Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Apple Dessert #2

I have several recipes like this Apple Dessert #2. Remember in my post for Can’t Wait Apple Cake, where I was telling you that when Grandma and her sisters (and brothers) were growing up, they probably had an apple tree in their yard, and that’s maybe why they shared so many apple recipes (even if they didn’t have a tree in their yard, they must have known people who did have one)? Well, this one comes from one of Grandma’s older sisters, but must have originally come from their youngest sister because her name’s on it. I tell ya, those sisters had their own recipe swap – and I’m so glad they did! The recipe for today is a lot like what we made when I was growing up that we called apple crisp. The first recipe I made for the blog was named Apple Dessert is what we DID make and call apple crisp. Then I found one of Grandma’s recipes actually named Apple Crisp, and it wasn’t what we’d been making all those years. Now I found this Apple Dessert #2, and it’s another totally different one. Oh well, whatever it’s called – it’s amazingly delicious whether you use apples off of a tree in your yard, or use apples bought at a store.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Dessert #2

Mix together in a 7″ x 11″ pan:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cups oatmeal

1 cup flour

Pat in bottom of pan, saving 1 heaping cup out for topping.

Mix together:

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add to:

4 cups apples, cored and sliced (peeled, if desired)

Put on top of bottom crust.

Top with extra crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

I like to get all the dry ingredients together before slicing the apples – that way the apples don’t get too brown before baking.

It seems like it’s hard to get all of the crust spread out into the bottom of the pan, but I sprinkled it in with my fingers and then pressed it down with the back of my knuckles, and that worked great. Don’t forget to save the heaping cup of crumbs for the topping.

Mix together the apples and the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Can you ever have too much cinnamon, really? I think not.

On goes the rest of the crumbs and into the oven with this beauty.

Oh wow – that smell of apples and cinnamon while this is baking . . . heavenly!

Apple season doesn’t last long enough for me. I love apples, and this is another very easy, very quick, very delicious dessert to make any time of the year, not just apple season. Apple Dessert, Apple Crisp, or Apple Dessert #2 – no matter what you call it – you need to make it!


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Spiced Mocha Mix

Today’s recipe for Spiced Mocha Mix is great to use for gift giving, bring as a hostess gift, or send to your favorite college kid. It involves instant coffee, but I make it with decaf so I can enjoy it in the late afternoon or evening. If you make both, you can enjoy the caffeine buzz in the morning and then mellow out with it later in the day. I have more beverage recipes on the blog that you and/or your college student might enjoy: Hot Chocolate Mix, Instant Cappuccino Coffee, Viennese Coffee, Russian Tea, or even Pumpkin Spice Creamer. All of these beverage mixes are perfect for gift giving, hostess gifts, or shipping in college care packages, and they can all be made with either caffeine or decaffeinated (except the ones which don’t involve coffee right in the mix). I’m always on the lookout for something warm and decaffeinated to snuggle up with on the couch while wrapped in my coziest blanket and binge watching my latest History Channel obsession, and this is another delicious warm drink that’s perfect for that situation. And by something warm, I mean some-THING, like a warm drink, not some-ONE, geez, people. Anyooo – anyone would enjoy this mix as a gift, especially college students – who we all know basically live on coffee during those sleep-deprived years. I got these drink recipes years ago, and they all came on a single page of recipes. That page doesn’t exist anymore, and I don’t remember where it came from, so I’ll just write it out here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Spiced Mocha Mix

Place in a large bowl:

1 cup powdered non-dairy creamer

1 cup hot cocoa mix

2/3 cup dry instant coffee

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix well.

Store in a tightly covered container.

Start with using 1 heaping Tablespoon of mix in 1 cup boiling water.

Adjust to taste.

There aren’t a lot of ingredients in this drink mix, but it sure is tasty.

Just throw them all into a bowl and mix them up!

The recipe says to use 1 heaping Tablespoon for 1 cup boiling water. I used 2 heaping Tablespoons for this large Rae Dunn cup, and it was too much. There was a lot left in the bottom of the cup at the end.

You can tweak the amount to add to your boiling water according to how you like it.

This makes almost a full quart jar of mix, so it is quite a big batch. Like I said above, this would be such a perfect hostess gift or college student gift – everyone who is a coffee drinker will enjoy this tasty cup. Now get out your most snuggly blanket, fire up your favorite tv show, and settle down for a comfy, cozy evening with this warm and delicious Spiced Mocha Mix.

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Can’t Wait Apple Cake

Today’s recipe for Can’t Wait Apple Cake comes from one of Grandma’s sisters. It’s from the older sister in this photo from 1925, in fact. Of course, that means Grandma was the younger sister here with their mother and one of their brothers. These sisters had the same birthday two years apart, and were close their whole lives. They shared a lot of love AND recipes.

I love their dresses (and their brother’s clothes) in this photo! Grandma used to tell me that their mother sewed ALL of their clothes back then. Just think of the hand-me-downs they all enjoyed! I’m sure they had apple trees back then, too (or someone they knew did), and that must be why they collected a lot of delicious apple recipes. They had to do something with all those (what are basically free) apples.

Since it’s apple time, it’s time to bring out some of those apple recipes, and this one is so easy and so good – you’re going to want to make it. I’m tellin’ ya. I bet you can’t WAIT to make it. Or eat it. Ha!

This cake is SO good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Can’t Wait Apple Cake


4 cups apples, diced (I used small apples so I just sliced them)

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 cups sugar

2 eggs, well beaten

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Add dry ingredients to the batter.

Stir in:

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

Pour batter into greased 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

All you have to do is mix up the wet and dry ingredients, and there you go.

Going into the oven, the batter is a light color.

Coming out of the oven, the batter has turned a caramel color, and you know what that means – flavor.

Instead of a frosting, I used powdered sugar as a topping for this cake. The cake is so delicious, it really doesn’t need anything more (although I won’t deny that some people in this family have an obsession/need to cover everything in that canned whipped topping and/or ice cream, and both were amazing on this cake).

So easy. So good. So pretty. This simple cake is one of my new favorites ( yes – another one). It is absolutely delicious and ridiculously easy to do. Call some people over – people you would like to share recipes with – and serve them this delicious cake. Call me – I’ll come over! I love to share recipes with people! Yay! I just can’t wait – can you? You’ll just love this Can’t Wait Apple Cake!



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Ginger Cookies #4

Ginger Cookies #4? Yes! That’s how many different recipes for Ginger Cookies I have on the blog! You can check them all out: Ginger Cookies, Ginger Cookies #2, and Ginger Cookies #3. We liked ginger cookies in our family, in fact we liked cookies of any kind. My dad was a huge outdoors guy and a hunter, and every fall he needed food and snacks to go out hunting. We would make cookies, bars, cakes, sandwiches, snacks, and anything else we could think of to send with him so he wouldn’t be hungry. You can’t be distracted by a growling stomach when you’re hunting! That just wouldn’t be right – you might scare the away the ducks or geese or deer or whatever you’re hunting for that particular weekend. You need plenty of food with you to keep you fueled up and ready to hunt. If he stayed overnight, say for deer hunting with a couple of good friends, there were always pictures of the food they made. Is that a dude thing? Is it because they just didn’t cook enough at home back then? I don’t know, but I always thought that was so funny. We’d be ready to look at the hunting photos and there would be a nice picture of their breakfast cooking away on the camp stove, perfectly arranged bacon and eggs with a nice pot of steaming hot coffee alongside (so we knew they could, indeed, do it). Ah – the smell of bacon, eggs, and coffee in the outdoor air. Maybe that’s why they took the pics of the food – it’s not only a great visual, it’s a great memory of those delicious breakfasts spent in the outdoors with friends, enjoying the breakfast, nature’s beautiful fall leaves and scenery, and each other’s company. Ok. I get it now.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Ginger Cookies

Mix in order given:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

6 Tablespoons molasses

3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

Roll in balls and press out with a spoon dipped in water.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

I really don’t understand this “press out with a spoon dipped in water” thing, so I decided to try a few different options. When you make peanut butter cookies, you use a fork and criss cross the marks on the cookie, so I tried that. Next I seriously tried the spoon dipped in water. For the third try, I rolled the ball of dough and rolled it in sugar like I always do when I make Gingersnaps.

Here’s what happened after baking. I went with the usual – roll the dough into a ball and then roll the ball in sugar. I like that. It looks more traditional.

I used my trusty scoop to make these balls.

See how pretty?!!!

Like most spice cookies, these were better the next day. There’s something about those spices melding and letting the flavor go all the way through that dough. It’s HARD, I know, but just wait a day – they really are better! It might be fun to have a taste test and try all of the Ginger Cookies that I’ve shared on the blog, but especially try these Ginger Cookies #4 – they’re delicious!


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Coffee Cake #3

This recipe for Coffee Cake #3 comes from my mom, who has made this coffee cake for as long as I can remember. Today I’m sharing this photo that goes back almost as long as I can remember, and I can remember a long way back. I love everything about this photo – the vintage stereo and tv and chair in the background (yes – they would have been very vintage), the braided rug on the living room floor, my headband, and the fact that I look like I’m really concentrating on reading the comics in that newspaper.

The date on the photo is June of 1964, so I was only 3 years old here, but I probably was reading it – I remember sitting in my other grandma’s kitchen and my dad having me read the sports page of the paper waaaaay before I went to school. Anyway, this Coffee Cake is delicious and I can’t wait to show you how to make it!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coffee Cake

Mix all together:

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup white sugar

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 eggs

Put half of batter in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Put on top of batter:

1 can of pie filling (I used cherry, but apple would be really good this time of year)

Put rest of batter on top of that.


1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or more to taste)

Sprinkle on top of all.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.


1 cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

Drizzle on top of cooled coffee cake.

It doesn’t seem like a lot of batter, but don’t grease the pan and spread it carefully – it will cover.

We always made this Coffee Cake with cherry pie filling, but I bet apple would be delicious.

I use a spoon to put on the top half of the batter. Next, on goes the cinnamon and sugar.

Cinnamon and sugar? Sure – but now we really need to add to that. Top it all with a powdered sugar glaze, just for good measure. Did I mention that this recipe is “plenty sweet”?

Oh wow. The smell of this Coffee Cake baking is absolutely divine. I totally like it better than Coffee Cake or Coffee Cake #2. It might be the cherry.

I don’t know – I think you are really going to love this Coffee Cake, too. Just you wait and see. I don’t know about having this as a coffee cake for breakfast, but I’m all for having it for afternoon coffee. Invite some friends or family over this weekend and make some memories – they just might decide that this Coffee Cake #3 is one of their favorites, too!



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Sour Cream Drop Cookies

Today’s recipe for Sour Cream Drop Cookies comes from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks, and you know how I feel about those cookbooks. I love them. You KNOW those recipes are all great. They’re the best of the best. This recipe has two check marks on it, so I don’t know if that means she had tried it already, or if it was checked so she’d remember to try it one day. I don’t care. It’s another good one – perfect for an after-school snack or afternoon coffee.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sour Cream Drop Cookies

Cream until fluffy:

1/2 cup soft butter

1 cup brown sugar


1 egg

Beat well.


1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup sour cream (I used light sour cream – you know, to make them healthier – ha!)

Sift together:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Stir into the first mixture.


1 cup uncooked rolled oats

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

1/2 cup raisins

Drop onto baking sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

See? These cookies are so good for you! Look at all the healthy goodies that are in them!

The recipe says it makes 2 1/2 dozen. This has to be a first – I got more than the recipe says. I used my trusty scoop and got 3 dozen plus 1 cookie.

The cookies are tender and delicious. Did I mention that they’re good for you? With all the healthy goodies inside? Maybe I did.

I know I said that they’re perfect for an after-school snack or afternoon coffee, but did I mention that they’re healthy? I think I did.

Now, because these cookies are so chock full of oats and nuts and raisins, I think we can clearly conclude that they are, indeed, good for you. Really. How can they not be? Look at all the healthy ingredients! They’re soft and tender and a really great cookie. Not to mention delicious. And healthy. Ok, ok, I’ll let it go. But try these Sour Cream Drop Cookies and see if you don’t agree that they’re a pretty healthy cookie!

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Zucchini Bread

This recipe for Zucchini Bread is very close to a recipe for Zucchini Bread that was in Grandma’s old church cookbook, so you know it’s good. A friend of my mom’s gave her this recipe years ago, and I’m so glad she did. We made Zucchini Bread when I was growing up, and that original recipe has been lost, so I’m glad mom was able to get this one. Remember last week when I shared how to freeze zucchini? Well, this is another thing to do with it this winter when you have bags of zucchini in the freezer, waiting to be used in baked treats for your friends and family.

We have a history of farming and gardening in our family. I had to share this photo of my mom when she was little – and she was in someone’s garden. I’m not sure what’s in that bushel basket, but it looks like they might have picked carrots. She’s quite the little farmer with her straw hat hanging down her back and the overalls she’s wearing. I’m not sure who’s farm it is, but it does look like she was on a farm, somewhere.

I hope she (and that young farmer accompanying her) filled that bushel basket! So cute!

Gardening was a necessity for Grandma and her family, and all families who survived The Great Depression in the 1930’s, but it’s not only fun, it’s economical! Grow your own veggies AND save money! Yep – gotta love that! It’s important to save every last speck of fruit and vegetable you grow, and preserve it for a later date, oh, say winter here in Minnesota, when nothing grows and you want/need some fresh or locally grown produce preferably from your own garden. So when you end up with a huge zeppelin of a zucchini hiding underneath the leaves of the zucchini plant in your garden, you don’t want to waste it. Squeal with glee (not that I know anything about that or anything), pick said zeppelin, heft it into the kitchen (cuz that sucker’s heavy), shred it, freeze it, and next winter turn it into delicious baked treats for your friends and family.

Another plus – this recipe makes 3 loaves!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Zucchini Bread

Cream together:

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 cup oil


2-3 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups zucchini squash, shredded

Mix in:

3 cups flour

3-4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

1 cup nuts (I used walnuts)

1 cup chocolate chips (the recipe in the old church cookbook says to add 1 cup raisins – I added golden raisins instead of chocolate chips here)

Pour batter into 3 greased and floured loaf pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

Note: Pumpkin can be substituted for zucchini.

I made two regular sized loaves and 3 small loaves perfect for gift-giving.

Oh boy – did this smell good while baking! The recipe says that pumpkin can be used instead of zucchini – I’ll have to try that, too!

Just. Can’t. Wait.

This bread is so delicious! Seriously. It’s perfect for breakfast, for an after-school snack, or for your afternoon coffee or tea. It’s full of fruit (or chocolate), nuts, and zucchini – and I mean it’s LOADED! Make a batch of this seriously delicious Zucchini Bread – eat a loaf, put a loaf in the freezer for later, and, well, maybe just eat two loaves.



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My 10 Favorite Ways to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables

Today I’m sharing – in one place – My 10 Favorite Ways to Preserve Fruits and Vegetables. After already “putting up” rhubarb, jalapeno peppers, peaches, and zucchini for the blog this year, I thought I’d share a list with some of my other favorites. It’s that time of year – our gardens are overflowing, and we’re in the throes of preservation. As I’ve said before, it’s so much fun to enjoy a bit of summer sunshine in the middle of a cold, snowy Minnesota winter. Here are some of my favorite things to can and freeze.




Marinara Sauce


Peach Jam


Frozen Green Beans


Frozen Corn


Hot Bath Tomatoes


Frozen Cole Slaw


Turmeric Pickles


Uncooked Jam


Grandma’s Tomato Soup




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