured surface and knead 6 to 10 times, until dough is smooth.

Roll dough out onto a floured surface to form an oval about 8 ½ x 10 inches. With rolling pin, lightly crease dough just off center. Brush dough with 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Fold smaller section over larger. Place on parchment paper and onto cookie sheet.

Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until tests done in center and well browned.  Brush with remaining melted butter and sprinkle top with sugar.

Serve warm or cool. Wrap air tight in foil to mellow for 2-3 days, or freeze. To reheat, wrap in foil and place in a 350° oven for about 30 minutes.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Spiral Honey Ham, Mashed Potatoes, and Gravy for Recipe Friday

Since yesterday was Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share recipes for the things I made that I’ve not posted before. We had a couple of repeats this year, including Apple Stuffing and Pecan Pie. But the rest of the meal was made on our Traeger. It was a little rainy, but my husband just pulled it under the eave a bit with just the smoke stack sticking out and it worked great.

Although turkey is traditional for the Thanksgiving Day meal, I’m the only one in our house who really likes turkey a lot and so even a smallish turkey is too much leftovers for the three of us. I thought about getting just a turkey breast, but we like the dark meat best. So I decided on a bone-in spiral ham. I love this kind of ham because it is so easy to serve, all neatly sliced and ready to go.

We also made mashed potatoes with potatoes cooked on the Traeger, and had Traeger-cooked carrots for our vegetable. And last but not least, I made ham gravy, which I’ve never made before but it turned out pretty good.

Thanksgiving Day Dinner 2011

Spiral Honey Ham


1 pre-cooked spiral ham
½ cup apple sauce
Honey glaze packet or honey


Remove ham from packaging and place in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish or roasting pan. Spread apple sauce over the top of the ham. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 275° for 15 minutes for each pound of ham. (We “baked” ours on our Traeger pellet stove because I wanted to be able to use my oven to make the stuffing, which had to cook at 350°.) Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking time and drizzle with honey or honey glaze packet that came with the ham. Remove from pan and serve.

* * * * *

Traeger Mashed Potatoes


Several large russet or white potatoes
Salt and pepper
Herb blend


Note: The number of potatoes for this recipe depends on how many people you are going to serve or whether you want to have leftovers. For our Thanksgiving Day dinner, I used 2 large russets and 3 medium white potatoes because that is what I had in the house and I wanted leftovers.

Peel potatoes and cut into ½ to 1 inch pieces. Spray a large piece of heavy duty aluminum foil with cooking spray. Place potato pieces on the foil and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and herb blend (or your favorite herbs such as marjoram, basil, thyme, and savory), and toss with your hands to distribute the spices all over the potatoes. Close up aluminum foil packet and place on Traeger rack. (You can also do this just in the oven, but they don’t taste quite as good.)

If you are cooking at 350° the potatoes take about 30 minutes. If you are cooking at 275°, as I was to accommodate the directions for my ham, then these take about an hour.

Pour potatoes from the aluminum into a large mixing bowl. Add milk, more than you would if you were making mashed potatoes from boiled potatoes because all of the starch is still in the potatoes and there is no added moisture from water. Hand mash until creamy, adding more milk if the mixture is too thick. I used at least ½ cup milk for my 5 potatoes.

* * * * *

Ham Gravy


2 tbsp butter
1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 cup juice from spiral ham
½ to 1 cup water


In a small saucepan, melt butter on medium heat. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Continue stirring and let the roux bubble a bit, and sprinkle in a little pepper. Slowly add juice from the ham, stirring with a wire whisk. Stir constantly as the gravy thickens, then slowly add water, stirring to desired consistency.

Note: DO NOT add any salt to this gravy. I know it seems like everything needs salt, but this gravy does not because the ham juice is plenty salty.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Pear Crisp for Recipe Friday

One of my favorite fall desserts is Pear Crisp. We used to have a Bosc pear tree with the best pears and so I would make crisp every year. One year we had over 100 pears from this one tree. Unfortunately, fruit trees don’t last forever and this year we didn’t get a single pear from this old tree. The leaves were also looking kind of diseased and so we took it out and have replaced it with maple trees. So this year, if I want to make Pear Crisp, I will have to buy some Bosc pears.

One thing I love about this dessert is that it is kind of healthy because of the pears. But it is also very easy to make. I think I’m going to make it for Thanksgiving dessert this year.

Pear Crisp


6 large Bosc pears
1 tsp lemon juice
¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 tsp corn starch
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp dried orange peel
6 packets instant oatmeal
½ cup butter
¼ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)


Pre-heat oven to 350°. Spray the bottom and sides of a 13″ x 9″ baking pan with cooking spray. Peel and core pears, and cut into bite-sized pieces. Toss in a large bowl with lemon juice to keep the pears from turning brown. Add blueberries, corn starch, sugar, cinnamon, and dried orange peel, and stir to combine. Turn out into baking pan.

For crisp topping: Allow butter to soften to room temperature. In a medium bowl, combine softened butter and instant oatmeal packets to a crumbly consistency. (Any flavor of oatmeal will work, but my favorite is Apples & Cinnamon). Stir in nuts, if desired. Spoon oatmeal mixture over the top of the pear mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until fruit is fork-tender and topping is golden brown. Serve warm (with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired).


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Seven “Layer” Bars for Recipe Friday

The recipe I want to share today is not one I made up or new by any means. But it is special to me and so I want to share the recipe and a few stories about it.

My last two years of college I lived off campus with three other women. We called ourselves “the Hug House” because no one could get in the front door without a hug. One of our favorite recipes at the Hug House was Seven Layer Bars. We made them frequently and a batch would seldom last more than 24 hours, with or without company around (partly because we were all so concerned about the edge being perfectly straight, we had to keep re-cutting the edge). They were perfect for busy college women because they are so easy to make.

I’ve often wondered at the name, though, because in order to actually have seven “layers” you have to count the melted butter. A more accurate name would be Seven Ingredient Bars, but that’s not quite a catchy. But whatever the name, it has chocolate, nuts, and coconut, so how can you go wrong?

One of my earliest blog posts even mentions Seven Layer Bars and two of these three roommates. You can read about it in my post titled Love as an Action Verb. After the incident recounted in that post, I came home and discovered in talking with my son that he had never had Seven Layer Bars! I couldn’t believe I had never made them for him, and so the next week we made some together.

We hadn’t had them in quite a while, though, until this past weekend. My father-in-law and I were talking about what I was going to make for our big family gathering. He said he had recently learned of these great new bars, which he proceeded to describe. It didn’t take long for me to realize he was describing Seven Layer Bars. So I decided that is the dessert I would make for our gathering. I figured if there were leftovers that would be fine because I would gladly eat them. I didn’t need to think about that at all because every last Seven Layer Bar was gone before everyone left on Saturday evening!

Seven Layer Bars

Ingredients (aka layers):

½ cup butter
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/3 cups shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350°. Slice butter into several pieces and place in a 13″ x 9″ pan. Melt butter in the oven. Remove from the oven and swirl to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Spread graham cracker crumbs evenly over the bottom of the pan. Layer chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and nuts over crumbs. Pour condensed milk over nuts. Sprinkle coconut all over the top. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until coconut is golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Cut into squares.

Note: To make graham cracker crumbs, place several graham crackers at a time in a large zip-lock back and use a rolling pin to crush into crumbs.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Easy Beef Pot Pie for Recipe Friday

Last weekend I made a big pot of Beef Stew, one of my favorite cool weather dishes. I started early in the day and actually simmered the beef, celery, and onions in the V-8 and beef broth for about 3 hours before adding the vegetables and spices so that the meat was super tender. There were a lot of leftovers, so later in the week I made a Beef Pot Pie. I love creating something completely new out of leftovers instead of just heating them up. It allows me to get more mileage out of the hard work of the original dish. This recipe took me about 5 minutes to put together before putting it in the oven to bake. I actually made it in the morning before work and gave my husband (who had the day off) instructions to put it in the oven.

Easy Beef Pot Pie


2 Marie Callender’s frozen deep dish pie crusts
Leftover Beef Stew (or canned stew, if you must)
½ cup frozen peas

Layer 1 and Peas


Pie full of stew


Ready for the oven


Thaw the two pie crusts for 15 to 20 minutes. Spoon one layer of beef stew in one of the pie crusts. Sprinkle ½ cup frozen peas over the stew, and then add another layer of beef stew to fill the crust. Remove the other pie crust from the pie pan and place it over the top of the pie, turning the edge under all the way around. Use a fork to press the edges together and seal the pie. With a sharp knife cut several slits in the top of the crust to allow steam to escape. Place the pie on an aluminum-foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown. Cool 5 to 10 minutes after removing from the oven before serving.

Beef Pot Pie

This delicious pie was devoured by three people in less than 20 minutes! If you have a big family, you might want to make 2. I had enough leftover stew that I could have.


Filed under Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Fruity Bread Pudding for Recipe Friday

Several weeks ago for Recipe Friday I posted a call for bread pudding recipes. My blogging friend Ann posted a recipe in the comments, but I must confess I didn’t try it. One day I just really wanted to make bread pudding and didn’t think to go back to her recipe. Instead, I pulled out my good old Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book to see what kind of bread pudding recipe it had. I tried that recipe, slightly modified, and it turned out pretty good.

Then last week while I was grocery shopping I got an idea for a further modification of this recipe, the modification that makes it “fruity” bread pudding. So I bought the necessary fruit, and another loaf of the bread I had used the first time I made it, and created this absolutely delicious recipe. It is sweet and gooey, just like a good bread pudding should be.

Fruity Bread Pudding


5 eggs
2 ¼ cups milk
¼ cup white sugar
¼ cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon dried orange peel (optional)
½ teaspoon plus 2 shakes ground cinnamon
1 large honey crisp apple
1 medium Bosc pear
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup glazed walnuts or pecans
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup golden raisins
7 – 8 slices Oroweat buttermilk bread

Fruity Bread Pudding



Preheat oven to 350°. Cut bread slices into cubes and place cubes in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. When oven is preheated place pan with bread cubes in the oven to toast for 10 – 15 minutes while the rest of the pudding is prepared.

In a large bowl beat eggs. Add milk, sugars, vanilla, orange peel, and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.

Peel and core apple and cut into bite-sized pieces. Place in a small bowl and pour lemon juice over the top to coat. (This helps prevent apples from turning brown). Repeat with the pear and mix together with the apple. Sprinkle with two shakes of cinnamon and stir to coat.

Remove bread from the oven. Add apples, pears, nuts, cranberries, and raisins, and stir together. Press down in the pan. Pour egg and milk mixture over the top and press down again. Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

This can be served warm just as is, or with vanilla ice cream. It also heats up good in the microwave after it has cooled down.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe

Lemon Coconut Cake for Recipe Friday

This cake recipe is not an original, but it is special at our house. It comes from the essential baking cookbook by Murdoch Books, and it has become my son’s signature cake. He has made it at least 5 times, most recently for our anniversary.

I am generally not a big fan of cake. I usually prefer cheesecake or cookies. But this cake is so delicious. Its lemony sweetness and moist texture have made it a big hit with everyone who has had the pleasure of eating a piece. (I’ve had 3 pieces just this week, but thankfully my son took half of it to share with friends on the first day of school).

I still remember the first time my son made this cake. The recipes in this cookbook are geared towards countries where metric measurement and Celsius temperatures are the norm. He didn’t read carefully enough and set the oven at the first temperature indicated, which was 180° – at that time he was not experienced enough of a baker to know that most cakes bake at 350°. Once we figured out why it was setting up and turned the temperature up, it turned out just fine. In fact, I think that first cake was moister than any of the ones he has made since.

Anyway, if you are looking for an elegant but delicious cake for a party or potluck, I highly recommend this one. But be prepared to not bring home any leftovers!


Lemon Coconut Cake


1 ½ cups self-rising flour
½ cup coconut
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 cup caster or baker’s sugar (very fine sugar)
4 oz. unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk

For coconut icing:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup coconut
½ teaspoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly grease an 8 inch spring form pan (or a regular round cake pan). Line the bottom with baking paper.

Sift flour into a large bowl and add the coconut, lemon rind, sugar, butter, eggs and milk. Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Pour into the cake pan and smooth the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted in the center of the cake.

Leave the cake in the pan for 5 minutes before releasing the spring form side of the pan, or turning out of the cake pan, and setting on a wire rack to cool completely.

For the coconut icing, combine the powdered sugar and coconut in a bowl, then add the lemon rind and enough lemon juice to make a stiff but spreadable icing. Spread the icing over the cold cake.

Note about the coconut: The original recipe calls for desiccated coconut, which I think is unsweetened, but we can never find it and have always used sweetened angel flake coconut.


Filed under Faith, Family, Life, postaday2011, Psalms

Berry Pudding Volcanoes for Recipe Friday

Berry Pudding Volcano

Last weekend we had company over and so I decided to make something special for dinner, plus dessert. I made my Turkey Meatballs, modified slightly with added Italian sausage and adjustments to the bread crumbs, cheese, and tomato. I served it with ravioli, Sesame Garlic Toast, and green beans. But the real hit of the evening was the dessert. (Well, at least for me it was.)

While we were eating dessert, I mentioned that I needed to come up with a name for it so I could post the recipe here. My husband’s cousin said I should call it Berry Pudding Volcanoes. I really like this name, so I decided that is what I am calling them. Her husband, however, said all recipes should be named the day of the week you had it on, then the main ingredient, followed by “Delight.” So that would make this Sunday Strawberry Delight. Either name will work, as long as you have some good fresh berries to make it with.

Berry Pudding Volcanoes


Berries with Sugar

1 package instant Jello vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
3 lbs fresh strawberries
1 pint fresh raspberries
¼ to ½ cup sugar
Mini angel food cake cups


Mix pudding with milk according to package directions, and refrigerate to set. Slice strawberries; rinse well. In a large bowl, mix strawberry slices, raspberries, and sugar. The amount of sugar you will need depends on how sweet the berries are. (Since it is early in the season, I used at least a  ½ cup.) Refrigerate berries for at least an hour.

Assemble the volcanoes just before you are ready to serve dessert. Place one angel food cake cup in each bowl. Spoon pudding into each angel food cake cup, and then spoon berries over the top. Make sure to add at least one large spoonful of the berry juice over each serving. Enjoy!

Angel Food Cakes with Pudding

Note about the angel food cake cups:

I purchased the angel food cake cups for this dessert at Costco. We all agreed that these are better than the ones you usually get at the grocery store because they are more dense. But whatever type of angel food cake cups you can find will work. You could even use slices of angel food cake, though it wouldn’t technically be a volcano then, and you might have to call it Sunday Strawberry Delight instead.


Filed under Family, Life, postaday2011, Recipe