Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Holiday Slush

A cocktail that you can make ahead and is ready to go at a moments notice – this recipe for Holiday Slush is delicious and perfect for any holiday party or gathering. Who are we kidding? It’s perfect for any party or gathering ANY time of year! It’s just that we seem to have more parties and gatherings at THIS time of year. This recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and wow, am I glad we have this one! It’s amazingly delicious and refreshing. Big surprise – it’s one of my new favorites! Well, I like a party – and celebrations of all kinds, as you can see by this photo of me when I was about 3 years old. It’s just not a party without the party horn – you know, the kind you blow out and they make noise and then they roll back in. And you can do it over, and over, and over, and over, and over again and drive all the adults crazy. Yeah – that one! I loved those when I was a kid.

This particular party that I was having – by myself, apparently – looks like it was thanksgiving time, as portrayed by the fall arrangement on the little table (this was at my other grandma and gramp’s house). I look like I was already indulging in this slush. Ha! Maybe I should get some of those party horns for this year’s holiday celebrations. Hmmm?

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Holiday Slush

Mix together in a pan:

7 cups water

2 cups sugar

Bring to a boil, then cool.

Boil:

2 cups water

Steep in the water:

4 green tea bags

Cool.

Remove tea bags and combine with the water mixture.

Add:

1-12 ounce can frozen orange juice, thawed

1-12 ounce can frozen lemonade, thawed

2 cups brandy or gin (I used brandy)

Freeze.

To serve: Scoop frozen slush into glasses and add 7-Up or sour mix.

Top with a cherry.

I steeped the tea and let it cool with the tea bags in it. Green tea is an interesting ingredient – might as well get some antioxidants at the same time, right?

I just mixed them all together in the biggest container I had, and into the freezer with it! I do seem to remember back in the day when people were making this, that they used ice cream buckets to freeze this stuff. That would definitely take up less room in the freezer.

Once it’s frozen, it’s ready for the party! It doesn’t freeze solid because of the alcohol – that makes the perfect texture. Scoop the slush into the glass and add the 7-Up. That does make the drink “plenty sweet”, so I tried it with sparkling water and that was also delicious. I made picks with three cherries instead of putting just one cherry on top, for extra festiveness!

This slush can take you from September thru January, but I don’t know why you couldn’t leave this in your freezer all year long! It would be amazingly refreshing in the summer, too! Maybe try it with other types of alcohol, like vodka.

Yes – another of my favorites. I seem to be finding a lot of favorites from these old family recipes – and I love it! This slush is such a great adult drink to keep in the freezer. It’s no fuss, no muss entertaining. Just add the soda and you’re golden. For a non-alcohol version, just mix it all up and leave out the alcohol, but don’t put it in the freezer. Maybe to make it special for kids at holdiay time, add a scoop of orange or lemon sherbet at the end when adding the soda – like a float! Yum! If you have any kind of entertaining coming up this holiday season, you’re going to want to make up a batch of this delicious and very festive Holiday Slush – and let the celebrating begin!

 

 

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String Bean Royal

String Bean Royal (with no “e”?) is similar to the classic casserole we all make this time of year using green beans and the obligatory cream of mushroom soup and French fried onions. I have made one kind of Green Bean Casserole (not the classic) but this one has the added flavor of onion and cheddar cheese. While I LOVE the crunch of the French fried onions that we all put on top of the classic, this one used regular sliced onion on it, with the deliciousness of shredded cheddar over the top of it all. I mean, how bad can that be? Not bad. It’s so good! And the best part of all with this recipe – it’s another ridiculously easy one! Yes! We like that! Easy, easy, easy! Did I mention that this one is easy? I think I did. It’s so great!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

String Bean Royal

Drain:

1 or 2 cans of string beans (or green beans – I used 2 cans)

Pour into a greased baking dish.

Mix together and toss with the beans:

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1/2 cup rich milk (they probably mean whole milk here, but I used 2% milk)

Slice thinly and layer on top of beans:

onion (I used 1/2 of a small onion)

Top with:

grated cheddar cheese (I used about half of an 8 oz. package of shredded cheddar)

It didn’t say what temperature to bake at, so I baked it at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Once you have the green beans, milk, and cream of mushroom soup combined, on goes the layer of sliced onions.

Next is the layer of shredded cheddar cheese. I used about half of an 8 ounce package, but next time I’d just use the whole thing. Can you really ever have TOO MUCH cheese?

Out of the oven and it’s bubbly and hot and the cheese has melted – oh my! See – I think more cheese might cover ALL of the creamy goodness – so use the whole 8 ounce package of shredded cheddar.

This might be a new classic for your thanksgiving dinner!

It. Is. So. Good.

This is the easiest and most delicious side dish you’ll ever put in your mouth! Making a Thanksgiving dinner is a lot of work. Why not go easy on a few of those classic dishes that everyone loves and can’t do without? Your guests, friends, and family are going to LOVE this String Bean Royal – and you will, too!

 

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Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert – that’s quite a mouthful. That’s exactly what you’re gonna want of this dessert – a mouthful! Well, more than a mouthful, for sure! Oh my goodness – this is the tastiest thing I’ve tried in many, many years. I have done other pumpkin desserts on Plenty Sweet Life, like Pumpkin Crunch Dessert and Pumpkin Pie Dessert, plus many other pumpkin pies and cakes, but this one is the tastiest – in my opinion. I keep saying it, and you all know how I feel about it, but those old church cookbooks are THE ABSOLUTE BEST. Especially in this case. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s church cookbooks, and it. Is. So. Good. I’m not even kidding with this one. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. I should have posted this in the first part of September, because it would be great anytime from September through the end of December. This is a total make-ahead wonder. You HAVE to make this one ahead of time, which is absolutely perfect for holiday entertaining. You’ll see what I mean as we go along. I’m not sure how long you could keep this in the freezer, but I had it in there at least a week and it was perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of this one – you can make it ahead and it’s unbelievably delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Mix:

30 gingersnaps, crushed (yes – store-bought)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

Press into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Freeze until firm.

Spread over crust:

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened (most ice cream containers are 1 1/2 qts now, not 2 – I used the 1 1/2 qt one and it was fine – you can use the exact amount, if you want to, then just buy two containers)

Combine:

1 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Spread over ice cream.

Spread over top of all:

12 ounce Cool Whip (I couldn’t find a 12 oz container, so I used an 8 oz – I’d use 2 of those next time)

Sprinkle additional gingersnaps over top, if desired.

Freeze until serving.

Even though the recipe doesn’t say to melt the butter, the crust reminded me of a graham cracker crust, so I thought melted butter would work best.

I just put all the crust ingredients into the food processor. Easy peasy.

If you have the pumpkin layer ready to go before starting, it’s pretty fast to pull together.

I felt that since both the ice cream and Cool Whip amounts were smaller than the recipe called for, I might be able to get away with a smaller pan. Nope.

Once the crust and ice cream layers were in, there wasn’t much room in my smaller pan.

There was room to put the pumpkin layer on, but no room for the Cool Whip. Don’t panic – just worry about the Cool Whip later. At this point, into the freezer with the pan.

You can see here how close I was cutting it for fitting it all into the smaller pan. No worries – a spoonful of Cool Whip will work just as well! The 8 ounce container worked just fine for putting a dollop on top, but if I had used a bigger pan and had the room, I’d have put in the exact amount called for.

See? How pretty is this?!! I used sprinkles, of course, and they are so cute! There’s no reason not to be festive at the same time. For some reason, the gingersnaps stayed in bigger chunks instead of breaking up more into crumbs. Good thing I used the food processor on the crust!

Let me just say this one more time – this is the best pumpkin dessert I’ve had in many, many years!!! It is so flavorful and tasty – I could hardly believe it! It’s my new favorite! I know, I know, I say that all the time. This time I mean it! Make this now for your thanksgiving gatherings. I think if you make it this weekend, or next, and wrap it well, it should be fine. Just wrap well (airtight) to stay away from that “freezer” smell and taste. Let other people bring the pies – your Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert will be the big hit – I guarantee it!

 

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Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Today’s recipe for Soft Pumpkin Cookies comes from a cookbook my sister gave me in 1978!

The cookbook is “Betty Crocker’s Cooking American Style – A Sampler of Heritage Recipes”, the copyright is 1975, and one more fun thing – it’s a paperback and the price on the cover is $2.95!! My, how things have changed! I love that even way back then my sister knew the perfect gift for me – that hasn’t changed! This book is so fun because it’s full of old-fashioned recipes that have been around for a long time and that are total classics: simple ingredients, simple to make, simply delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Mix together:

1 cup sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 Tablespoon grated orange peel

Stir in:

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1/2 cups raisins

1/2 cup nuts (I used chocolate chips instead)

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased baking sheet (I used my trusty scoop).

Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

Of course, as usual, this recipe calls for raisins AND nuts. My family is not a fan of nuts in baking, and there is an option to use chocolate chips instead of raisins, so I just used the raisins AND chocolate chips and left out the nuts. The orange peel also gives it a nice flavor.

I used my scoop, even though it said to use teaspoons to drop the dough.

The scoop made the cookies nice, pretty little balls of deliciousness. I’m sure using teaspoons to drop the dough would have made more of a classic cookie shape.

These cookies are delicious. No kidding. Believe it or not, we were able to confirm that the cookies do, indeed, get tastier after a couple of days – the flavor seemed to meld and mellow.

They’re classic, tasty, perfect. I love this recipe, and I love knowing that people have been making this simple recipe for years, no, decades, and enjoying them just as much as we did. Make a batch of these classic and delicious Soft Pumpkin Cookies for your family and be a part of this American style tradition.

 

 

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Lingonberry Ricotta Toasts

I’m celebrating my Scandinavian heritage today, sharing an incredibly easy and delicious recipe for Lingonberry Ricotta Toasts. In August I tried to make homemade ricotta for the first time, and wrote a post for Homemade Ricotta on Toasts with Tomatoes. It was so easy and so tasty, I just knew I would make it again, and I came up with a totally different idea for when I do. For the Thanksgiving/Christmas/holiday season (and beyond) I think you should make this snack or appetizer. If you’ve never tried lingonberries, they taste a lot like cranberries – with a Scandinavian twist. It might seem so strange to make the Italian ricotta and pair it with the Scandinavian lingonberries, but it really isn’t. If you’ve ever tasted the Scandinavian dish called Ost Kaka, you know what I’m talkin’ about. It’s made a bit like ricotta, only there are eggs and sugar in it. Someday I will try and make Grandma’s recipe for Ost Kaka the real way, with rennet tablets dissolved in milk to make the curdled cheese needed to make it, but until then, you can read how I make Ost Kaka – the Easy Kind, which uses cottage cheese instead of having to make the cheese from scratch. As I said in August when I made the first batch of ricotta, I used beautiful, unbleached cheesecloth by Cheesecloth.com to make it. I love it so much – no bleachy smell, and you can use it for so many things in the kitchen.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lingonberry Ricotta Toasts

Set over a large bowl:

a sieve lined with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth (if you don’t dampen the cheesecloth, it may spill out over the top of the sieve instead of draining properly – I also gave the cloth a good shake to get any bits of thread out of it)

Pour into a large stainless steel pot:

4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream

Stir in:

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Bring to a full boil, stirring occasionally.

Turn off the heat and add:

3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar or lemon juice (I used white wine vinegar)

Allow to stand one minute (I did give it a little stir), until the vinegar causes it to curdle and separate.
Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined sieve, and allow to drain about 20 minutes (the longer your let it drain, the firmer the ricotta will be).
Discard the liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl.
Transfer ricotta from the sieve to another bowl.
Discard remaining liquid and cheesecloth.
Use immediately (if you like it nice and warm) or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

I’m going to use the same photos and instruction for making the ricotta that I used when I first made it in August. This is just one more way to use that delicious and amazing homemade ricotta cheese.

Here is the beautiful, unbleached cheesecloth that I got from Cheesecloth.com. Love it!

Line a sieve with the dampened cheesecloth and put the sieve over a bowl.

Here are the ridiculously simple ingredients. It never ceases to amaze me how the simplest ingredients can make something so delicious. Amazing.

After you’re done heating the ingredients, pour the mixture into the cheesecloth lined sieve. I used two because I didn’t know if it would all fit into one – turns out it wouldn’t have all fit into one sieve.

After draining 20 minutes – this is how the amazing, creamy cheese comes out!

I toasted slices of baguette (drizzle with olive oil if you want) in the oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until they’re as toasted as you like them. You can also use any kind of crackers you want – even graham crackers would be nice.

All I did was spread some ricotta on the toasts, put a dollop of lingonberry jam on top of that, and sprinkle toasted, sliced almonds over all. Another option would be to stir the jam and sliced almonds right into the ricotta – maybe use it as a dip!

Lingonberry jam is just the best. Our family uses it all the time, especially during the holidays. It’s so festive and delicious, with an almost cranberry taste and tang. The jam goes so well with the creaminess of the ricotta, and I know you’re going to love it. This would make a perfect appetizer for your Thanksgiving celebration, your Christmas celebration, or any holiday celebration you have coming up. Maybe even New Year’s Eve! Try making your own ricotta – even though the holidays are coming up and everyone is so busy, this is easy to make, and is a very special treat for the very special people you’ll be entertaining. It’s a snap to make with the help of the beautiful cheesecloth from Cheesecloth.com, so there’s really no excuse to NOT make these tangy, tasty, tremendously delicious Lingonberry Ricotta Toasts!

 

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, everybody! Don’t be scared – this is so spooooooky!

 

 

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10 Spooky Halloween Treats!

Here are 10 Spooky Halloween Treats for you! These treats are all so festive and so much fun to make! Enjoy!

Halloween Bark

 

Lasagna and Spider Bread

 

Chocolate Rice Krispies Cookies

 

Maple Chai Spiced Pepitas

 

Rollo Pretzel Treats for Halloween

 

Halloween Popcorn Balls

 

Sweet and Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

 

Jack O Lantern Pumpkin Cake

 

Graham Crackers – Frosted

 

Halloween Bundt Cake

 

Autumn Bark

 

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Brownies by Odetta

I have no idea where this recipe for Brownies by Odetta came from, and I have no idea who Odetta is, but it was in my mom’s recipe file, and that means I need to try it. I laughed out loud when I started mixing these, because as we all well know by now, my mom is a HUGE chocoholic, and this recipe uses cocoa as the chocolate, so it smells unbelievably cocoa-y and chocolate-y. I’m not surprised that she asked someone for this recipe – way back in 2008! You can make brownies any time of the year – obvi – but no matter what season it is, you can and should decorate them appropriately. Sprinkles are obligatory and as we well know, make everything WAAAAAY more festive. There are so many beautiful sprinkles out there now, you can really go crazy. Let’s just say I restrained myself. Somewhat.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Brownies by Odetta

Mix together:

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

Bring to a boil:

1 cup water

1 cup margarine (I used butter)

4 Tablespoons cocoa

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)

Pour over flour and sugar.

Add:

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pour into jelly roll pan (11″ x 15″).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Frosting:

Beat together with a mixer until smooth:

4 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 Tablespoons margarine, softened (I used butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups powdered sugar

enough milk to make the frosting spreadable (I used 3 Tablespoons)

Add more milk if too stiff.

Spread on bars.

The ingredients for this recipe are so perfect for our criteria – right from the cupboard and easy to make!

Next, the melted mixture goes right into the dry ingredients. Add the rest and you’re ready for the pan.

It makes a cakey brownie – this is not the fudgy kind.

The cream cheese frosting is easy to make, too.

Here we go  – a blank canvas, ready to decorate. Or not. It’s totally up to you.

You don’t have to use sprinkles, but why wouldn’t you? Seriously – festive as heck! I just HAD to add a pumpkin patch to it, too. Especially if using these for a Halloween party, you can use holiday chocolate candies, candy corn, chopped up cookies, chopped up candy bars – go crazy!! Why not?

Brownies and chocolate and Halloween – they just all go together!

The brownies are cakey, and not very thick, but really – aren’t they just a vehicle for the cream cheese frosting (and sprinkles)? These are really easy to make, they’re very chocolatey and delicious, and the cream cheese frosting is, well, cream cheese frosting. Need I say more? I think you need to make a pan of these Brownies by Odetta – all the ghouls and goblins in your life will thank you!

 

 

 

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Apple Crumble

Today’s recipe for Apple Crumble is a modification of the recipes for Rhubarb Crumble and Blueberry Crumble that I’ve made before for Plenty Sweet Life. After making the Rhubarb Crumble, I tried substituting the blueberries for the original rhubarb, so why not try apple? Well – it worked! It was delicious, and I’m excited for you guys to try it, too! Because I used delicious Minnesota Honeycrisp apples in this, I thought it would be fun to share this brochure about Minnesota apples from 1960. A lot of those apples are still being grown here in Minnesota – and they’re still just as delicious!

As you can see, this brochure was well used. You even get a couple of bonus recipes! Yay!

Ok, ok, I love apples and we all know it. There’s no secret here. So let’s get on with today’s recipe and see just how the apples work in the crumble.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Crumble

For topping – mix and set aside:

3 Tablespoons butter, melted

2/3 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts – FYI – watch closely for shell – I’ve found 3 pieces of shell in 2 different bags of nuts recently)

Mix in order given:

1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)

2-1/3 cups self-rising cake flour (I never have this in the house, so I used 2-1/3 cup flour, 2-1/2 heaping teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 heaping teaspoon salt – whisked or sifted 5 times to make it light – I ended up having a problem at this point – more on that later)

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup nuts, chopped (I left them out of the batter – my family doesn’t care for nuts in cake)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Fold in:

2 apples, cored and chopped (I left the skin on)

Spoon into greased 9″ springform pan.

Sprinkle topping over all.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60-65 minutes.

I had all the ingredients for this cake (and topping) in my cupboard – you probably do, too! BTW – the topping is totally the best part.

I used Minnesota Honeycrisp apples. They. Are. So. Good.

Full disclosure – here’s where I had a problem. The batter looked like it wasn’t thick enough – it didn’t look like it did for the Rhubarb Crumble and the Blueberry Crumble. It seemed weird, so I added an extra 1/2 cup of flour, just to be sure – but I couldn’t figure out why it seemed thinner. Into the pan it went, on went the topping, into the oven it went, I go to check the recipe. Aha – there’s the problem. Ugh! I put in 2/3 cup flour (plus the 1/2 cup later) when it should have been 2-2/3 cups! Ugh and ugh! Too late. Oh well – we’ll see what happens. Lesson learned – even after all these years of baking – check the recipe BEFORE you put it in the pan. Duh.

Did I mention that the topping is the best part? I did? Ok.

Here’s what happened in the oven. It’s a bit flatter than usual, and the top is a bit weird looking, but it seemed to come out ok.

This is how to cover the big mistake – sift a bit of powdered sugar on top! No one will ever know! And it’s so pretty!

See? Once it’s cut and served up on the plate, you and all your guests can just enjoy the cake as usual with a nice cup of coffee (or tea), and nobody needs to know there was ever a problem. Even though I told my husband about my leaving out some flour, I left the cake out so he could have a piece for breakfast the next morning. He left me a note that simply said, “Awesome!” Apparently no harm done, and that’s his totally unbiased opinion of exactly how delicious this cake is! Make this Apple Crumble, put in the right amount of ingredients, and let your friends and family enjoy the cake AND delicious (Minnesota) apples at the same time!

 

 

 

 

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Pigs in a Blanket

Look at how old this recipe is for Pigs in a Blanket! Remember making these back in the day? My sister wrote this out when she was pretty young! I think she and I must have both gotten this recipe in 7th grade Home Ec class! There were a LOT of great recipes that came from that Home Ec class, and this is definitely one of them. That’s why this one’s going in the Retro Oddities category! I’ve been making this recipe for my kids since they were very small. It’s an inexpensive dinner that looks like you’ve really made something special – and my kids loved it – especially the name! This is another recipe that’s total comfort food for this family, and with shorter days and less daylight coming now this time of year, it’s time to pull out some of our favorite comfort food recipes, warm up the oven, and make some cozy, comfy dinners.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pigs in a Blanket

Unroll:

1 roll of refrigerator crescent rolls

Separate into triangles.

Remove from package:

1 package of hot dogs (I used my husband’s favorite kind, but we normally use Oscar Meyer Wieners)

Cut slit almost to bottom and not quite to the end of hot dog.

For cheese:

Velveeta cheese cut into 1/4″ slices, and cut those into 1/4″ strips.

Insert cheese into slit in hot dogs.

Wrap hot dog in crescent rolls, starting with the wide edge of roll under hot dog.

Roll up and pinch point end under hot dog to seal.

Place on baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes.

Because I didn’t use the usual Oscar Meyer Wieners, I put the hot dogs on a paper towel to dry them off a bit – these were juicy, but they’re my husband’s favorite.

Unroll the tube of crescent rolls, separate them, and have them ready for rolling.

This is it – 3 basic ingredients – all ready to go.

Cut a slit in the hot dog and insert the stick of cheese.

Roll the crescent roll dough around the hot dog. I found that starting with the wide end on the bottom let you end up with the pointed end underneath so it doesn’t come apart when baking – it stays nice and tight that way.

Tuck the pointed end of the crescent roll dough underneath and it stays put. Easy peasy.

Here they are – ready for the oven!

The hot dogs cook, the cheese melts, and the crescent roll dough gets brown and delicious.

These make a nice weekend lunch or quick weeknight dinner. Serve them with ketchup AND mustard, and you’re good to go.

Oh yum. I haven’t made these for a few years, and I had forgotten just how tasty they are! Your kids and grandkids will love them, and they’ll love helping you make them. It’s time to bring back these tasty favorites. Turn on the oven, get retro, and make up a nice, cozy, comfy dinner tonight with your new favorite comfort food – Pigs in a Blanket!

 

 

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The New Vintage Kitchen

A Vermont innkeeper's collection of vintage recipes, reimagined for today's cooks.

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eASYbAKED

a collection of recipes