These are so SIMPLE and relatively healthy too.
PB BANANA BITES makes 12 – 16 pieces
2 bananas, sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick (size is based on your desire)
1/4 cup peanut butter
4-6 squares Candiquick
Sea Salt

  • Place a dollop of peanut butter on half the banana slices.
  • Top with the other half of the banana slices.
  • Microwave candiquick at 30 second intervals until melted.
  • Using a fork to support a stack dip it into the chocolate and place on a sheet of waxed paper to harden.
  • While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with seas salt.
  • Keep refrigerated.




5 ripe unpeeled medium bananas (about 2 pounds) + 1 fresh banana for garnish
2 cups half-n-half
2/3 cup sugar, divided 1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 (12-ounce) container COOL WHIP, thawed and divided (4 1/2 cups fresh whipped cream)
45-55 vanilla wafers, divided

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Place 5 bananas on a jelly-roll pan covered with parchment paper.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Remove 2 bananas; cool completely.
  • Peel and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices.
  • Bake the remaining 3 bananas for an additional 20 minutes.
  • Carefully peel and place the 3 bananas in a small bowl, and mash with a fork until smooth. *The original recipe calls for 3 sliced bananas and 2 mashed bananas. If you want more banana pieces in your pudding you may want to do this.
  • Combine half-n-half and 1/3 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a SLOW simmer. DO NOT BOIL!
  • Combine remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, salt, and eggs in a medium bowl; whisking well.
  • SLOWLY add hot half-n-half mixture to sugar mixture, whisking constantly. It’s very important that you mix these together very slowly and whisk constantly. If the hot mixture is added too quickly it can cook the eggs!
  • Return this combined mixture to pan.
  • Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 3 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
  • Add mashed bananas, butter, and vanilla, stirring until butter melts.
  • Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl (or your kitchen sink filled with ice) for 15 minutes or until mixture comes to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  • Fold half of whipped topping into pudding.
  • Spread 1/2 of the custard evenly over the bottom of an 8x 8-inch baking dish. Top evenly with vanilla wafers and half of the banana slices.
  • Spoon remaining custard over banana slices.
  • Repeat procedure with vanilla wafers, banana slices.
  • Spread remaining half of whipped topping evenly over top.
  • Crush several wafers; sprinkle over top of whipped topping.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour or until chilled.
  • Spoon into ramekins and top with crumbled vanilla wafers and fresh banana slices.




3-4 firm pears, pared and cut into fourths
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 to 6 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans, optional
1/4 cup rum soaked golden raisins**

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Arrange pears side by side, center down in an un-greased 8×8 baking dish.
  • Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Sprinkle raisins around the pears.
  • Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  • Evenly dot with the butter squares.
  • Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until pears are tender and brown sugar is bubbly.

NOTE 1* I deleted the pecans and increased the brown sugar to 1/3 cup while adding the cinnamon also.
NOTE 2** I soaked the raisins in rum for a day or so before and they were yummy!

Next time I will broil the pears for a couple of minutes after they come out of the oven to crystallize the sugar.





This SOUR CREAM APPLE COFFEE CAKE is so versatile – use whatever appropriate fruit is in season – love it with strawberries in May or peaches in August!

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups flour, sifted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
4 large Honey Crisp Apples

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Spray 9×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Prepare the topping (see below) and set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, cream together butter, sugar and eggs.
  • Add sour cream and vanilla, blending well.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt until combined.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to the cream mixture until well mixed.
  • Pour half the batter into prepared baking dish. 
  • Layer half the apples over the batter.
  • Top with a scant half of the topping.
  • Pour remaining batter over topping, followed by the remaining apples and topping.
  • Bake 1 hour or until tester comes out clean.
  • Cool completely.
  • Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
  • Heat and top with Caramel sauce before serving (optional).

1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans

  • Combine the brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon and pecans, mixing well.
  • Set Aside.



2 cups crushed gingersnap and vanilla wafer crumbs*
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans
11 ounce bag Kraft caramels
1/2 cup milk

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine cookie crumbs, melted butter and the pecans.
  • Press firmly into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan.
  • Using a double boiler whisk together the milk and caramels until smooth.
  • Pour half of the caramel mixture over the crust, refrigerating the rest for later.
  • Refrigerate crust while making the filling.

(2) 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2/3 cup extra fine sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
2 large Honey Crisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin

  • In a large mixing bowl cream the cream cheese until smooth.
  • Gradually add sugar until well incorporated.
  • Add eggs, one at a time, blending until VERY smooth.
  • Blend in vanilla.
  • Spread mixture evenly over prepared crust.
  • Arrange apple slices evenly over cream cheese mixture.
  • Bake on enter rack for 50-60 minutes until set (center should be only be SLIGHTLY jiggly.
  • Remove from oven and cool 20 minutes.

1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons extra fine sugar
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla

  • Increase oven temperature to 475 degrees.
  • Whisk together sour cream, sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Spread evenly over cheesecake.
  • Bake 5 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and cool 30 minutes.
  • Chill at least 3 hours (I do 8-10 hours).

1 Hershey’s milk chocolate ball
1 square unsweetened baking chocolate
1/2 cup Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans

  • Grate chocolates together.


  • Microwave reserve caramel sauce 15 seconds.
  • Pour a small amount over each slice and then sprinkle with chocolate gratings and reserved pecans.

*If you prefer the original recipe called for graham cracker crumbs


As I mentioned before, I DO NOT shop Black Friday, unless it’s from the comfort of my desk chair talking to a computer.  Thanksgiving weekend for us is and always has been casual.  This year was no exception. With just 2 of us this year I bought a turkey breast only.  So my questions is, where does the rest of the turkey go?

Our range is on the way out also – losing the heating elements one by one and the oven is now 75 degrees under temperature.  I didn’t want to take a chance so I started the turkey breast in the slow cooker and then used the oven to only brown the top.  Amazingly, it turned out PERFECT!  I see great turkey sandwiches tomorrow! And there are plenty of leftovers until the new range is installed next week.

Our morning started out foggy and drizzly before turning to serious cold and rain.  I did manage to capture this Robin hanging out in the old garden bed.

And the first opening bloom of the Christmas Cactus this season.

99.9% of my recipes are made from scratch, but every now and then I do cheat a bit.  Part of Thanksgiving’s dessert, PUMPKIN PECAN BUTTER CAKE with CARAMEL SAUCE & CINNAMON PECAN was one of those small cheats and believe me I will cheat again, but next time I’ll add some fresh whipped cream.  MOST of the recipe is scratch ingredients, but it called for a Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix.  Instead I used a SuperMoist BUTTER PECAN cake mix and it was FABULOUS!  I’ll give you the original recipe (which for the life of me I can’t remember where it came from – probably pinterest) with my changes in red.

3-15 ounce cans cut green beans, drained VERY WELL!
2 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons Wondra
1 1/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon each, paprika, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Savory Spice Shop Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend
1 teaspoon celery flakes
2 tablespoons Riverhouse Parmesan Herb dressing **
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 cup +/- French’s French fried onion rings

  • Over medium heat melt butter in saucepan.
  • Whisk in Wondra until golden.
  • Add milk and heavy cream gradually, bringing to a boil JUST SLIGHTLY!
  • Reduce heat and simmer, stirring continuously until sauce begins to thicken.
  • While still stirring add in paprika, salt, pepper, Lemon Garlic and celery flakes. When you reach your desired consistency set pan aside to cool slightly.
  • In a large mixing bowl toss the green beans with the Riverhouse Parmesan Herb dressing.
  • Pour sauce over beans and gently toss and coat.
  • Pour into a baking dish and top with crumbled bacon and fried onion rings.
  • Bake 20-30 minutes until heated through.

**If you can’t find this brand, Litehouse Parmesan Caesar is a great substitute.

1 bag cranberries
1 cup pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice with pulp*
1/2 cup pineapple juice*
2 cups sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange peel
  • Wash cranberries and drain in colander.
  • Mix tangerine juice, pineapple juice and sugar in saucepan until dissolved.
  • Add cinnamon and orange peel. Stir well.
  • Add the cranberries and pomegranate seeds simmering over medium high heat until bubbling, stirring often.
  • When the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat.
  • Cook uncovered or until all cranberries and pomegranate seeds have ’popped’.
  • Sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • Can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or frozen for future holidays.

Yields: 2 cups
*You can use ALL orange juice if you prefer

***I like to make a double batch at Thanksgiving and freeze half for Christmas.

1 Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix (Butter Pecan)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 Egg

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line the bottom of your 10 inch springform pan with parchment paper. I cut a square sheet and close it into the seam of the bottom with the latch and then trim into a circle. Lightly spray the pan with non-stick cooking spray.
  • NOTE: you can use a 9×13 cake pan, but coat it well with non-stick cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl combine the cake mix, melted butter and egg until well blended.Press batter into the bottom of your springform pan.

8 ounces softened cream cheese
15 ounce can pumpkin
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 teaspoon PURE vanilla
1/2 teaspoon orange peel 
3 eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Caramel sauce (recipe follows) 
Candied pecans (I used Fisher’s Cinnamon Pecans) 
Kraft Caramel Balls 
Smucker’s Pineapple Sauce, slightly warmed (optional)

  • In a large mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and pumpkin until smooth.
  • Add melted butter, vanilla and eggs, beating until well combined.
  • Fold in powdered sugar, orange peel and pumpkin pie spice until just mixed.
  • Pour batter over cake base and smooth even.
  • Bake 60-75 minutes until cake is set and top is only slightly wobbly (similar to a cheesecake consistency).
  • COOL COMPLETELY on a wire rack BEFORE removing the pan.
  • Serve sliced with Caramel sauce, pineapple sauce, caramel balls and pecans.


1/2 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
2+ tablespoons water

  • Combine the cream and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring frequently to prevent scorching.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • In a medium saucepan cook the corn syrup over a medium heat until bubbly.
  • Fold in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to cook until the edges begin to turn a light amber color.
  • Add in 1/4 cup sugar more and repeat until all the sugar is blended in.
  • Continue cooking until amber color darkens stirring constantly.
  • Remove from the heat and carefully fold in the cream mixture.
  • Cook over medium heat stirring frequently until caramel is bubbling.
  • Serve warm.
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups.

Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Microwave 20-30 seconds to soften refrigerated caramel before serving.

I’m off to wrap Christmas presents – Have a great weekend! 



A while back my friend Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home mom featured a Banana Jam which I had to try, you can see my recipe here.  It really was great.  Then yesterday I was searching through my box oftricks, er recipes for tailgating recipes I want to try and found a recipe for BANANA FOSTERS BUTTER. It just screamed out for me to try it. It was fantastic too and great on Peanut Butter Toast.

8 ripe, firm large bananas
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons light rum
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Mash bananas until smooth. Transfer bananas to a pot.
  • Stir in sugars, lemon juice, rum, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  • Bring to a slow boil. 
  • Reduce heat and simmer about 20 minutes or until thickened, stirring frequently.
  • Ladle into hot sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
  • Wipe jars clean, add lids and rings.
  • Process filled jars in a boiling water bath  for 10 minutes.
  • Cool on wire racks.



2 large apples, peeled, cored & chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons golden rum
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons heavy cream
4 tablespoons butter
Melissa’s Dimsum dumpling wrappers
Frying oil (with a neutral flavor)

  • Soak raisins in the rum for an hour before preparing the apples.
  • Toss apples and raisins with the lemon juice.
  • Sift together the dry ingredients.
  • Toss the apple mixture with the dry mixture until well coated.
  • Add vanilla and cream until well blended.
  • Melt butter in cast iron skillet (preferred). Add apple mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes until tender.
  • Fill each dumpling wrapper with a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture.
  • Wet and seal the edges.
  • Bring oil to a frying heat.
  • Add several of the dumplings, but do not crowd the pan. Cook until golden brown.
  • Drain on paper towels.
  • Sprinkle with powder sugar or cinnamon sugar.
  • Serve with french vanilla ice cream.


In an effort to clean out magazines and cookbooklets, I’ve decided to join Magazine Mondays hosted by Cream Puffs in Venice. What I really like is that she isn’t strict about when you post so I can publish these yummy results as I find them.

If you are anything like me, you have a drawer or a box full of recipes from newspapers, magazines, old maiden aunts, grandmothers, friends and every potluck you ever went to and said I have to have that recipe! Now while I usually keep the combination of spices and seasonings somewhat intact, I do make changes that make it more palatable to my family. So I always keep a list of likes, dislikes and allergies and am constantly altering recipes to fly by the seat of my pants.

These recipes have been floating around so long in the box of scraps that I have no idea where they originated (but they look like pages from an old Lawry’s magazine when I worked there) which based on all my changes doesn’t matter, but reminds me to keep that box. Some days I feel like an archaeologist, but come up with oldies that were favorites and will now be revived.

3-4 firm pears, pared and cut into fourths
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon*
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small squares
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 to 6 tablespoons chopped, toasted pecans, optional
1/4 cup rum soaked golden raisins**

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Arrange pears side by side, center down in an un-greased 8×8 baking dish.
  • Stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon.
  • Sprinkle raisins around the pears.
  • Sprinkle with the brown sugar.
  • Evenly dot with the butter squares.
  • Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until pears are tender and brown sugar is bubbly.

*I deleted the pecans and increased the brown sugar to 1/3 cup while adding the cinnamon also.
**I soaked the raisins in rum for a day or so before and they were yummy!

Next time I will maybe broil the pears for a couple of minutes after they come out of the oven to crystallize the sugar.


Slow Cooker Apple Sauce
8 cups diced apples (peeled and cored)
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 dash freshly grated nutmeg
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Sea salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • Put all the ingredient in a slow cooker and mix thoroughly.  
  • Cover and cook on high until apples are tender, about 3 hours.
  • Add raisins last hour.
  • This produces a  yummy salted-cinnamon-vanilla-caramel sauce that coats the apples and will thicken slightly upon cooling.  
  • Cool uncovered for a thicker sauce.


4 large Granny Smith apples (I used Honey Crisp, but they’re only available for such a short window of time)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons Kahlua’
4 tablespoons golden raisins

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Peel and core apples.
  • Slice each apple horizontally into 5 or 6 slices.
  • Place apples in a 9×9 baking dish.
  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raisins into each apple.
  • Melt butter and whisk in the Kahlua’.
  • Drizzle over the apples.
  • Bake uncovered 45-60 minutes until fork tender.
  • Baste every 15 minutes.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt

  • In a heavy saucepan whisk together the water, sugar, corn syrup and a pinch of salt.
  • Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Boil without stirring until mixture turns golden.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Slowly stir in the cream.
  • Let cool.
  • To serve, plate apples in their stack, pour caramel sauce down the center of each apple and top with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.