Peanut Butter Fudge

My dad and brother both love peanut butter, so I made them each a box of peanut butter fudge as part of their Christmas gift. I didn't have a recipe, so I did an online search and came across this easy recipe from Food Network Host Alton Brown. (I like him a lot, especially his show, "Good Eats".) Anyway, the recipe is really easy and very tasty! Be careful when microwaving the peanut butter and butter--I boiled mine over in the microwave! Here's the link to the recipe. Thanks for stopping by!


Thumb Cookies

Ok, here's the final cookie recipe that I made for the assorted cookie trays I made up for two of our pastors. This is a recipe that my aunt, Roben, gave me years ago. I had used egg whites in the peppermint divinity I posted about a few days ago and had egg yolks left over. This recipe calls for egg yolks, so I thought I would make it to use them up. Be sure to scroll to the end to see my final cookie trays!

Thumb Cookies

1 c. butter
2 egg yolks
1 c. confectioner's sugar
2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
jam or maraschino cherries

Cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and vanilla and mix till combined. Blend in the
flour just till combined.

Make balls the size of walnuts. Mash the center down with your thumb, or a rounded measuring spoon works well too. Fill the indent with jam (any flavor of your choosing) or a marashino cherry. Bake in a 350 oven until lightly browned.

*Use aluminum air-bake cookie sheets for best results.*

Thanks for stopping by!


Merry Christmas!

From the Toth Family to You,
We wish you a very Merry Christmas.
Thanks for stopping by!


Cranberry-Macadamia (Pecan) Bars

Here's the second recipe for cookies I made for a cookie tray Christmas gift. This is a fancier cookie than what I normally make, but I wanted to make some varieties that I knew no one else had given them yet. Plus, the bar cookies were easier than drop cookies. Just like the Chocolate Revel Bars, this recipe comes from that Better Homes & Gardens red and white plaid binder cookbook most of us have in our collection. Just a note: I always use pecans in this recipe.

Cranberry-Macadamia Bars

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. finely chopped macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, or pecans

1 1/4 c. sugar
2 beaten eggs
2 T. milk
1 tsp. finely shredded orange peel
1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 c. finely chopped macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, or pecans
1 c. finely chopped cranberries
1/2 c. coconut

In a mixing bowl stir together the flour and the 3/4 c. sugar. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until misture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the 1/2 c. nuts. Press flour mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350 oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is light brown around the edges.

Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine the 1 1/4 c. sugar, eggs, milk, orange peel, and vanilla. Beat until combined. Pour over the hot crust. Sprinkle with the 1/2 c. nuts, cranberries, and coconut.

Bake in the 350 oven for 30 minutes more or until golden. Cool slightly in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm. Cool completely in pan.
My notes: I lined my pan with parchment paper. After allowing the bars to cool for a bit, I lifted the entire pan of cookies out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling. I didn't cut the bars until they were completely cool. The orange zest in these cookies makes all the difference in the world, so if you try the recipe, don't let that out! Thanks for stopping by!


Chocolate Revel Bars - Take II

I posted the recipe for these bar cookies a few weeks ago. I made them for a Sunday afternoon 8 for $10 stamping workshop at my house. I didn't post a picture of them the first time, so now you can see how yummy they look!

I made them again for Christmas gifts for the Associate Pastor and Children's Pastor at our church. I made three types of cookies and gave each of them a tray full. This is the first of the three. I'll share the other two recipes in the next two posts. Thanks for stopping by!


Holiday Biscotti

I decided to make some baked goods for the pastors of our church. You can see in my last post where I made peanut butter ice cream topping for our Senior Pastor. Today I'll tell you about the gift I made for our Youth Pastor. At some point in time, he was a barista for Starbucks. (I think it was Starbucks.) He has an espresso/capuccino machine in his office. So I thought the perfect gift for him would be some biscotti.

I am a Food Network fan. One of my favorites is Giada De Laurentiis. I used to sit and watch her show while I was nursing my youngest son! I watched an episode where she made Holiday Biscotti and printed the recipe off to try someday. I made it a year or so ago, but hadn't made it since. You can get the recipe here.

The first time I made it, I used pecans instead of pistachios. It was still good. This time, I made it with the pistachios, but I didn't dip them in white chocolate or do the colored sugar decorations. They were yummy without it! Give this recipe a try sometime when you're looking for a new cookie recipe to try! Thanks for stopping by!


Peanut Butter Ice Cream Topping

My father loves peanut butter ice cream topping and has my mom make it for him any time we make homemade ice cream. She makes it without a recipe, and I never know how to make it like she does. She can tell me what she puts in it, but not any relative amounts. I need more specific instructions when I'm cooking, so I went looking for a recipe. I found one about a year ago, and I think it was on the Family Fun website, but I don't remember for certain. I think the original recipe called for heavy cream, but I just use milk. I don't remember if I made any other changes or not, but here's the recipe I use.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Topping

1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. light corn syrup
2 T. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Bring the first five ingredients to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla. Cool and serve! Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by!


Peppermint Divinity

There's a recipe for Peppermint Divinity in the December issue of Country Living magazine. In Christmases past before I had children, I would make an assortment of homemade candies, put them in little gift boxes, and give them as Christmas gifts. So I've made candy before, but I've never made divinity.

I've been on a mint kick lately. It started a few weeks ago when I bought a bottle of Twisted Mint hand soap at Bath & Body Works. The idea of peppermint divinity piqued my interest. I thought I would give it a try and put it in our preschool teacher gifts. It turned out really well--even if I do say so myself! Yum!


Kiss Cookies

Have you seen the Candy Cane Hershey's Kisses? I bought some last weekend to make cookies with. I've made peanut butter blossoms in the past with milk chocolate Kisses, but I wondered what a chocolate cookie with a candy cane Kiss would taste like. So I tried to make some, and my oldest son just loved them! My husband liked them pretty well too, and my younger son just wanted to eat the Kisses out of the middle. Thanks for stopping by!


Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm sure lots of people think my chocolate chip cookie recipe is top secret, but it's not. In fact, the recipe I use is off the side of the Butter Crisco canister. You can get it on the Crisco site at www.crisco.com. I do add some extra flour, and I don't really follow their directions. I've gleaned a few baking tips from watching the Food Network occasionally over the years. Otherwise, it's a great recipe. Of course, I add some love too, and that makes them scrumptious! Thanks for stopping by!

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 c. Crisco Butter Shortening
1 1/4 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
2 T. milk
1 T. vanilla extract
1 egg
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. coarsely chopped pecans (optional)
*If nuts are omitted, add an additional 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Heat oven to 375ºF.

Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.


Bacon, Cheese & Potato Chowder

I made the ladies this soup for lunch on Saturday during our cd calendar stamp camp. It's from a past Kraft Foods magazine. Do you get it? If not, go to http://www.kraftfoods.com to sign up for it. I love it, and it's FREE! Thanks for stopping by!

Bacon, Cheese & Potato Chowder

3 c. milk
1 can (10.75 oz.) condensed cream of potato soup
2 c. frozen Southern-style hash browns (the cubed ones, not shredded)
shredded cheddar cheese
crumbled bacon (We like the Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits in the
yellow bag in the salad dressings and croutons aisle.)
thinly sliced green onions

My Notes: I always substitute 2 c. milk and 1 c. sour cream for the 3 c. milk. I like the extra flavor that the sour cream gives. Also, I never garnish with the green onions. I'm just not a fan.

Mix milk and soup in large saucepan. Stir in hash browns. Bring to boil on high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 10 min., stirring frequently.

Ladle into soup bowls. Top evenly with the cheese, bacon and onions. Serve with a crusty whole grain roll or bread.

More of My Notes: I've also put this in a crock pot to cook. If I need it quicker, I'll cook it till finished on the stove, and then put it in a crock pot on low to stay warm if we're eating on the go or munching on it all day on a college football Saturday!


Apple Crisp

This is a recipe that my aunt gave me when I got married. I decided it was a good fall recipe to make for the gals at my 8 for $10 workshop last night. Thanks for the recipe, Bev!

Apple Crisp

Granny Smith apples (They're the best for baking!)
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 c. quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. melted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Peel and slice apples to fill a 13x9x2 pan almost full. Sprinkle the 1 c. sugar evenly over the apples. Combine the remaining ingredients and spread the mixture over the apples. Bake at 350F until apples are tender and topping is lightly browned, about 30-40 minutes.

Thanks for stopping by!


Hat Cookies

It's "H" week at Kids' Kingdom Preschool. "H" is for hat, so what better for a snack than hat cookies? Thanks, Family Fun magazine, for all your great ideas for kids! Thanks for stopping by!


Holy Cow! It's a Birthday Cake!

Someone has a birthday! I am a very amateur cake decorator. The idea came from the Family Fun magazine website.

Yes, that is a big white blur on the picture. For privacy's sake, I took the name off of the picture. Too many people freely give away their privacy these days. I'm probably going a little overboard, but better too much than not enough. Thanks for stopping by!


Chocolate Revel Bars

For Sunday afternoon's 8 for $10 Halloween Treats workshop, I had Chocolate Revel Bars here for a snack. There were extras, so I took them to my preschool board meeting that night. Everyone like them, so I thought I'd share the recipe. It can be found in the red and white checkered "Better Homes & Gardens" cook book if you have one--and most people do!
Chocolate Revel Bars

1 c. butter
2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. quick-cooking rolled oats
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla

Set aside 2 T. of the butter. In a large mixing bowl beat the remaining butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and 2 tsp. vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in the oats. (I do all of this with my electric stand mixer.)

For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 T. butter, chocolate pieces, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat until chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the nuts and 2 tsp. vanilla. (I have never made these with nuts.)

Press two-thirds (approximately) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15x10x1-inch baking pan. (To make it easy to get the bars from the pan, I line my pan with parchment paper. After baking and cooling, you can run a knife around the edge and lift the whole pan of bars out easily. Then I use a pizza cutter to cut them into bars. They look great, and cleanup is easy!) Spread filling evenly over the oat mixture. Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling.

Bake in a 350F oven about 25 minutes or until top is light brown (chocolate filling will look moist). Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into bars and serve.

Variation: Substitute 1 c. whole wheat flour and 1 1/2 c. all purpose flour for the 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour. (I always make these this way.)
For some reason, fall seems like the best time to make these. I guess it's the oatmeal that makes them seem hearty and good cool-weather food. Thanks for stopping by!


Pasta Fagioli, Wheat Rolls & Pumpkin "Dirt"

Pasta Fagioli

2 lb. ground beef
12 oz. chopped onion
14 oz. diced carrots
14 oz. diced celery
48 oz. canned, diced tomatoes
2 c. cooked red kidney beans
2 c. cooked white kidney beans
88 oz. beef stock
3 tsp. oregano
2 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
48 oz. spaghetti sauce
8 oz. dry small shell pasta

This recipe makes nine quarts of soup. I often make half a recipe for us as a family. These amounts do not have to be exact. For instance, when I make half a batch, I don't want two half cans of beans left over, so I go ahead and use a whole 15 oz. can of both types of kidney beans. Spaghetti sauce comes in 26 oz. jars, so I just use a whole one. Beef broth comes in 14.5 oz. cans, so I use four. You get the idea.

Saute beef in a large soup pot until it starts to brown. Add onions, carrots, celery and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse beans and add to the pot. Also add beef stock, oregano, black pepper, parsley, hot pepper sauce, spaghetti sauce, and pasta. Simmer until celery and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.

You can serve this soup with some grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top and rolls. Yum! Perfect for a chilly fall or cold winter day!

Another note, I have made this soup in a crock pot. I simply brown the ground beef on the stove first. Then I layer all the ingredients into the crock pot as I would add them into the soup. Cook on low for about 8 hours.

Whole Wheat Rolls

2 1/4 c. bread flour
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1/3 c. milk
7/8 c. water
2 T. brown sugar
1 1/2 T. butter
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. yeast

Load the bread pan according to the instructions for your machine. If you are using your machine to bake the dough as well, use your machine's whole wheat cycle if it has one.

I let my bread machine make the dough, then I make the rolls. I quarter the dough, and then cut each quarter into thirds, making twelve. I drop them into a greased rectangular pyrex baking dish and let them rise for about 30 min. Bake in a 350 oven for about 30 min. or until you can see that they are baked and not doughy on the bottom.

Pumpkin "Dirt"

This is the recipe for plain old "Dirt" made with vanilla pudding and Oreo cookies. I tried something different last fall, and we really enjoyed it. Use pumpkin pudding instead of vanilla and ginger snaps instead of Oreos for a pumpkin version of the dessert.

1/4 c. butter
8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
3 1/2 c. milk
2 small pkg. vanilla instant pudding
12 oz. Cool Whip
20 oz. pkg. Oreos

Grind the Oreos in a food processor until they are crumbs. Set aside.

Cream together butter, cream cheese and powdered sugar. Gradually add the milk. Whisk in the pudding mixes. Fold in the Cool Whip.

Starting and ending with Oreos, alternate layers of cookies and pudding mixture.

This recipe can be made in other varieties as well. Make "Sand" with vanilla wafers, and try them with butterscotch pudding. I've served this in a clean child's sand bucket with the shovel as a large spoon at summer picnics. I've seen it served in a clean flower pot with an artificial stem of flowers placed in it until serving time. Of course, there's the ever popular way of serving it with gummy worms too. Have fun making this dessert!

Thanks for stopping by!

1-2-3-4 Apple Cake & Iced Coffee Punch

A few of you were interested in the recipe for the apple cake I served at my Open House. I attended kindergarten at a Montessori school in Philadelphia. I have this recipe from my kindergarten class. The 1-2-3-4 in the name was incorporated into a counting and numbers lesson. I added a little more sweetness by making a basic powdered sugar drizzle icing and added some cinnamon. Enjoy!

1-2-3-4 Apple Cake

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
3 c. flour
4 eggs

1 c. milk
3 tsp. baking powder
6 apples (I
always use Granny Smith for baking.)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp.

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs and mix just until combined. Add milk and mix again. Add dry ingredients and mix again just till combined.

Peel and slice apples and place in a separate bowl. Toss the sliced apples with the
cinnamon and sugar.

Lightly grease a bundt cake pan. Layer the batter and apples, beginning and ending with a batter layer. Bake for 1 hour.

I also served a beverage called "Iced Coffee Punch" which my upline, Bobbie, served at her open house a few weeks before mine. I liked it so much I asked her for the recipe.

Iced Coffee Punch

Dissolve 1/3 c. instant coffee crystals in 1 c. hot water. (I wanted a little stronger coffee flavor, so I used 1/2 c.)

Mix together with 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. (I used fat free condensed milk just to take a few calories out and make it a little less decadent!)

Mix well.

Add 1 gallon chocolate milk and 1 c. cold water.

Add enough white milk to make 2 gallons.

Chill and serve over ice.

I hope you give these recipes a try the next time you're up for trying something new. I love to bake pumpkin, apple, cranberry and spice recipes this time of year! Thanks for stopping by!