Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Chive Blossom Vinegar and French Potato Salad

Today I’m sharing recipes for Chive Blossom Vinegar and French Potato Salad. I made this Chive Blossom Vinegar with the TON of chive blossoms that grew this spring on the HUGE chive plant in my garden. I’ve always known that you can use the blossoms for salads, but I knew there had to be something else I could do with them. They’re just so pretty! Funny story about chive blossoms – I put this tiny chive plant in my garden one year, and was so excited to be able to use both the chives and the chive blossoms, that I could hardly wait. My husband was going to be helpful one spring day, and weed the garden for me. I had been keeping an eye on the first of our chive blossoms, waiting with baited breath for them to finally open and we’d finally be able to use them as a pretty addition to our dinner salad, when Mr. Helpful Weeder picked them all off and threw them into the compost bag! He thought they were something that shouldn’t be on there, since they kind of look like a weird formation on the top of the chives (before they bloom they’re just a little ball on top of the chive green), and had decided (without asking me first) to just get rid of them! Believe me, he has NOT lived that one down, and never will. Every spring he asks everyone he knows if they know that you can use those blossoms on a salad. Ha. Lesson learned. If you don’t know – ask!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chive Blossom Vinegar

Since there really isn’t a recipe, so I’m just going to show you the photos and explain them as we go.

I planted a chive plant in my garden several years ago, and it has turned into a chive shrub. The plant is HUGE, but oh so pretty! I had to find something (besides putting them on a salad) to do with those beautiful blossoms. An online search turned up something easy to do (it is the Nothing But Easy Summer, after all) that is also absolutely delicious – Chive Blossom Vinegar!

Chive blossoms are so pretty, I may just show a bunch of photos of them – just because. Ok – better not. On to the how-to:

First I picked enough chive blossoms to fill a quart canning jar 2/3 of the way to the top. I gave them a rinse in a bowl of water to get rid of any little beasties that might be hiding in those glorious purple blossoms, and then I dried them on a towel.

Next I put the blossoms into a clean, dry jar with a lid. Some instructions I saw said to use a piece of parchment paper between the glass and the lid so the metal doesn’t touch the vinegar. I used a canning jar so the lid didn’t have metal on the top, and it seemed ok with no funny taste.

I used white vinegar to make this first batch, but I supposed any clear vinegar would work like champagne or white wine vinegar. Fill the jar almost to the top. Then let it sit in a cool, dark place anywhere from a few days to a week – it’s done when it tastes good to you. I had mine steeping for 2 weeks because we went on vacation.

The blossoms aren’t so pretty after they’ve been steeping in the vinegar for awhile. I used a spoon to remove the blossoms from the jar.

Next I put a coffee filter into a strainer and strained the vinegar into a large measuring cup (for easier pouring back into the jar later).

Look at how pretty pink the vinegar is after straining it! I washed out my original canning jar and poured the strained vinegar right back into it for storage.

What a perfect hostess gift! Put it into a pretty bottle and this beautiful pink chivy (and somewhat oniony) flavored vinegar is perfect to share. It would be great on a French Potato Salad, a vinaigrette, or over roasted vegetables.

I decided to try it on a French Potato Salad and see just how delicious this beautiful pink vinegar is.

For the French Potato Salad I boiled 6 small potatoes (cut in quarters), added about 1/4 cup of the vinegar, 1/4 cup of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and some of the chopped chives from my garden.

Um – yes. It made a simple, yet delicious potato salad that was absolutely amazing. Now I know what to do with the chive blossoms every spring (as long as I get to them before Mr. Helpful Weeder):

  1. Put them on salads.
  2. Make them into a delicious Herbed Cheese (recipe to come soon).
  3. Make Chive Blossom Vinegar – every year!

Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie

We’re sticking with our “Nothing But Easy Summer” theme again today with Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie. On top of that  – we’re giving it a patriotic twist by topping this delicious pie with berries. This pie is SO easy and SO good! It fits right in with what we’re trying to do this summer – take it EASY! You could top this pie with berries, as I did here, or try some Chocolate Sauce! This photo is of a little girl who loves chocolate. Who knew she would grow up to love chocolate SO much?!!! This is my mom being held by her grandmother, and it looks like she’s a pretty new baby. Maybe just a couple of weeks old.

So precious – I love the way her grandmother is looking at her with that mixture of love and pride that all grandmothers have for all of their grandchildren. She was the first grandchild in this particular family. Who knows – maybe this grandmother is who she got her love of chocolate from!

Well, for this particular pie, I used berries to top it. We’re getting pretty close to 4th of July, and the more we can use those patriotic colors, the better! You can’t get much easier than berries on top!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie

Microwave until soft (15-20 seconds):

8 ounces cream cheese

Mix with electric mixer until real smooth:

Softened cream cheese

1/3 cup sugar

Stir in with a spoon:

8 ounces Cool Whip

Pour into:

Keebler Shortbread Cookie Pie Crust (yes – store-bought)

Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.

Top with berries or chocolate sauce.

It’s reidiculous how good this pie is with basically 3 ingredients (not counting the berries).

Mixing the cream cheese and sugar together makes it easier to stir in the Cool Whip.

Mix it all thoroughly and then spread the mixture into the pie crust. Yes – it’s store-bought (gasp!), but you can go ahead and make your own graham cracker crust if you want to. I’m just keeping this as easy as possible.

Next, the pie goes into the refrigerator – the card says 3 hours or overnight, so I left it in overnight.

There is nothing easier and more delicious than sweet, seasonal berries, and they just happen to be perfect for the 4th of July. But you know what’s also easy and delicious? Chocolate Sauce. Either way is gonna be great!

This pie will be a regular in my arsenal. So easy, so good, so pretty. Who knew that keeping things easy could be so delicious?!! I’m really starting to enjoy this “Nothing But Easy Summer” thing. It’s just so good, in so many ways! It’s good because it’s easy to do. It’s good because these recipes have all been delicious. It’s good because it gets you outside enjoying the summer before it’s over and gone. It’s all good! Try Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie and get out and enjoy your summer!




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S’mores Bars

Everybody loves s’mores, and while I have made The Easiest S’mores Pie Ever and S’mores Snack Mix, the recipe for S’mores Bars today is a ridiculously easy one that I came up with one Sunday for a family lunch. As I’ve said almost every post so far this summer, this is the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, and I refuse to be in the house any longer than absolutely necessary. You’re going to love this recipe, too, for how easy and how yummy these bars are. I recommend you bake them just before you serve them for maximum melty gooeyness.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

S’mores Bars

Mix up:

1 recipe of cookie dough (pan bar version) from the back of a bag of your favorite chocolate chips – just don’t add the chocolate chips yet! I would think you could also use any of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough recipes.

Spread cookie dough in 9″ x 13″ jelly roll pan.

Instead of mixing the chocolate chips into the dough (I used about half of a bag of chocolate chips), I sprinkled them on top of the dough.

Next I sprinkled on about half of a bag of mini marshmallows.

Bake according to the directions for the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips.

The chocolate chips get melty and the marshmallows turn crusty brown on top and gooey on the inside.

I only suggested baking these right before serving because of the deliciousness of the warm cookie, melty chocolate, and gooey marshmallow. However, I brought these to a Sunday lunch at my daughter’s place, and we had a picnic outside. After the bars sat in the sun while we ate lunch, they were just as warm, melty, and gooey as they were right out of the oven! I just covered them with a piece of foil to transport, left it on while the bars sat in the sun, and enjoyed them after lunch. These S’mores Bars are so easy and so delicious – you’ll want to keep them in mind for your next picnic!



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Peachy Lemonade

Today’s recipe for Peachy Lemonade comes from my mom. She probably got it from one of her friends, and I’m so glad. So glad. It’s a ridiculously easy recipe to make (for my “Nothing But Easy Summer”), and it’s ridiculously delicious. Everybody had a lemonade stand when they were kids, right? I think I tried it once or twice – once when my other grandma was babysitting me and then once at the lake (there wasn’t a lot of traffic out there). This lemonade with fruit would have brought big bucks if we had known about this back in the day. It might have put us through college! You get to add other tasty ingredients to already refreshing lemonade, and I can see totally changing this and using other fruits and juices to make your own amazing recipes. Just keeping lemonade as the base, you could add: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemon slices, lime slices, orange slices, mango slices, apricot slices. You could change the lemonade to any kind of fruit juice and do the same. This seems like it could be a VERY versatile recipe. You could even stick with seasonal fruit and change it up all year long! Add a bottle of white wine and make it a sangria – if you’re into that sort of thing – or even add vodka or rum. Now we’re talkin’ fruity!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Peachy Lemonade

Make 2 quarts of Lemonade – either from scratch or from a mix (I used a mix – this is the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, remember?).



2 cans (5 1/2 oz. each) peach or apricot nectar (it doesn’t say if you’re supposed to use frozen nectar, but I found some soda can sized cans in the Mexican food section of my grocery store)

Refrigerate and chill.

Just before serving, add 1 cup frozen peach slices.

Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

Since we weren’t having company, I made just a half batch. This is how easy this lemonade is to make – I used a lemonade mix, a can of mango nectar (soda can size – that’s just what I happened to have in my cupboard), and a package of frozen peaches that I froze myself that came right out of my freezer. So I had the flavors of lemon, mango, peach, AND orange here (the peaches were frozen in orange juice).

That’s it! Done!

Fill the glass with ice and pour yourself a refreshing glass of Peachy Lemonade.

I picked a sprig of mint growing in the pot on my deck – to make it mint scented and pretty – and there you go! SO pretty!

Oh. Em. Gee. This is so good and so ridiculously easy to do. It’s perfect for this summer – keep it easy, keep it good, keep it fun. This one’s a keeper! You HAVE TO try this Peachy Lemonade and let me know what other kinds of fruit you try in it!


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Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day to all you dads and granddads out there!

You guys mean a lot to us.

This guy meant a lot to me, and I miss him.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!



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10 Delicious Desserts for Dad!

Today we’re talking about 10 Delicious Desserts for Dad. Sunday is Father’s Day, and what better way to show dad how much you love him than to make him a delicious dessert? I shared 10 Delicious Treats to Make for Mom, so we have to give dad equal time! Go ahead and show dad some love on his special day! Make him one of these delicious desserts!

Chocolate Cake with Coffee Butter Cream Frosting


Blueberry Pie


Dessert #4


Cherry Chocolate Cake


Churro Cupcakes


Rhubarb Pie #2


Miracle Whip Cake with Chocolate Chip Glaze


Strawberry Pie


Baked Alaska


Cherry Pie with Pie Pastry



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BBQ Ribs

This recipe for BBQ Ribs comes from my brother-in-law, and these ribs just happen to be one of my family’s favorite foods. Period. He made these for us once when we were visiting he and my sister and their son out in Virginia, and there’s been no looking back. My son and my husband happen to love these ribs, so I decided I’d share this recipe just in time for Father’s Day. If you want something that will be perfect for dad’s day, this is it! Just make sure you have plenty of ribs (I can get 4-6 racks on my baking sheets and in the oven at one time). These ribs will go fast! It’s supposed to be my “Nothing But Easy Summer”, but these ribs ARE easy to do. There are a few steps, but they’re easy steps, and it’s so worth it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

BBQ Ribs

Put whatever dry rub you want on your ribs (I used the recipe below), then cook uncovered in the oven for about 3 hours or until meat can be flaked with a fork (I use ribs – I guess they’d be called baby back ribs – from my grocery store, and they’re smaller than the ribs my brother-in-law gets, so I cooked these for only about 2 hours). You want to cook them until almost done, as they will be finished on the grill.

Let ribs cool, then place in zip top bag (I use a clean, unscented garbage bag so it’s big enough for the ribs, and leave the ribs right on the baking sheets I baked them on) with whatever sauce you want – you could buy your favorite BBQ sauce, try my brother-in-law’s sauce (a store-bought hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce, 1/2 cup brown sugar, and 1/4 cup hot sauce), or try my recipe for BBQ Sauce. I used my recipe for this batch. Shake the bag so the ribs are covered with sauce (I just brushed the sauce on), then place in refrigerator overnight.

Finish ribs on the grill over low or indirect heat.

Ribs are done when they can be cut easily or broken apart with hands.

Caribbean Jerk Rub

(I think I found this rub recipe online, but I don’t know where – sorry)

2 Tablespoons dried, minced onion

1 Tablespoon garlic powder

4 teaspoons crushed dry thyme leaves

2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

You can use whatever jerk seasoning you want, but I made my own. It’s so easy and tastes so much better.

Before you put on the rub, you should do this one important step first. This is an important step!!! There is a thin “silver” layer or membrane on the back side of the ribs that needs to come off. Take the point of a knife to get it started and then pull it off. Sometimes I use a paper towel to get a better grip on this silver skin. It’s tough, and sometimes takes a bit of work, but it’s worth it. The ribs will be tougher if you don’t get this off, and the flavor of the rub won’t permeate like it should.

Next, on goes the seasoning and then into the oven to bake.

Oh my gosh. Try not to lose your mind while these are baking. Wow.

Let them cool and then brush on the BBQ Sauce, making sure to cover every bit of the ribs.

Once the sauce is on, I put the whole pan, along with the ribs, into a clean unscented garbage bag. My brother-in-law uses the huge size zip-top bags, but I’m too cheap to use those. Put the whole thing into the refrigerator until you’re ready to grill them.

They just need to be warmed through when grilling, since they’ve already been baked.

The grilling makes the sauce caramelize and get sticky and smoky and amazingly delicious! Make sure you make plenty of these ribs, because they’ll go fast! I just throw a roll of paper towels in the middle of the table and let everyone go at it! I serve them with Potato Salad and Calico Beans and you’re in heaven! BBQ Ribs are everyone’s favorite, and you are gonna LOVE them, too!



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Camping Margaritas

I recently saw this recipe for Camping Margaritas on a website called, and I thought they might be perfect for our week at a cabin in Wisconsin this summer. I have declared this summer the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, and these margaritas will hopefully help us with that. Really. Nothing is going to be difficult to find or do – activities or food or drinks – and I mean it. Seriously. We have a limited number of weekends and warm summer days in general here in Minnesota, and this summer I have decided not to waste a minute of it. I want to be able to pull things together fast and get out of the house to enjoy our beautiful summer weather. I have made margaritas before on Plenty Sweet Life (my friend Julie’s Margaritas ), but this recipe is even easier, and I can’t wait to try it.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Camping Margaritas

Mix all together using the can from the limeade:

1 (12 ounce) can frozen limeade

3 (12 ounce) cans water

1 (12 ounce) can tequila, plus a couple splashes more

6 ounces (1/2 can) Triple Sec

Place mixture into a gallon size zip-top bag. You can mix it right in the gallon bag, if you want to. Place filled bag into a second one (to keep it safe during transport) – this is easier to do before it freezes. Be careful to check and make sure your gallon bag doesn’t leak – I’ve had that happen a lot lately – just keep an eye on it.

Freeze several days until firm (if camping, put in cooler filled with ice to keep it frozen until ready to serve).

When ready to serve, have ready:

1-2 limes, cut into wedges

margarita salt (or kosher salt)

Break mixture apart until slushy.

Rub a lime wedge around the rim of each cup, and then dip in salt to coat the rim.

Pour margaritas into salt rimmed cups and serve with a wedge of lime.

These are made with just a few ingredients. Love it – easy!

You just use the limeade can to measure it all out – simple!

I used a gallon zip-top bag and it all fit in just fine.

Don’t forget to add the lime and salt around the rim BEFORE you pour the margarita!

Let it sit for awhile – if you can wait a few minutes – so it can melt a bit. I couldn’t wait.

These margaritas are so refreshing and so good! I LOOOOVE margaritas! This was a great idea! Now I can’t wait for the week at the cabin! There’s nothing like the simplicity of this “Nothing But Easy Summer”, and there’s nothing like a simple-to-do cocktail. I can’t wait to make many, many, many more batches of these Camping Margaritas!




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Rhubarb Bread Pudding

This recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding comes from one of my mom’s friends. I’ve made Bread Pudding since I was in junior high school, but this one is made with rhubarb! Yay! I mean, how great is that? Sometimes you get the best recipes from friends. You go over to their house to visit, maybe for coffee or some event, and you come home with a great recipe for the delicious dish they made for you when you came over. I just love that. Grandma was big on getting recipes from her friends and family. She and her sisters were so good at getting great recipes – mainly because they had a lot of family and friends. Plus, they had a lot of family to make delicious dishes FOR, like the guys in this photo! This one shows Grandma’s brothers, Grandpa, and maybe a cousin or friend – I don’t know who the other guy is. How great is this one using that perspective?!!!

OMG I love this one so much. Whoever took the photo had to get down on their stomach, or put the camera down on the sidewalk, and then take the shot. This was probably taken with one of the old-school cameras where you had to look into the top to see what you were taking a picture of. For those of you who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about – Google it! So cool for back at that time! Because of the brick house, it looks like this one was taken on Grandma’s family farm, which is still there!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Bread Pudding


3 eggs, beaten

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup milk

2 cups rhubarb

4 slices bread, buttered and cut into cubes

Pour into 9″ square pan or casserole dish.

Sprinkle nutmeg over top.

Bake until 350 degrees or until set, about 45 minutes.

I’m so glad it’s rhubarb season!

I used a 12 grain bread (only because that’s what kind of bread was sitting on my kitchen counter), but any kind of bread will do. Mix verything up and then fold in the rhubarb and bread.

This is such a simple but delicious recipe.

After baking it looks sooo good.

This is really a great recipe to make for last-minute guests, because it’s so quick and easy to make.

I can’t believe how well this recipe fits into my “Nothing But Easy Summer”. It’s SO EASY to make, and it’s SO DELICIOUS! I’ll be making this one every year for years to come – it’s that good. Bring on the last-minute company! I know you’re going to love this easy recipe for Rhubarb Bread Pudding.




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