Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Broken Glass Dessert

The recipe for today is Broken Glass Dessert. I’ve also seen it called Sea Glass Dessert. Either way – it’s a fun, easy, summery dessert that you and your family or guests will love. I think this would be fun for anyone who has weekend guests at a lake cabin. If I had known about this one earlier, I would have made it for our week at the lake. We rented a cabin on a lake  very close to the where I grew up, and this lake is known for its sea glass. When I was little, we would go to this particular lake for picnics and after finding a piece of sea glass on the beach there, I was hooked. I love sea glass.

Broken Glass Dessert

I’m 3 years old in this picture and I’m sure that’s about the time I started hunting for it. It amazes me that it’s been in the water long enough for the edges to wear down. It might have been in there for 50 years! This summer is the second time we’ve stayed at this particular cabin, and both times we’ve found cups full of sea glass. It’s become tradition for my kids and my nephew (and ME) to hunt for it. There are recipes for Sea Glass Candy, also, which looks fun. I have to try that next time we rent that cabin.

Broken Glass Dessert

This recipe is not difficult, but does take a couple of days. Make sure you have time for everything to chill appropriately.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Broken Glass Dessert

Dissolve 3 kinds of jello (I used lime, lemon, and blue) each one in 1 1/2 cups of boiling water.

Chill in refrigerator (I had it in overnight) and cut into cubes.

Dissolve 1 package of plain Knox gelatin in 1/2 cup cold water.

Add 1 cup hot pineapple juice and let start to thicken (I put this into the refrigerator for about 15-20 min).

Whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and add 1/2 cup white sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Fold whipped cream into gelatin mixture.

Fold in jello cubes.

Chill until firm.


I used glass containers to chill the jello and it was very easy to cut the cubes in them.


They look so pretty – like glass!


Mixing the cubes with the whipped cream mixture binds them together.


So glassy, so sparkly, so summery, so good!

Serve this dessert and get in the mood to hunt for some sea glass.

Happy hunting!




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No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

The recipe for today is one that we all remember from childhood. These No-Bake Chocolate Cookies were made by everyone back in the day. This is another recipe that I thought was lost and then I found it in one of those old church cookbooks that my mom gave me. Hot summer days call for more treats that we can make without heating up the house and this is just one more for our no-bake repertoire.

This is a summer photo of me at 6 months old. As you can see by the chubby cheeks, I was destined to be a cook and a baker! I hope I had just had a bath and the hair is not slicked down because I was sweating in the heat. I don’t really care for heat OR humidity even now.

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

There were also comments made by my dad (and others) about the shape of my round head and a bowling ball. But that’s another story for another time! So . . . on to the recipe. These cookies are a classic and you’ll remember them, I’m sure.

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

I LOVE these cookies and I think that both of my grandmas made these.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

No-Bake Chocolate Cookies

Mix together:

2 cups white sugar

6 Tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter

Bring to a full boil for one minute.

Remove from heat and add:

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter (I used smooth – it was all I had)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 cups regular oatmeal (not the quick kind)

Drop onto waxed paper and cool.

Mixture hardens quickly work fast.


They aren’t kidding about mixing it fast. It does firm up pretty quickly.


I got about 3 dozen cookies making them the size I did.


These are so tasty and they really do remind me of childhood.

Summers were so much fun back then.

Let’s make summers fun now, too, and make a batch of these classic summer no-bake treats!


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Easy Fruit Salad

We need another very easy, very tasty salad for all of those weekend events we have planned. This recipe will do it. I don’t remember Grandma making this Easy Fruit Salad, but I can see she and her busy farm wife friends needing a recipe like this to bring to all of their summer gatherings. I didn’t know you could even still find apricot pie filling. Turns out you can! Here’s another option for a salad that’s a bit unusual.

Easy Fruit Salad

Note that this recipe, again, has the “Very Good” connotation!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Fruit Salad

1 can apricot pie filling

1 large can mandarin oranges, drained

3 bananas, sliced

1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained

1 package miniature marshmallows

1 1/2 cup whipping cream

Whip cream.

Add pie filling.

Fold in fruit.



Whipped cream. How bad can that be?


Mix the apricot pie filling in first and then the fruit and marshmallows.


This makes a big batch and serves a lot.


So creamy and fruity.

Easy enough for any weekend gathering.



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Coffee Ring

The neighborhood where I grew up was so great. We had 5 houses in our little area on the lake where the families were all so close. We were one big family, really, and we all grew up together. All of us, kids and adults alike, would be back and forth and in and out of all of the houses, visiting, playing, swimming, eating, and talking. Those years hold very special memories of great friends and such fun times. Memories of picnics on the pontoon, jumping (or getting throw off) the raft, the smelt fry, learning to water and snow ski, fishing for bullheads, swamping the canoe. I could go on and on. The recipe for today comes from one of those neighbors. This Coffee Ring is a great afternoon snack to have with coffee, dripping with caramel and cinnamon goodness.

Coffee Ring

We made this in the 70’s and it’s still as good as I remember it!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coffee Ring

Combine and put into bottom of a greased bundt pan:

1/4 cup softened butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons cream

1/4 cup chopped nuts (I didn’t use nuts)


1/4 cup butter

Then mix together:

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup white sugar

Take 2 cans of buttermilk refrigerator biscuits and dip them, one at a time, into the butter and then the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Stand them on end in the bundt pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Unmold right away and serve warm.


If you line everything up, you can get an assembly line going.


There is just enough butter and cinnamon and sugar to cover all the biscuits.



This could also be called “pull apart” or “monkey bread”.


The caramel on top is almost like a candy.


So good.

So easy.

Just like I remember.

Thanks to all of those neighbors for all the great memories!




One Year of Blogging and Food for the Angels

I can’t believe it. I seriously can’t believe it. As of yesterday, I have been doing this blogging thing for one year. You might remember that one year ago, in honor of what would have been my grandma’s 100th birthday, I started Plenty Sweet Life. This is Grandma’s baby picture. She’s being held by her oldest sister and wearing the baptismal gown made for her by her mother. She didn’t actually wear the gown for her own baptism. She had a health problem after birth and wasn’t expected to live, so she was given an emergency baptism, but many of her nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives have worn that gown for their baptisms.

grandma and goldie

You can find my very first post here. It was so scary in the beginning, what do I know about blogging? Oh well, I love to learn and try new things, so I was off and running. I’ve learned so much, I’ve had so much fun, and I seriously, SERIOUSLY, can’t believe that I’ve already been doing this for one year. It’s just FLOWN by! I think the recipe for today is appropriate for both the occasion and how I feel about Grandma. When the name of the recipe is Food for the Angels,  it has to be good.

Food for the Angels

Food for the Angels 2

This card has the “V Good” connotation again, which is also appropriate!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Food for the Angels

25 Ritz crackers, crushed

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 egg whites

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1 cup coconut

Beat egg whites stiffly.

Gradually add sugar.

Fold in crackers, vanilla, and nuts.

Spread in 9″ x 9″ greased pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Cool completely.

Whip cream, add 2 Tablespoons of white sugar, and spread on top of baked layer.

Sprinkle with coconut.

Chill overnight.


Crush the crackers in the usual way.


Gently fold in the other ingredients.


The baked layer is crispy and golden.


This seems too simple to be this good.


It says on the card that this serves 12, but the family agreed that it really only serves 9.


This is as good as it’s name. It’s another very easy, very good recipe that you’ll want to try.

Your interest in these recipes that are so good, so easy, and so traditional is very much appreciated.

I hope you’ve been able to find some old favorites and some new favorites, too!

I’m grateful for each and every one of you readers!

Thank you for reading and making this first year so much fun!







This is another one of those incredibly easy recipes that are just so good. You can’t find an easier recipe than this one for Cake. So funny. Just Cake. There are actually three different recipes on this one card. Yay! More bonus recipes!! Basically, it seems that you can use a white cake mix and any kind or flavor of instant pudding mix to make different varieties of this Cake. Here she uses lemon, coconut cream, or chocolate. Any of these is ok with me!


Cake 2

This is just so incredibly easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Mix together:

1 white cake mix

1 box instant lemon pudding mix

2 eggs

2 cups milk

Put batter into 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

010010 (2)

There is no recommendation for a frosting on this cake, so once the cake was baked, I used Cool Whip (you could also use whipped cream) for frosting. I seem to remember her using something like that back in the day. It’s another way to make this even easier in the heat of the summer.


You could use some toasted coconut sprinkled on top for the coconut cream recipe and some mini chocolate chips or a dusting of cocoa for the chocolate recipe.


For this lemon recipe, I used a thin slice of lemon for a garnish. A bit of lemon juice and/or grated lemon zest would be nice stirred into the Cool Whip, also.


I think berries make everything better. It is the middle of summer, after all, and we all have plenty of berries around.

This recipe makes a very moist yet light cake perfect for summer – or any time of year!


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Chocolate Cake with Coffee Butter Cream Frosting

The recipe for today is another old one that’s written in fountain pen. Grandma got this recipe from one of her sisters. This photo is of these two sisters (Grandma is on the left) and one of their little brothers. Photos back then were so formal and this one is so casual. We don’t always get a peek at the informal part of their lives because photos were mostly for special occasions. It looks like they’re playing with dolls and nobody’s paying attention! They were practicing for the day when they’d have their own families and “dolls” to love and care for. They did a lot of practicing and it paid off. I love this summer time picture of them with their summer dresses and bare feet and their bob haircuts and big hair bows! So cute!

grandma and lajla

At this point they didn’t think about the fact that they’d grow up and share recipes, host family gatherings, and be close to each other their whole lives. Good thing they did a lot of practicing!

Chocolate Cake #2

Chocolate Cake #2b

This has a recipe for frosting at the end but I used a different one from Grandma’s recipe box instead. You get another bonus recipe with this one! There isn’t a baking temperature or time again – we should know this stuff!

Here are the recipes as I made it:

Chocolate Cake

Cream together:

1 1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 cup butter

Add to that:

2 egg yolks


2 squares unsweetened chocolate

Cool a bit and add to creamed mixture.

Sift together:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Add to creamed mixture alternately with 1 cup milk, adding some flour last.

Fold in:

2 beaten egg whites

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put into pans or cupcake papers.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for cupcakes.

A - Coffee Buttercream Frosting

A - Coffee Buttercream Frosting 2

Coffee Butter Cream Frosting

Cream together:

1/2 cup butter

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 cups powdered sugar

Beat in:

1 egg (you can use pasteurized if you’re want to, but I didn’t)

1 Tablespoon instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon milk

Beat until smooth and creamy.

Add only enough milk to make it of spreading consistency.


This makes a very creamy batter.


I made cupcakes instead of a cake and they turned out just great. This made 19 of them.


I used a tip and piping bag to frost the cupcakes. I think it’s faster and easier than doing it with a spreader. She says on the recipe that it makes a big batch of frosting, but I used it all and on the final cupcake, had only enough to do half of it.


This is a great scratch cake recipe. It’s my new favorite. The texture of the cake is great, not too heavy, and the frosting is delicious. I love the flecks of coffee granules you can see in the frosting. You should really try this one. It’ll be one of your favorites, too!







Creamy Lemon Popsicles with Blueberries

Summer can be hot – even in Minnesota – and I’m always looking for a cool treat to beat the heat. Popsicles are always good with their icy, sweet specialness, and how they give you brain freeze. This picture is of my mom and some of her cousins enjoying popsicles in the 1940s (wow – they had popsicles way back then? Ha!). My mom is the one on the right.

cousins and popsicles

These Creamy Lemon Popsicles with Blueberries are my husbands favorite treat! I found this recipe last summer on the Gimme Some Oven blog and I make them all the time. You can find the original recipe here. I added blueberries this time because my husband also loves blueberries and that lemon/blueberry combination sounded just right (actually it’s the same flavor combination as my Blueberry Pie). They were a hit! I’ll be making a lot of these for the rest of the summer. I might even try them with strawberries or raspberries.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Lemon Popsicles with Blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons grated lemon peel

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Whisk together sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, and salt in a large bowl until sugar dissolves. Whisk in buttermilk.

Divide mixture among popsicle molds. Cover, insert sticks, and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 5 days.

You can find popsicle molds here or use paper cups.


I put the blueberries into the molds and then mixed all of the ingredients in a measuring cup with a spout so it’s easier to pour the liquid into the molds.


When putting on the lid and inserting the sticks, I’d recommend getting the sticks as straight up and down and as even as possible. It makes getting the cover off easier. The sticks I used aren’t too uniform in size and some of them don’t fit into the slots. I had to try a few to find 8 the right size.


You can see the flecks of lemon peel and the berries.


This is a cool and icy treat for the summer, with minimal brain freeze.

It all depends on how fast you eat them.





Doris’ Bars

These bars are so good. Period. I love coconut so I have always really liked Doris’ Bars. Bars really are so great for the summer, when you can get them done fast and keep the kitchen heat to a minimum. I think these are named for one of Grandma’s sisters-in-law who unfortunately passed away this week at the age of 95, so I’m honoring her today. She was always a happy person – always smiling and so kind and so nice. She will be missed.

Doris' Bars

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Doris’ Bars

Mix together:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup of white sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with crumbs, pat down, and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Put on top of that:

2 cups coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

1 12 ounce package of chocolate chips

Bake for another 15 minutes or until coconut browns around the edges.


After putting the graham cracker crumb mixture into the pan, I took a fork and patted it down a bit.


You can see the browned coconut around the edges after baking.


Dessert is a great reason to make these bars.


Afternoon coffee is a great reason to make these bars.

You don’t need a reason to make these bars.

Just do it!




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Hollyhock Dolls

I just had to do something a little bit different for the post today. Because of all the rain we’ve had this summer, my hollyhocks are dazzling. They don’t always do so great, but this year they’re just wonderful. When I was looking at them the other day, I remembered that both of my grandmas had them growing in their gardens, too. Hollyhocks are an old-time flower that used to grow along the sides of houses, around the edges of gardens, and even around the outside of barns or other buildings and for some reason, you don’t see them so much anymore. They grow to about six feet tall with beautiful papery blooms that work their way up the stalk. Both of my grandmas taught me how to make these Hollyhock Dolls when I was a very little girl and I’m sure that they made them when they were little, too!


My hollyhocks are growing on the south wall of our house, just outside our front door.


They are so beautiful right now!


I just love their papery blooms.

Here are the dolls as I made them:

Hollyhock Dolls


Pick one full bloom and one spent bloom from your hollyhock stalk. The spent bloom will be the head but you can also use a bud for a smaller head with less hair. Leave a bit of a stem on the full bloom for a neck.


Pull off all of the green leaves from the end of the spent bloom or bud.


Slip the stem of the full bloom into one of the holes near the end of the spent bloom,depending on what you want the eyes to look like.


There she is!!! Just like that – a doll with a beautiful flowing skirt and that face that seems to be looking right at you!

This was always so amazing to me as a child!

Apparently it still is!!! 🙂


They really do look like fairies in their full skirt and pulled back hair. This is another great memory of my grandmas for me. I taught it to my kids and I hope that they’ll teach their kids. Either that or their kids will just have to come to me and I will teach them! You need to find a kid or grandkid and rediscover one of these simple joys that doesn’t involve technology. They’ll love it and so will you!

Did you learn how to make these dolls when you were little?

I’d love to hear your memories of making these little fairies!





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