Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Bean Salad

Bean Salad is one of those recipes that Grandma neglected to finish. At least I think she did. I’m sure when she jotted this one down, it was just for her – to be able to remember it herself – never thinking that maybe someone else would want to know how to make it someday. The way this one is worded makes me think she knew just what to do with this. She just wrote down the basics and that was it, but I’ll elaborate on that as we go along. This is another one of her weird recipes that seems incomplete, but ends up totally delicious. I haven’t really seen too many recipes for beans used in this way, but I did post a 3 Bean Salad,  in the first year of the blog. This sounds like it would be tasty with either a large Sunday dinner, or the cold meat and cheese dinner she would serve once in a while. Let’s try this Bean Salad and see how it goes.

This really is a tasty salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bean Salad

Boil in 2 bullion cubes (I used chicken bullion since she doesn’t say what kind – also don’t know what she meant by “etc”):

Beans (There is no quantity here – I used about 1 1/2 pounds of frozen beans from our garden.)

It says to add onions, so I added 1 chopped onion to the beans while they were boiling. (I told you this was a bit of a strange one.)

Next it says to use a mayonnaise dressing plus mustard. I used the mayonnaise dressing that I always use on Cabbage Salad, but added a Tablespoon of regular yellow mustard.

That’s it. I know. Weird. But tasty. Seriously.

Boil the beans with 2 bullion cubes – ok . . . ?

Add onions – ok . . .?

Mayonnaise dressing plus mustard – ok . . . ?

That’s it. Funny – it sure is keeping with Grandma’s theme of really easy to make and really good to eat.

I’m not sure if this is what it’s supposed to be or look like, but it’s the best I can do. Sometimes I wish I could just ask – is this right?

I guess the answer is – it’s good! It’s crazy, but right or wrong, this is a delicious and very different way to use green beans. It’s great for any time of year, but especially now that our gardens are plentiful with fresh green beans. This salad is the prefect side dish with pretty much any main dish. So there you go. Bean Salad – I say it’s close enough!





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Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Even though I’m calling these Barbecues or Sloppy Joes, we didn’t ever call them sloppy joes. They were always barbecues to us growing up. I wonder if that’s a regional thing. Hmm. My mom has made these for us for as long as I can remember, and she always made them when she visited my sister and her family because my nephew loves these. When my sister first moved to Virginia, my mom would bring her chicken gumbo soup cans in her carry on because she couldn’t get that soup out there. Once, after 9/11 when we weren’t able to bring liquids on the plane anymore, she forgot she couldn’t bring them on the plane and she was stopped. When she told the security guy what it was, he let her bring the soup cans! I guess she must have told him that her daughter was craving a taste of home and he felt sorry for her and let it go! This is especially tasty with my mom’s homemade Buns. This recipe is a bit unusual with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it’s really good. I know you’re going to love this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Barbecues or Sloppy Joes

Brown in a skillet:

3 pounds ground beef

1 onion, chopped

1 green pepper, finely chopped (optional)

Drain, if necessary.


2 cans Chicken Gumbo Soup

3 cups ketchup

Simmer 20 minutes or put into crock pot on low for 6 hours.

Serve on buns.

You can cut down this recipe if 3 pounds of ground beef is too much, but it also freezes well, so you might as well make the whole recipe and keep some for another time. I usually cook the chopped onion and peppers (if I use it) at the same time as I brown the beef.

Then all you do is add the ketchup and chicken gumbo soup and let it simmer. The reason I put the optional chopped green pepper in the recipe is that sometimes I feel like the chicken gumbo soup doesn’t have the flavor it used to have.

That’s it! It’s really pretty quick and easy. You can use store-bought (gasp – like I did here) buns, but like I said above, these are particularly delicious with buns made from my mom’s recipe for homemade Buns. I put this in the crockpot a lot (after browning the beef), for when we’re busy working on the weekend and want to have dinner ready whenever we are.

This is a bit of an odd recipe with the chicken gumbo soup in it, but it is absolutely delicious. I made this and put it in the crockpot recently, when my oldest daughter moved to her new condo. It’s perfect for that kind of day, and has been a staple at all the moving days in our lives. People can eat when they’re hungry and get on with the moving. Try this delicious recipe for Barbecues or Sloppy Joe’s on your family and it will become a staple for you, too!

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Pineapple Bars

Yesterday would have been Grandma’s 104th birthday, and today’s recipe for Pineapple Bars is totally something she would have liked – it’s one of the easiest recipes yet. Because it was her birthday, I’m sharing this photo of her. I love this one so much – I love her haircut, I love her shift dress, and I love her shoes! This must have been taken sometime during the 1920’s, and it looks like a lovely spring or summer day.

Maybe this was a special occasion, I don’t know, but this is just such a sweet picture of her.

Today’s recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, and I think this was mis-labeled because there is no lemon in this recipe. Therefore, I’m renamed this one Pineapple Bars.

These bars are ridiculously easy and ridiculously good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pineapple Bars

Beat slightly:

2 eggs


2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 can (20 ounces) crushed pineapple, with juice

Mix until combined.

Put into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.



4 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup powdered sugar


Before and after baking, you can see the pineapple in there – these bars are loaded!

It doesn’t seem to be enough frosting, but it’s a nice thin layer – just right.

You can still see the pieces of pineapple in the bars – it keeps them very moist and delicious.

This may be one of the easiest recipes I’ve made on this blog. All you do is mix all the ingredients, bake, and enjoy these tasty little treats loaded full of pineapple nuggets. They do get thick, and seemed more like a cake than bars, but how bad can that be? Try these Pineapple Bars – I know Grandma would have loved them, and I know your friends and family will love them, too!






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Sugar Cookies #2

I’ve made several kinds of sugar cookies for Plenty Sweet Life, and these Sugar Cookies #2 are just one more in the long line of them. You can find the recipes here for Sugar Cookies, Brown Sugar Cookies, White Cookies, Orange Sugar Cookies, Rolled Butter Cookies That Never Stick, No-Roll Sugar Cookies, and Aunt Julie’s Summer Cookies. This list includes both the cut-out kind of sugar cookies and the kind that start by being rolled in a ball. Let me just say that I think you should try them ALL! All of them are really good and melt in your mouth. This is another recipe from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house. I’m so glad we found that book – it has been full of really good recipes.

These cookies hold their shape well.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies #2

Cream together:

1 cup shortening – part butter (I used all butter)

1 1/2 cup sugar

Add in order:

2 eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Roll out on floured surface and cut out shapes with cookie cutter.

Sprinkle with colored sugar or bake plain and frost with icing.

Bake at 425 degrees for 5-9 minutes.

It’s a little hard to see here, but the dough was very soft. It didn’t say in the recipe to put it in the refrigerator to chill, but I did wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in there. Actually, full disclosure, I was interrupted and had to leave the dough in there for a few days. It seemed just fine.

I usually have to roll out cookies on my kitchen table, which inevitably ends up with flour getting through the crack in the middle of the table and ending up on the floor. Oh well, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!

These cookies hold their shape very well when cut. On this batch, I used sanding sugar because they weren’t necessarily for a holiday – just for fun.

Grandma never liked her cookies to get too brown, but I happen to like the flavor of them just a little brown on the edges.

This is a really good recipe. The cookies are not really soft, they’re more like a sweet cracker – firm instead of soft. I may try this recipe at Christmastime when I make my cut-outs. These Sugar Cookies #2 are delicious – you’re going to love them!






Buffalo Chicken Dip

My sister and her family stayed with us for Christmas last year, and she and her husband made this Buffalo Chicken Dip for us. Wow – it’s delicious! This is so easy to pull together, it’s perfect for your guests at the cabin, or to bring with you to share if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a cabin. Regardless, this is one recipe you’re going to want in your arsenal of snack weapons. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious – have I forgotten anything? I think not.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Mix together:

8 ounces cream cheese

8 ounces blue cheese dressing (I used ranch)

8 ounces of hot sauce (I used Frank’s)

1 cup shredded cheddar

Fold in:

3-4 cups shredded, cooked chicken

Put into 8″ x 8″baking dish.

Top with:

1 more cup shredded cheddar

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Serve with chips or carrots, celery, or cucumber slices.

The ingredients are easy to transport or have on hand.

Just mix everything together and add the chicken last.

Into the baking dish and on goes the shredded cheese.

30 minutes in the oven and here is the glorious result – all cheesy, spicy goodness!

This would be so great to have at the cabin or to take with you when you go to someone’s cabin. It’s an unusual snack that everyone will appreciate.

Maybe even serve it at your next book club? Or Super Bowl party? Or family get-together? The possibilities are endless.

It’s delicious. There’s just no way around it. You just HAVE to make it for someone – especially your friends and family who like their snacks a little spicy! They’ll be glad you decided to try this Buffalo Chicken Dip.








Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar

Today I’m sharing another comfort food and because it doesn’t have an actual name, I’m calling it Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar. People, this is total comfort food for our entire family. I don’t know if it was a Swedish thing, or if it was a farm thing, or if it was just economical, but Grandma would make this a lot in the summer (AND other times of the year). I’m sure it was because it didn’t heat up the kitchen too much – they didn’t have AC on the farm – and it could get hot in that little house. She made this for my mom and uncle when they were growing up, and that makes me want to share this photo of them in the summertime when they were kids. I love this one – it looks like they’re sitting on a hay bale in the middle of a field!

This is so great – an unusually casual photo – I love it!

The smell of this cooking is enough to make me burst into tears. Both Grandma and my mom have made this my whole life, and it’s like getting a big, snuggly hug.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar

Bring to a boil:

2 cups milk, plus 2 more cups to add later (I used 2% milk)

1 cup white rice (I used long grain because that’s what I had on hand)

pinch of salt

Cover and simmer 10-15 minutes or until milk is absorbed.


1 more cup milk

Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or until milk is absorbed.


1 more cup milk

Cover and simmer another 10 minutes or until milk is absorbed and rice is tender and creamy.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

I’m sure that Grandma used whole milk to make this, maybe even half-n-half. You can go ahead and be that decadent if you want to, but I went with 2% milk. This is so simple and so good. Put the rice, milk, and salt in a pan. Put on the lid and bring it to a boil.

Let it simmer, but don’t let it do this! It was going well and looked like it was simmering nicely. I swear – I left the room for 2 minutes! Don’t leave the room – that’s the only way to prevent this from happening. When it starts to boil up, lift the lid a bit so it won’t boil over. I have to admit that I have NEVER been able to make this without it boiling over and scorching. The difference may be that Grandma and Mom never had a gas stove. I have a gas stove. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

It stuck to the bottom of the pan, too. There is a bit of elbow grease involved to get this all cleaned up, but honestly, it’s worth it. I don’t care about the clean up, it’s just that good and comforting.

Finally – it’s ready to be adorned with the cinnamon and sugar.

Oh my goodness. It sure seems like this is a Swedish thing. There is just something about the aroma of warm milk and rice that just brings me back to the farm.

Yes – it’s comfort food all the way. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar and there you go. I hope you try this big, snuggly hug from home – Creamy Rice with Cinnamon and Sugar.




Spray inside of crockpot with cooking spray.

Put all ingredients in crock pot:

3/4 cup white rice

3 cups milk

3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 Tablespoons butter

Cook on high for 2-3 hours.

I used a small crockpot and went 2 1/2 hours.






3 Smoothie Bowls to Get Your Morning Started

I decided to try the newest craze all over the internet – smoothie bowls – so here are 3 Smoothie Bowls to Get Your Morning Started. You can find smoothie recipes galore online, and there is every kind imaginable. The possibilities are absolutely endless. Put in some fruit, a sweetener (if you want to), a liquid of some sort, maybe a protein, and top them with all kinds of tasty toppings: dried fruit, nuts, seeds. I tried 3 different kinds, put them into bowls, and topped them with all kinds of goodies to get your morning started right and get you ready for a brand new day. You don’t have to put them into a bowl, you can put the smoothie into a glass, but then you can’t have the pretty toppings on it. I suppose you could mix the toppings right into it if you wanted it in a glass – that’s up to you. The directions for each smoothie – blend all the ingredients together, put the smoothie into a bowl, and top with the toppings.

Here are the recipes as I made them:

3 Smoothie  Bowls to Get Your Morning Started

Chocolate/Banana/Peanut Butter –


1 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup ice cubes, if needed

2 Tablespoons peanut butter

1 Tablespoon cocoa powder

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Toppings: granola, mini chocolate chips, coconut, chopped peanuts

Strawberry/Banana/Peanut Butter –


1 frozen banana

1 1/2 cups frozen strawberries

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 Tablespoon peanut butter

1 Tablespoon honey

ice cubes, if needed

Toppings: sliced banana, sliced strawberry, raspberries, granola, chia seeds

Mango/Pineapple/Banana –


1 cup frozen mango

1 cup frozen pineapple

1/2 frozen banana

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 Tablespoon honey

ice cubes, if needed

Toppings: granola, raspberries, sliced banana, coconut, chia seeds

All 3 of these are so healthy, so pretty, and so delicious! What a great way to start your morning! Get creative. Try some of your own ideas – the sky’s the limit! In the meantime, try one of these 3 Smoothie Bowls to Get Your Morning Started.





Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!

My husband and I, along with our oldest daughter, took the long way home from our nephew’s high school graduation in Virginia in May. We headed north to Massachusetts to visit the town where we think one of my ancestors settled a town with a group of 35 families from England in 1638. We were only there for 3 days before heading back to Minnesota, but wow – did we pack a lot into those 3 days! On our last full day, we visited the Concord, Massachusetts area, and this was one of the places we saw. This is the Old North Bridge where the “shot heard ’round the world” happened.

Here is the road that the British soldiers were marching on towards Concord. They had to cross the bridge, but the American Militia were waiting on the other side.

This is the view from the Old North Bridge where the first shots against the British in the beginning of the Revolutionary War took place.

This is the hill where the American Militia were waiting.

I’m grateful to the Minute Men who showed their bravery and gained our independence.

It was really quite moving to be able to see where it all started.

Thank you so much for stopping by – I appreciate each and every one of you!

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