Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

S’mores Snack Mix

You see some version of this snack mix all over the internet this summer, and when our daughters both moved to new apartments, I had to try this and make it for the “movers”. They all loved it, and I think that means it’s a keeper!! Some of these S’mores Snack Mix recipes seem to be geared more toward kids, but I wanted to find one that was geared more toward older “kids”. I found this particular recipe on and you can find the original recipe there. I did have to make a few changes, but this still turned out just great.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

S’mores Snack Mix

I box of Teddy Grahams (Believe it or not, my store was TOTALLY out of these and I had to use a pouch of the mini ones!! Everyone must be making this mix! And I know, I still used Teddy Grahams instead of some other type of graham cracker. The “movers” are all still kids to me.)

1 bag of Hershey’s Chocolate Drops

1 bag of mini marshmallows

(I know I’m using more than the original recipe, but we had a lot of “movers” to feed. Plus, I don’t like having odds and ends of bags lying around, so I tend to use the whole bag when making stuff like this.)

1 can of salted pecans (I also didn’t find any of these, so I used roasted, salted almonds.)

Mix all together and hide until you want to use it!


Just mix it all up in a bowl. Done.


These kind of treats are ridiculously easy to make, and why not? Keep that metabolism up – have a snack!


The “movers” had a lot of energy because of this snack!


This would also be a great snack for road trips or camping. My only suggestion (after making it and eating it) is to add the graham crackers just before eating because they did get just a bit softer after being in the bag with the marshmallows. When you don’t happen to have a campfire handy to make the real kind of s’mores, this might just be the next best thing! Go ahead and try it – aren’t we ALL still kids at heart?







Lettuce, Peas, and Cheese Salad

This recipe for Lettuce, Peas, and Cheese Salad comes from my other grandma. We had this a lot when we went to Grandma and Gramp’s house for dinner. I’m sure because not only is it tasty, it’s a pretty economical salad, and she would try to keep the costs to a minimum. I think this is another recipe that comes from the time of the Great Depression. Most of the time when we’d go for dinner, it was also along with my aunt and uncle and 4 cousins who also lived in the area, so there were probably 10-12 people there. They had a tiny little dining room, and she always used her best china and glassware. We’d sit around the table, eating and telling stories of when Grandma and Gramp lived on the many farms they rented (they never owned their own), of when my dad and his brother and sister were young, of friends and family they grew up with, of the crazy-sounding experiences they had. This photo of my dad as a kid reminds me of those stories we heard. I love that this shows his gun and his dog.


I’m sure some of those stories were about him and his hunting and outdoors escapades. That look on his face tells me there were a lot of stories about him raising heck. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of love in those dinner conversations. Of course there isn’t, again, an actual recipe card for this salad, so I’ll just type it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lettuce, Peas, and Cheese Salad

1/2 head of iceberg lettuce

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup cheese, diced (I used Velveeta like Grandma did, but you could use cheddar)

1 cup frozen peas

1 teaspoon pepper (I didn’t add any salt since Velveeta is pretty salty)

Mix thoroughly.

I have seen other things put into this salad like chopped bacon, chopped celery, or chopped green onion. You can certainly add more veggies if you want to.


I know, iceberg lettuce isn’t my usual cup of tea, but that’s what Grandma used!


There isn’t really a “dressing”, so it takes a bit of stirring to mix in the plain mayonnaise.


It doesn’t look like much, but it is tasty!


This is so easy and goes with any main dish.


If there is a summer comfort food, this is it. It reminds me of those dinners at Grandma and Gramp’s little yellow house on the north side of town, and the memories of those great stories.



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Uncooked Jam

Remember those beautiful local strawberries I told you about in my post Freezing Berries? I used some of them to make this recipe. Uncooked Jam always seems easier than cooked jam. I needed to find a way to use up the rest of those little summer jewels. I haven’t tried yet, but it would be fun to try all kinds of berries for this jam. Grandma and her sisters had a lot of recipes for canning all kinds of end of the summer harvest, and that would have really heated up the kitchen. I’m sure this one was a way to make jam without turning up the heat. As long as they had room in their “icebox”, this recipe would have worked well for preserving all kids of beautiful summer berries.

Uncooked Jam

You can never have too many kinds of jam to get you through the long, dark Minnesota winter!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Uncooked Jam


1 1/4 cups berries, sliced or crushed (I used double this amount of berries AND crushing them worked best)

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 cups sugar

Let stand 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally to help dissolve the sugar.


1/2 package powdered pectin

7 Tablespoons water

Cook, bringing to a full boil.

Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

(I skipped this part by using a package of liquid pectin, however, it didn’t firm up. It stayed fairly runny, so we’ll be using the “jam” as a syrup for pancakes or over ice cream.)

Slowly stir hot pectin into mixture of berries.

Stir for several minutes.

Pour into sterilized jelly glasses or jars.

Cover with lids.

Store in refrigerator.


Oh my gosh – how beautiful! I hated to cut them up!


It is a lot of sugar, but it IS jam.


When all the ingredients are combined, it made a lot of liquid even when I doubled the amount of berries(but it may be more runny because I used the liquid pectin).


I got about 3 1/2 pints out of this recipe.


So pretty.


This is the tastiest jam ever. It has to be because of the local berries. Even though this particular batch got a bit runnier than I wanted, we’ll still make great use of it for syrup and ice cream topping. Give this a try – it’s a great way to keep those beautiful summer berries just a little bit longer!




Dessert #4

Yesterday would have been Grandma’s 102nd birthday, and the recipe for today seems like such a “grandma” recipe, that I have to do this one now. This Dessert #4 (because of the number of “Dessert” recipes) is just so typical of the desserts that Grandma and her farm wife friends made. It has pudding, cream cheese, and Cool Whip in the ingredient list. There you go. Easy, fast, and delicious.


Dessert 2

You’ll note that this one – again – has the “V Good” connotation!

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Mix for the crust:

1/2 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 cup flour

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Pat out into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes.


Mix for first layer:

8 ounce cream cheese, at room temperature

9 ounce container Cool Whip (You can use whatever type of Cool Whip you prefer)

Spread over crust.

Mix for second layer:

1 Butterscotch Instant Pudding

1 Vanilla Instant Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk

Spread over top of cream cheese/Cool Whip layer.

Top layer:

9 ounce container of Cool Whip (yes – another one!)

Spread over top of all layers.


Toast 1 cup coconut and sprinkle over top.



You can pat out the crust like nutty play-doh. When it bakes, it puffs up a little bit.


Next spread on the cream cheese/Cool Whip layer. Then the pudding layer goes on.


Add another layer of plain Cool Whip. The sprinkle of toasted coconut is the crowing touch.


The layers of this dessert are so pretty!


So easy! So fast! So good! You can even make this one a day or two in advance! This is the perfect dessert for any occasion! Love it!





Happy Birthday, Grandma!

Today would have been Grandma’s 102nd birthday! She loved birthdays and birthday parties. As my mom said earlier today, “she would have had such fun!”

Happy Birthday, Grandma 2015

She loved to have fun, as you can see by this summertime photo. This photograph is one taken with one of her sisters (left), a cousin, herself, and one of her brothers. I love, love, love the swim dresses (with pants)!!! They look like they’re having a blast!

Happy Birthday, Grandma!



Freezing Berries

I have a thing for berries. Fresh berries. Fresh LOCAL berries. I love to eat them, I love to smell them, I love to look at them, I love to freeze them and save them to use in the middle of winter when we need a little shot of summer sunshine. I do this every year, and it’s great because you can buy local, you know what you’re getting with your berries (i.e. no sugar), and it saves money. Sometimes buying local berries isn’t cheaper, but I don’t really care. It’s so worth it to get berries that actually taste like the berry they’re purporting to be. Now is the time to buy your local berries and freeze them for use next winter.

Grandma and Grandpa had a black raspberry bush that grew by their machine shed on the farm, and gave beautiful tiny deep purple, sweet, juicy berries every summer. I would help pick them, trying to avoid getting the scratches that would inevitably wrap around my wrists because I couldn’t go slow and be careful – I had to hurry so I could get them in my mouth!!! Even with the scratches, it was so fun to pick those berries and then get to EAT them! Those berries were so good on ice cream.

My daughter and I were on the deck at my mom’s place on the afternoon of the 4th of July when one of her neighbors walked by and asked, “Are you raspberry people?” We vigorously indicated that we were indeed. She said, “I have more raspberries than I can eat – feel free to go up and pick some.” We thanked her profusely, and my mom and I immediately went up and picked! Excuse the not so-great-cell phone photos here, but I didn’t have my good camera with me and I HAD to take pictures of this neighbor’s BEAUTIFUL berries!!!


They look like little jewels hanging from the lush, green bushes – and these bushes were LOADED!


We so enjoyed having the berries on ice cream that night, that I totally forgot to take photos of them ON the ice cream! We also enjoyed them on our cereal the next morning, and my daughter picked a few more to take home with her before we left.


We didn’t take any raspberries to freeze, and left the rest of the berries for my mom to enjoy. They were stunningly gorgeous berries. So beautiful.


The next week, I was able to find a farm nearby (actually about 45 minutes away) where you can pick your own strawberries. Unfortunately, they weren’t allowing you to pick-your-own anymore, but they would pick them for you!! I immediately ordered a 6 quart flat and my husband and I picked them up the next day, took them home, and prepared them for freezing.


The farm is called Lorences Berry Farm and I would HIGHLY recommend them! They have asparagus in the spring, strawberries in July, and raspberries in August and September. I can’t wait to go back in August and try their raspberries, too (plus get enough to put in the freezer).


I mean, come on!!! These berries are so beautiful, so sweet, so red, so tasty, so strawberry-y!!!!! I take off the green tops, wash them, and lay them out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Into the freezer they go! I usually let them freeze overnight so they’re good and solid.


Once they’re frozen solid, just take them off of the baking sheet and put them into freezer bags in whatever quantity you want or need. I don’t use them for anything special so I just fill the bags nearly full and measure them out later. Freezing them in a single layer allows you to pack them up and keep them in the freezer without them turning into a frozen brick of berries. You can then just take out as many as you need to use at any one time. They don’t come out as firm as they were when they went in, but they can be used for smoothies, pie, jams, pancake topping, the list goes on and on!


I store them in zip top freezer bags, but you could also use freezer containers (BPA free, of course). In June I try to get some blueberries in the freezer, too, when they’re in season and less expensive. Any kind of berry can be frozen using this technique. I don’t know if Grandma ever got to freeze any of those black raspberries to have the next winter. They were probably all eaten in the summer. You HAVE to go out and get some local berries. You seriously won’t believe how good they are (and good for you)!



Lemon Squares

We’ve had some really hot days here in Minnesota this week – hot and humid!! These are the days when I really miss living on the lake. We had no air conditioning in our house on the lake – we didn’t need it. We’d just be in the water all day – EVERY DAY!!!  This photo of me (when I was about 3 years old) and my mom was taken before we moved to the lake. It must have been when we rented a lake cabin one summer. Like my mom says, “we were always at the lake anyway, so we decided to just buy a house on the lake!” Makes perfect sense to me!!!


This is so funny! It looks like we were either trying to stay ON the air mattress or that we were falling OFF of it!

The recipe for today is another one from one of Grandma’s sisters. This looks like another old one, because this recipe card looks like it’s been around for a while. Lemon Squares is one of my newest favorites. These bars are so good. There’s just something about lemon recipes in the summertime. Lemon is so fresh and tangy and, well – lemony!!!

Lemon Squares

Lemon Squares 2

I love that this one is totally made from scratch!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Squares

Make the filling first so it has time to cool slightly before you put it on the crust.

Mix together:

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

2 Tablespoons water

Cook until it thickens.

Cool slightly (while making crust).

For crust:

Mix as for pie crust:

1/2 cup butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 cups flour

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

20 saltine crackers, crushed

1/2 cup shredded coconut

Keep out 3/4 cup of crumbs for topping.

Press the rest of the crumbs into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Spread filling over top of crust and sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of crumbs over top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


I tried mixing the crust with my pastry blender but opted for using my hands instead.


The crust stays firmly pressed into pan and there isn’t a lot of filling, but it does cover the whole crust.


It comes out of the oven smelling like a definite “Grandma recipe”!


They aren’t very thick bars, but the flavor is VERY fresh and lemony.


This is another of my new favorite recipes! These are great: sweet and lemony and very easy to make. Perfect for summer!





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6 Hour Buns

I have shared my mom’s famous recipe for Buns on the blog, but today I’m sharing another recipe that Grandma had in her file for 6 Hour Buns. These have mashed potatoes in them! Retro Oddity? Not really. Mashed potatoes make bread very moist and tender. This looks like another old recipe. You’ll notice that there is no quantity for the amount of flour to use, and no time or temp to use to bake them!! Ugh!! Grandma – come on!!! Yeah, yeah, we’re just supposed to know this stuff!

6 Hour Buns

These buns are really good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

6 Hour Buns

Mix together:

3 cups scalded milk

1 cup mashed potatoes



1 cake compressed yeast (I used one regular package of yeast)

1 cup sugar

Let rise 2 hours.


1/2 cup melted lard (yes – I used lard that was left from pie crust!)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

5-6 cups flour (I used 2 cups of whole wheat flour and the rest regular all-purpose flour)

A little water may also be used (I didn’t need to add any water).

Let rise 2 hours.

Form into buns.

Let rise 2 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes for larger sandwich or burger buns, 15-20 for smaller ones. This made 16 larger burger-sized buns.


Make sure you mash the potatoes well. I ended up with some lumps of potato showing.


It doesn’t seem like anything will happen, but that first 2 hour rise really does make a difference.


It’s hard to know how much flour to add, but 5-6 cups is what I came up with.


The second rise really makes the dough expand. The dough was sticky so make sure you use extra flour when forming the buns. I put the ball of dough in my left palm and use my right thumb and forefinger to bring the dough up from the outside to the middle of the dough ball until the ball is smooth on the palm side. Or just roll the ball in your palm until it’s smooth.


After the second rise, it’s finally time to bake them!! I made these big enough for burgers or sandwiches, with an egg wash and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. I tried poppy seeds on a few, but I liked the sesame seeds better.


They’re beautiful!!! I LOVE the poppy seeds!!


When the buns are cut open, you can see how great the texture is.


This particular bun was slated for a turkey sandwich. These compare pretty well with the buns my mom is famous for making. They’re delicious. I think a burger would work very well on these buns. You should try to make your own buns. You’ll be hooked!!!





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Rhubarb Crunch

I know, I know. I thought I was done with the rhubarb. But I went out to my rhubarb plants, scrounged around, and came up with just enough to make this Rhubarb Crunch recipe. Actually, I still didn’t have enough rhubarb – I was about 1/4 cup short. I decided to go for it anyway and try this. Wow – am I glad I did! This recipe is great, and it’s officially one of my new favorites. I have found that sometimes Grandma put two or three recipes onto one card, and I almost missed this one – it’s at the bottom of a card that has another recipe on the top of the card. Reading through it, it was a bit confusing, so I did look online to see if there were other recipes kind of like this. I did find one for Rhubarb Crisp that was similar, so I was glad when I found it, read it, and was able to figure out exactly how to put this one together.

Rhubarb Crunch

I’ll be making this one year after year!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crunch

Mix together in a bowl:

3 cups rhubarb, chopped

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

Spread out in bottom of greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Mix for topping:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup oatmeal

1 1/2 cup flour

1 cup butter (she has 1/2 cup of 2 different things, but I just used butter)

Mix with hands until crumbly.

Put on top of rhubarb in pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.


I decided to try smaller containers instead of one big pan. That way I would be able to share with people other than family members! It seemed to make a lot of topping when not using a big pan, but it was just enough for the 5 smaller containers I made.


I gave these smaller containers 30 minutes and they came out of the oven golden and bubbly.


I think it’s almost a requirement that you eat this warm. That way if you want to top it with a small scoop of Home Made Ice Cream, it will get melty and be extra delicious. You could also top it with whipped cream, which would also get melty and be extra delicious.


It was a good thing that I made these in individual containers. That stopped me from eating half the pan. Oh my – this is good.


You can see the oats and bits of rhubarb, so you know it’s gonna be good. This recipe is VERY highly recommended by me. Try it. But remember – you’ve been warned! Oh yeah – and that thing about making these in smaller containers to share with people other than family – not gonna happen. These babies didn’t last the night. The family saw to that.






Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, everyone!



Have a great weekend and thanks for reading

Plenty Sweet Life!


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