Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

10 Minute German Sweet Chocolate Cream Pie

Today I’m continuing with the theme of easy, cool treats for hot summer days. This pie is so easy and so good, you have to give it a try! Because it says “Baker’s Sweet Chocolate” on the card, Grandma may have gotten this from the box of Baker’s Chocolate or something. This is an easy one that you’ll love to have in your recipe file.

10 Minute German Sweet Chocolate Cream Pie

10 Minute German Sweet Chocolate Cream Pie 2

It wouldn’t be a bad idea to just keep one of these pies in your freezer for unexpected guests.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

10 Minute German Sweet Chocolate Cream Pie

You’ll need an 8″ graham cracker crust. You could buy one ready-made or find a recipe here.

1 package (4 oz.) Baker’s German Sweet Chocolate OR 4.4 oz. Hershey Milk Chocolate Bar

1/3 cup milk

2 Tablespoons white sugar

1 package (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened

3 1/2 cups or 1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

Heat chocolate and 2 Tablespoons of the milk in a pan over low heat, stirring until chocolate is melted (I used the microwave).

Beat sugar with cream cheese.

Add remaining milk and chocolate mixture and beat until smooth.

Fold in Cool Whip and blend until smooth.

Spoon into crust.

Freeze until firm, about 4 hours.


This is such an easy crust recipe. It’s my go-to every time.


The filling really does whip together in minutes.


It’s so pretty!


I had the pie in the freezer for exactly 4 hours. I would leave it in a bit longer.


Let it sit 5 minutes or so to thaw just a bit before cutting. Grandma suggested adding almonds to the pie, so I added some toasted almonds to the top along with some chocolate drizzle and whipped cream.


So good, so creamy, so impressive for your guests!

This one is a must try!

Remember – there is no try, only do!



Frozen Green Beans

Between our gardens and the farmer’s markets popping up everywhere right now, we need to do something with the abundance of green beans available to us. I don’t always have a lot of extra beans in our garden (we eat them all), but I try to freeze a few bags so we can have them in the middle of winter. This is really easy to do and great for preserving this local and plentiful vegetable.

There is no recipe card for this so I’ll just write it out.

Here is the recipe as I made them:

Frozen Green Beans

Pick and wash green beans.

Cut off ends and cut to desired length.

Blanch in boiling water 2-3 minutes.

Put beans into ice water bath and let cool a few minutes.

Drain and put into freezer bags.

Label with contents and date.



Not everyone likes to cut both ends off of the beans. I do like to cut them off, but that’s the beauty of doing it yourself. You can do it any way you want to.


Blanching and then the ice water bath really doesn’t take very long and you know what’s in there! Nothing but beans!


I try to make the bags as flat as possible so they fit into the freezer better. I read somewhere that it’s a good idea to use a plastic basket in your freezer to hold all of those freezer bags full of frozen goodies. That made a lot of sense to me, so I tried it. It’s easier to see them, sort them, and get at them for thawing. It alleviates the problem of the bags sliding and falling out of the freezer and onto the floor every time you need to find something. There was one small issue – the freezer bags are taller than the basket so I can’t stack another basket on top and there’s a lot of wasted space above the basket of frozen vegetables. I’m still working on this issue so I can achieve maximum storage! These beans will be another taste of summer for the middle of winter. Go out and get some of these plentiful vegetables now while they’re so bountiful and local and fresh!!! This really is a pretty easy way to preserve them for later use.




Peach Jam

I just had to share this picture that I found in an old photo album recently, of Grandma and two of her sisters from 1929. Grandma is the girl in the light-colored coat and her two sisters are on either side of her.

Peach Jam

It looks like they were enjoying a day “in town”! Grandma is holding some books, so maybe she is on her way to school. She lived with family friends during the week so she could go to high school in town. Their farm was about 5 miles out, so I’m sure it was quite a ride to make twice a day every day back then.

Now for today’s recipe. It’s the time of summer for peaches! Yay! I love peaches. Yesterday, my daughters helped me make Peach Jam. We’ve made a couple of kinds of jam and they’re really getting into it!

Peach Jam

One of my daughters renamed this recipe “Beach Jam” since it has a more tropical feel than peach.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Peach Jam

Grind together (I used a food processor):

3 pounds of peaches

1 20 ounce can of crushed pineapple with juice

1/2 jar of maraschino cherries (even though she had crossed it out and added it at the end, I only used half and put them in all together and it came out fine)

2 oranges, cut in chunks, peel and all (the peel has the pectin to make it thick)

Mix together in a large pot:


3 pounds white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

Boil for 30 minutes.

Put into jars.

Seal with a hot water bath for 10 minutes. I do have a canner, but when doing smaller jars, I use my stockpot with a silicone trivet in the bottom to hold the jars off of the bottom of the pot. For a hot water bath: Fill pot with enough water to cover jars 1″ when they’re all in there. Boil the water, then put the jars in and start the timing.



I processed the fruit individually – there wasn’t room for all of it at the same time.


I weighed out the peaches on my food scale. I could only fit a pound at a time in the bowl.


It looks a bit soupy until the end of the cooking. I considered adding some gel pectin I had until it started to thicken at the end.


Using a funnel helps in the jarring process.


With all of the canning and jamming I’ve been doing, I had to scramble a bit for jars. These are all shapes and sizes.


The jars are so pretty and also great for gift giving.


This Peach Jam is a bit different. It’s not just peaches, so it does taste a bit more like fruit cocktail jam. That’s why my daughter renamed it Beach Jam. So tropical and so tasty!




Pineapple Mallow

Today’s recipe is another great frozen dessert that’s just right for these hot summer days. The card is written in fountain pen so it’s another old one. It’s interesting to see what they used back then. Eventually they used Jello and Cool Whip, but this recipe calls for marshmallows and whipped cream.

Pineapple Mallow

You can never have too much pineapple . . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pineapple Mallow

32 large marshmallows (it says 2 packages, but I think packages are different now – I didn’t even use 1 package when I counted out the 32)

2 Tablespoons pineapple juice

1 cup crushed pineapple (I drained it)

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup cream, whipped

Heat marshmallows and pineapple juice over low flame (or low heat), turning over and over.

Beat until smooth.


Add pineapple and lemon juice.

Fold in whipped cream.


It didn’t say what size pan to freeze it in, so I used a 9″ x 9″ pan.


Melting the marshmallows with the juice went really fast.


I put the melted marshmallows into the frig for a few minutes to cool it down quicker. I didn’t want to melt the whipped cream.


This dessert has a lot of pineapple throughout.


It says on the card that it serves 6, but I think you could get 9 servings from it.


It’s another frozen dessert chock full of pineapple. So good and so cool. Check it out.



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Vegetable Salad

This recipe is one of the original recipes that helped make the decision to start this blog. When my daughter and I were originally looking through Grandma’s recipes, we saw this one and just laughed. Lemon Jello AND vegetables? That seemed really weird. We decided then and there that we HAD to try ALL of these recipes – even the weird ones – and EVERYONE had to try all of them! I don’t doubt that this Vegetable Salad recipe comes from the 50’s or maybe even the 60’s when there were a lot of these unusual Jello salads going around. This recipe comes from Grandma’s oldest sister. This photo is of this sister and their aunt (their mother’s youngest sister).


It’s a bit blurry, but I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!! This was taken around 1910 or so. I love the little brothers in the background and the chicken in the foreground. They just seem to be so very much enjoying this lovely summer day together. This is one of those pictures that shows a less formal shot than the usual very formal and dressed up ones.

Vegetable Salad

Bear with me here, this one is a little strange.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Vegetable Salad

Dissolve 1 small package of lemon Jello in 1 1/2 cups boiling water.

Add 1 Tablespoon vinegar and let stand until quite firm (I put it in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes).

Whip the Jello.

Fold in:

1/2 cup Miracle Whip

1 cup diced celery

1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

1/2 cup sliced stuffed olives

1 teaspoon minced onions

025 (2)

Whipping the Jello makes it fluffy in a weird sort of way.


I had to put it in a ring mold – just like the 50’s.


I sprayed it lightly with cooking spray, dipped it in warm water, flipped it upside down on the plate, and it plopped right out of the mold.


I think the cheese and Miracle Whip are really more strange than the vegetables and olives. Oh let’s face it – it’s all strange.

025 (3)

Surprisingly, it was pretty good. The sweet of the Jello makes an interesting contrast to the salty olives and cheese. We all tried it, but I don’t think we’ll try it again. If you want something a little bit different for a cool summer salad, give this a try. It’ll take you right back to the 50’s.


Frozen Corn

Grandma and Grandpa grew enough sweet corn on their farm to satisfy the whole family during the growing season and beyond. I can’t imagine how many cobs of corn we ate back then. All I know is that we put a good dent into the harvest of that field of sweet corn each year. We froze as much of that wonderful sweet corn as we possibly could for the winter. There are different ways to freeze it: whole and on the cob, plain and cut off of the cob, and there are recipes to freeze it ready to heat up with seasonings. There’s nothing better in the middle of winter than to cook up some Frozen Corn that came right from your own field. It tastes like it came right off of the cob! You get a little bite of summer all winter long.

Frozen Corn

Note that this recipe has the “V Good” connotation again! There is another recipe for freezing corn on the back of this card, but I will revisit that next year!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Frozen Corn

2 quarts corn cut off the cob

1 pint water

2 Tablespoons white sugar

2 Tablespoons butter

1 Tablespoon salt

Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

Cool and bag.


I thought I’d have enough to freeze some plain corn, which I use for chili and salsa, so I blanched the cobs for 3 minutes first and then put them in ice water to cool down. (When I freeze it plain, I just cut it off the cob and put it into the freezer bags. Simple.) I had 13 cobs and it was just enough for this recipe. I’ll have to do the plain corn another time.


Next I cut the kernels off of the cob.


I love how the kernels of corn come off in their little rows.


The added ingredients make a nice little sauce to freeze the corn in.


I use zip top freezer bags to store the corn. Make sure to write the date on the bag so if some bags get buried in your freezer, you can tell how old it is. Enjoy a little bite of summer next winter and freeze some of that wonderful sweet corn that’s so abundant right now. You won’t be sorry you did!




Glazed Peach Pie

We made this Peach Pie every August growing up, as far back as I can remember. This one didn’t come from Grandma, although I know she made it. I found the recipe in that old church cookbook my mom gave to me. There wasn’t a date on it but most of the recipes marked in there were first tried in the 60’s. We’d get a whole “crate” of peaches every year and we would eat peaches ’til we couldn’t eat anymore. They were so big and fuzzy and juicy – and man oh man, the smell of them!! Sometimes we would can sauce, sometimes we would freeze slices, and sometimes we would make pie. It’s probably a good thing we didn’t grow peaches in our yard. None of them would have made it to fruition.

Glazed Peach Pie

Glazed Peach Pie 2

This is one of my all-time favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it

Glazed Peach Pie

4 cups sliced peaches

1/2 cup water

1 cup white sugar

3 Tablespoons cornstarch

1 Tablespoon butter

1. Crush enough peaches to make 1 cup, leaving the rest sliced.

2. Combine crushed peaches with water, sugar, and cornstarch, mixing sugar and cornstarch together first (this eliminates the lumps of cornstarch that can occur).

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Cook over low heat until clear, 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

5. Add butter. Cool.

6. Line baked pie shell with fresh peach slices (I used a graham cracker crust – find a recipe here).

7. Pour glaze mixture over peach slices, making sure all are covered.

8. Chill at least 2 hours.


I like using a graham cracker crust instead of a flour based crust whenever I can. I just like it better.


The glaze really makes this pie so good!


This one is pretty straightforward.


There’s really not much to say. You’ll love this recipe. Again – so good and so easy.

Wow –  I love this pie.



Chocolate Sheet Cake

When I first saw this recipe, I thought it was a big regular sheet cake, not one made in a jelly roll pan. It wasn’t until I read through the whole recipe that I realized what size it was talking about. I found this Chocolate Sheet Cake recipe in ALL of the recipe files I have from EVERYONE! So, I thought, it must be good. The original name on it was one of Grandma’s sisters. I love this summer photo of Grandma and a sister and a cousin (Grandma is on the right).

Chocolate Sheet Cake]

It looks like they’re picking either strawberries or blueberries. I love the berry baskets they’re holding. I bought some like that (without a handle) in the 80s to stencil on and I remember Grandma telling me that they had those when she was young and how they used those when they picked berries. I’d like to think that they picked their berries and then came inside for a big piece of this Chocolate Sheet Cake. It’s possible. This one is totally from scratch and could have been around since then.

Chocolatle Sheet Cake

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chocolate Sheet Cake

1.) Bring to a boil: 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup oil, 1 cup water

2.) Mix together: 2 cups white sugar, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup cocoa

3.) Pour #2 over #1.


2 beaten eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Put in greased jelly roll pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.



1/2 cup butter

1/3 cup buttermilk

Pour over 1 pound (1/2 bag – I don’t think it comes in a box anymore) powdered sugar, 1/4 cup cocoa, 1 cup chopped walnuts.


1 teaspoon vanilla.

Frost cake while hot.


I had all the ingredients lined up for this one.


The batter just fits into the jelly roll pan.


The ingredients were all lined up for the frosting, too.


It was hard to move the walnuts around on the cake once the frosting is poured on. My husband’s suggestion – just add more walnuts next time!


This recipe makes a very moist cake.


It’s another one that’s so easy and takes very little time to make. Give this a try next time you have a potluck, work event, or family gathering to go to. Everyone will be glad you did!







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Cookies on Waffle Iron

I am really making some unusual recipes this summer. Cookies on Waffle Iron seem a little strange. These sound so funny and I really didn’t know how they would turn out.  Sometimes you just have to go for it and then you’re pleasantly surprised at how it goes. I just followed the instructions, did what it said to do, and held my breath. What was going to happen? Would they puff up like regular waffles and expand to fill the whole iron? I opened up the waffle maker, saw that they look just like a regular sized cookie, and just started laughing. They are so cute and turned out just great.

Cookies on Waffle Iron

Cookies on Waffle Iron 2

I only got 2 dozen cookies from this recipe. I do have boys in the house and they like big cookies. I’m sure I could have made them smaller.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cookies on Waffle Iron

Melt together:

2 squares chocolate

1/2 cup butter

Beat in:

2 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease electric waffle iron well.

Drop batter from Tablespoon measuring spoon in each quarter of waffle iron.

Bake 1 minute or a little less (mine cooked in about 1 minute).

Take off of iron with a fork.

Cool before frosting.

There is a frosting recipe on the back of the card. For some reason, I didn’t turn the card over so I didn’t see that. I used a glaze of powdered sugar and milk and that worked just fine.


This is my mom and dad’s original waffle iron, still hanging in there!


They just turned out so cute. They’re just so funny!


I think the powdered sugar and milk glaze made the perfect topping for these cookies, but you can try the frosting recipe that was on the back of the card.


These are just perfect with a big glass of milk – that’s what the boys in the house said. EVERYONE liked these!


This is a very unusual recipe that is so easy and so good and is another one that won’t heat up your house this summer.

If you try the frosting recipe that was on the back of the card, let me know how it turned out!





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Watermelon Pickles

Ok. Today we’re in for something a little bit different. I have never made or even tasted Watermelon Pickles. They’ve always intrigued me, but it’s not something that we ever made in our family. Since it was in Grandma’s recipe file, I decided to give it a try. I really don’t know if she ever made these. The instructions are a little vague for someone who’s never even seen this kind of pickle, so I had to do a bit of a search online and I’ll try to explain things a little better as we go along.

Watermelon Pickles

Watermelon Pickles 2

Ok – here we go. . .

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Watermelon Pickles

Slice the watermelon into slices about 1 inch thick.

Cut the pink flesh off of the slice.

Cut the dark green outer rind off of the white part of the rind.

Cut rind into 1 inch cubes and soak overnight in the refrigerator in a brine of 1/4 cup salt to 1 quart water.

Cover pieces (I used a small plate upside down on top of the pieces in the pot to hold them underwater).

Drain cubes and rinse.

Cover with cold water and cook until tender.


Cook 10 minutes:

4 cups white sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

2 cups water

2 inches of cinnamon stick, 1 Tablespoon whole cloves, and 1 sliced lemon tied in a piece of cheese cloth.

Remove spice bag after cooking this syrup for 10 minutes and add rind cubes to pot.

Simmer until cubes are translucent, about 1 hour.

I got 3 1/2 pints out of this and decided to put them in the refrigerator instead of sealing the jars in a hot water bath, but you can do whichever you prefer.


The juicy watermelon and the rind cubes are so pretty.


The cubes change color a bit after cooking.


Adding the spices and vinegar change the color even more.


The jars are pretty enough for gift giving, too!


The finished pickles look like little jewels. The taste is definitely not what I expected. They don’t really taste like a pickle and they don’t really taste like watermelon. Like my daughter said, “they taste like Christmas!” Now I wish I had sealed them in the canner so we could keep them for Christmas. Oh well, there’s more watermelon rind to come this summer! Try these unusual pickles. You’ll be hooked!



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