Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Blueberry Pie

I’m kind of famous for making this Blueberry Pie. Haha! I originally found the recipe in the June/July 1992 issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine and I’ve been making it ever since. It’s become a 4th of July and summer tradition in our family. There have been several people who, when served this pie, asked if it was ok to lick the plate when they were done. Yes – it’s that good! And yes – it’s ok! Now is the time to make this pie when blueberries are plentiful and less expensive. Some day I’d like to try to make it with wild Minnesota blueberries. That would be fun and amazing. I’ll type out the recipe here since I don’t have anything but the old magazine to go by.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Blueberry Pie

It’s easy to double both the pie crust and filling when making this so you can make two at a time. I only made one pie here.

You will need both a top and bottom crust.

You can find a recipe for pie crust in an earlier post here.

3 pints fresh blueberries

1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon white sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Grated zest and juice of 1/2 lemon

1 large egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for glaze

Line a pie tin with dough and chill thoroughly.

Roll out circle of dough at least 10″ in diameter and chill on a cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, combine berries, 1 cup sugar, flour, and lemon zest and juice.

Fill chilled pie shell with berry mixture.

Top with pastry circle.

Trim overhanging pastry to within 3/4 inch and crimp edges together to seal.

Cut slits or holes in top crust to let steam escape.

Chill pie for 30 minutes.

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Brush pie with egg glaze and sprinkle with remaining 1 Tablespoon sugar.

Bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until juices are bubbling and crust is golden brown.


Blueberries are so plentiful and beautiful right now.


The lemon brightens up and adds a nice flavor to this pie.


I should have left a bit more dough on the edge of the bottom crust, but it worked out just fine.


For some reason I got a crease up the middle of the top crust.

Just disregard that.

Pretend you didn’t see it.


This pie holds its shape better than you would think.


Blueberry pie is delicious and such a great summer tradition.


Go ahead and lick the plate!








Miracle Whip Cake with Chocolate Chip Glaze

Today is throwback to the ’70s day. This picture from the ’70s is of me and my sister giving our dog, Champ, a bath. Every time we gave her a bath, she’d go right down to the lakeshore, find a dead fish, and roll on it. Needless to say, we didn’t give her a bath very often. More than likely I just thought she needed one! SHE obviously didn’t think she needed one. So funny. Check out my groovy striped pants!


The recipe for today is also a throwback to the ’70s. Miracle Whip Cake is just so GOOD! It always seemed so funny to make a cake with Miracle Whip. I’m not sure where my mom got this recipe, but I love it. It brings me back to the ’70s when I even say the name of this cake. This is one of those recipes I’m glad I found again in my mom’s recipe box. I thought it was gone forever!

Miracle Whip Cake

It’s so easy and really is good.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Miracle Whip Cake

1 cup salad dressing

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup white sugar

4 Tablespoons cocoa

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup cold water

2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix all together.

It doesn’t say what kind of pan to bake this in, so I used a bundt pan – I feel like that’s what we used in the ’70s.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Chocolate Chip Glaze (from my good old Betty Crocker cookbook)

1/2 cup chocolate chips

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon light corn syrup

Melt over low heat stirring constantly until completely melted.

Cool slightly before pouring over cake.

You can find the bundt pan and instructional videos on the Nordic Ware website here.


I dusted the bundt pan with cocoa before pouring batter into pan.


I had a few spots that stuck to the pan, but they were covered up by the Chocolate Chip Glaze.


This makes a dense, dark, very moist cake.


Try out this throwback to the 70s!

It’s delicious!




Rhubarb Muffins

This might be my final rhubarb recipe for this season. Things in the rhubarb patch are slowing down. My mom says that you should stop picking by the 4th of July because it can get kind of bitter and “woody”. I may get enough for one more recipe, but that will be it. This is an easy recipe for Rhubarb Muffins.

Rhubarb Muffins

This is a tasty one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Muffins

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

1 egg

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup nuts (I didn’t put nuts in)

1 cup finely chopped rhubarb


1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Mix all ingredients until just moistened.

Sprinkle topping on top of batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


I love brown sugar in muffins – it makes the batter so pretty.


These muffins are chock full of rhubarb.


The pecans toast in the oven and makes the topping even better.


These are easy muffins to use up the last of our seasonal rhubarb harvest.

Enjoy these with your afternoon coffee!





Pineapple Lemonade

I know – this recipe actually says “Cool Drink”. Well, I have renamed it Pineapple Lemonade. You really get the taste of pineapple AND lemon in this “cool drink” just right for a hot summer day. This one comes from one of Grandma’s sisters and looks like it originally came from her daughter, who just happens to be my godmother! I think this is meant to be a punch but I made it to put into glasses for a family event.

Cool Drink

This is my new favorite summer drink/treat!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pineapple Lemonade

Mix together:

2 packages lemon Kool Aid

1 large can pineapple juice

2 cups white sugar

2 quarts water

1 bottle ginger ale

Lemon sherbet can be added on top.


My store didn’t have lemon sherbet so I used pineapple sherbet.

Pineapple sherbet made it taste more pineapple-y.

I’m sure lemon sherbet would make it taste more lemon-y.

I think vanilla ice cream would be great in this, too.


This makes a big recipe that would be great in a punch bowl for a party.

Just float the sherbet on top of the punch!


I used 1 cup of lemonade, 1 cup of ginger ale, and 2 scoops of sherbet per glass.

Notice the mint from my Herb Pots!

Find the tutorial for those here.


This is a delicious “cool drink” for your summer time get-together.

Give it a try!




Choc-Toffee Bars

Summertime, like every season, holds so many memories for me. This picture is at a cabin rented when my dad first met me. I was about 7 months old. He was home on leave (he was in the Army and stationed in Turkey) and it sure looks like we had fun! It was the beginning of my lifelong obsession with the water! Maybe this rental was when my parents decided to buy their first home on a lake.

Father's Day 2014

Summer was so special when I was growing up. How can it not be when you live on a lake? Those memories sustain me now in the summertime when I get homesick for the lake and those wonderful, action-packed, fun-filled childhood days. It was so much fun. We had no air conditioning in our house. If it got too hot, we’d just go swimming! We were always on the lookout for summer treats that were either no-bake or quick to bake. This one doesn’t heat up your kitchen too much – just bake the one pan instead of several pans of cookies. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be Chocolate-Toffee Bars or not. Any way you spell it, these Choc-Toffee Bars are so good. Anyone who likes chocolate chip cookies will like these. They mix up just like cookies and you just spread them in the pan and bake.

Choc-Toffee Bars

These are now one of my favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Choc-Toffee Bars

Mix together:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips or 6 ounce semi-sweet chocolate bar

1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped or pecans (I used pecans)

Spread in ungreased jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until done but no more than 25 minutes (I would check at 20 min.).


I patted the dough into the jelly roll pan.

They look just like chocolate chip cookies when baked!


This is a thin bar and bakes up a bit firm.


I would describe these bars as having a toasted caramel flavor.


A bit like a cookie.

A bit like a bar.

I’m glad they bake up quick.

The faster they’re done, the faster they’re gone.

So good.






Stamped Plant Markers

Today’s post is something a little bit different. I showed you last week how to plant Herb Pots here. You might have seen the cute little plant markers sticking out of the planters. Well, today I’m going to show you how to make those Stamped Plant Markers with antique silver plate spoons or silverware.


This is a really easy craft and the possibilities are endless.


I just had to mark my rosemary and basil plants so I’d know which is which! Haha!

I used spoons here, but you can use any silverware.


You just need a hammer and some metal stamps. I ordered my stamps from Amazon here.

Silver plate silverware works best – stainless doesn’t work so great.

I found this antique silver plate spoon at a local antique store for $.50. I just removed the price tag, used a little silver polish, and cleaned it up first.


Next I put a rag over the top of the spoon, and used a hammer to flatten it out. I always do this on a firm, flat surface.


I used a pencil to try to center the letters.


I use the metal stamps, hit the correct letter with a hammer (making sure it’s the right side up and centered), and try to get the letters as straight as possible. Sometimes I get it straight and sometimes I don’t. I just look at it as the beauty of something hand-made.

You have to hit the stamp firmly and you only get one shot.

Then I used a thin Sharpie marker to darken the letters. You’ll get some marker outside the lines. I just used a paper towel and wiped the excess off right away.


There you have it – a cute marker for your herbs!


You can also stamp on silverware (obviously not flattened) to make cute, inexpensive gifts like this ice cream spoon I made for my nephew!

This is an easy craft that anyone can do!

Give it a try!

Have fun!




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Frozen Salad or Dessert

This recipe is from one of Grandma’s sisters and is another one I remember from family gatherings when I was growing up. It’s great for summer – creamy, cool, and frozen. This Frozen Salad or Dessert is really kind of decadent. I would definitely call it a dessert.

Frozen Salad or Dessert

You wouldn’t even have to freeze this – it’s so good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Frozen Salad or Dessert

Mix together:

1 can sweetened condensed milk

8 ounce Cool Whip (I used 1 pint whipped cream)


1 20 ounce can of drained crushed pineapple in its own juice

1 can cherry pie filling

Mix well.

Grandma has on here that she added nuts – I did not.

Makes 24 servings if put in cupcake papers.

Put papers in muffin tins to hold shape until frozen.


This is another incredibly easy, tasty, pretty recipe.


Adding the whipped cream makes it extra creamy.


I bought some extra-large cupcake papers by mistake!

It was a great way to use some of them up, but that’s why the papers look bigger than normal.


They freeze perfectly.


It’s a cool, decadent, frozen treat that you’ll just love for summer!

So pretty.

So good.









Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all of you fathers out there!


I was so lucky to have had a wonderful father and two wonderful grandfathers.

I lost my Gramp when I was 18 and he was 73.

Father's Day 2014 2

I lost my Dad when I was 29 and he was 49.

Father's Day 2014

I lost my other Grandpa when I was 47 and he was 96!

me and grandpa on rug

I’m so grateful for the time I had with them all!

Each one of them had an integral part in making me who I am today.

They taught me a lot and I miss them.

Thanks, guys, you were the best!

I love you!




Turtle Bars

This may seem weird, but sometimes I get very nostalgic thinking about bars. Back in the day, bars seemed to be a hot item for all of the gatherings that involved coffee in the afternoon. Grandma brought bars or sweets to church groups like Ladies Aid and Circle, donated baked goods to events like coffee after church or funerals, and brought treats to innumerable family gatherings. I have a lot of memories of these events since I was there to be shown off for a lot of them! I was even paid a dollar to sing “Beautiful Savior” for one Ladies Aid meeting (a song which has become a family favorite since two of our children were involved for eight years in the St. Olaf College Christmas Festival and that song is the festival’s traditional emotional ending). The aroma of coffee, tuna or ham sandwiches, and sweets bring back those times and I can still see Grandma moving from table to table talking to friends and laughing and joking with them. She knew and loved everyone at those events. and she knew how to let everyone know it. There are a lot of recipes for bars in Grandma’s recipe box, but I have to say I think she really liked chocolate and caramel. Those are the main ingredients in a lot of her bar recipes and these Turtle Bars are no exception.

Turtle Bars

Turtle Bars 2

These are great, chewy, caramel-ly bars!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Turtle Bars

Combine until crumbly:

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups quick oatmeal

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup butter, melted

Take off 3/4 cup to use for topping.

Put into 9″ x 13″ cake pan – do not grease pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Put on top of crust:

1 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 12 ounce butterscotch ice cream topping to which is added 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Over the top of this, add reserved 3/4 cup crumble topping.

Bake another 15 minutes.


I patted down the crumbly mixture before baking.

The next ingredient addition is all the good stuff!


Once it’s baked, it turns to caramel-ly goodness.


Chocolate and caramel are so good with coffee.


You’ll enjoy these bars as much as I do.

Make a pan today!






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Herb Pots

I love fresh herbs. I plant Herb Pots every year and put them on our deck right outside the kitchen door. It’s so handy to have them right there when you need them. It couldn’t be easier to plant a few pots of herbs for your kitchen use. I’ll tell you how to do it if you promise to give it a try!


Start with a large enough pot and put in some pebbles, broken pot shards, or plastic peanuts in the bottom of the pot for good drainage.

Then add a good organic potting soil.


I put most of my herbs together in one big pot.


The only herb I always put in its own pot is mint, which can take over if it doesn’t have its own space.


Here I’ve planted basil (in the back), sage (in the middle), thyme (to the left), and oregano (to the right).

I did eventually plant some rosemary but he also has his own pot since I didn’t leave room for him in the big pot.


There you go – all set to grow and use in my cooking all summer long.

Remember – the more you cut them off and use them, the more they’ll grow.

Just leave some leaves on a stem and don’t cut them down to nothing.


This photo was taken only two weeks later!

I’ve already used some of the basil for a salad and some of the mint in the Spiced Tea that was on the blog in May – you can find the recipe here.

This is how fast they grow!

At the end of the summer, I dry some, I freeze some in ice-cube trays with water (thaw on a paper towel and you have only the herb left), and I bring the rest into the house to use for as long as they’ll last. This is too easy to do to not do it!!! Plant some herbs and enjoy that freshness all summer long!




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