Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Happy 4th of July!

While things may not be “business as usual” this summer, I hope you can still find a way to celebrate our favorite summer holiday!

I am so grateful for your support!

Stay safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

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Red, White, and Blue Frozen Yogurt Pops

I loved making these Red, White, and Blue Frozen Yogurt Pops! They’re so festive and are perfect for the 4th of July! You can make these last-minute. Just pop them into the freezer tonight for a tasty and festive holiday treat tomorrow! If you have some yogurt in your frig, and some berries available, you can make this delicious frozen treat. Speaking of berries, I had to share this photo of Grandma and some of her friends picking berries. Grandma is the third from the left – the one with the cute haircut!

This was probably sometime in the 1920’s. Their berry baskets look a bit large, but I bet they had a lot of fun picking and eating what was more than likely plump, juicy strawberries. I wonder if they ended up with any to bring home to their mothers who would make something delicious with them, I’m sure! Maybe something like Uncooked Jam or Strawberry Pie! Those girls would have LOVED these frozen yogurt pops after a hot day of berry picking!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Red, White, and Blue Frozen Yogurt Pops

Mix together:

2 cups Greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk, or more to make the mixture pourable

4 T honey, or more to taste

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 cup strawberries, diced

Pour into popsicle mold or paper cups (I use a piece of aluminum foil over the top, cut a small hole over top of molds, and put popsicle stick through the foil and into the mixture).

Let freeze.

Unmold and enjoy!

Again – simple ingredients – absolutely delicious! Any kind of fruit or any kind of yogurt would be delicious in these pops! Let me know what kind YOU make!

I put about 1/2 teaspoon of the sprinkles into the bottom of each mold.

Even though I diced the strawberries, the berries were all a little big. When I poured the mixture into the molds, I made a mess. No problem – just wipe down the mold and carry on. I ended up with about 1/2 cup of the mixture left at the end – I just considered it a smoothie and downed it pretty quick – yum!

I just don’t like using the metal cover that came with the molds – it’s hard to get the sticks out once they’re frozen. It’s easy to hold the sticks upright when using a piece of foil. Sometimes the fruit is so big, it makes it difficult for the sticks to stand up perfectly straight. Who cares – just get them in there! More times than not, the sticks are wonky in my pops. These are so good, they won’t be on the sticks long, anyway! Here’s my technique – I put on the foil, smooth it with the back of my hand so that the outline of the molds show, prick the middle of each mold outline with the tip of a knife, and put the sticks in. Into the freezer with them! Un-molding is easy when you run warm water over the molds, then pull out the pops.

I think these pops are so festive and so tasty – everyone will love these! There is always room for making your food and treats festive for a holiday – that’s what makes holidays special! I love that! I hope you take the time to make these delicious Red, White, and Blue Frozen Yogurt Pops – your friends and family will be very glad you did!

 

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Homemade S’mores – All From Scratch

Today I’m sharing how to make totally Homemade S’mores – All From Scratch! I made them all with what I had in the house, and they were pretty spectacular, I must say. I used the recipe for Old Fashioned Graham Crackers, the recipe for Homemade Marshmallows, and a ridiculously easy recipe for Chocolate Ganache. Every part was homemade and spectacularly delicious and found in your cupboard and pantry! From now on, I’m going to think of these as special occasion s’mores  – perfect for the 4th of July!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Homemade S’mores – All From Scratch

Find the recipe for the marshmallows here – Homemade Marshmallows.

If possible, make these a few days ahead so they dry out a bit – these were made the same day and they were a bit soft – they almost fell off the stick when we were toasting them! That might have been a combination of the fact that they were still pretty soft and that I didn’t make them thick enough. The original recipe calls for making them in a bread pan, so they’re thicker. I made them in a square pan so we’d have more. Thicker would have been better – I’d do that next time.

Marshmallows made. Check.

Find the recipe for the graham crackers here – Old Fashioned Graham Crackers.

You can make these ahead and freeze them – then they’re ready at a moment’s notice!

Graham crackers made. Check.

Here is the recipe for the Chocolate Ganache –

Heat in top of a double boiler:

1 cup chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate chips to mimic the more familiar milk chocolate candy bar we usually use)

1/2 cup heavy cream

Stir until smooth.

Chill.

I would make this ahead of time, also – it firms up in the frig – so that it’s not so soft and melty when you put the warm marshmallow on it – this was still a bit too soft.

Chocolate Ganache made. Check.

I was going to show that you can make a nice little take-home treat for your 4th of July guests (which would still be a very nice thing to do), but what ended up happening was that just as we started our bonfire, a storm blew through our area, and that was the end of our bonfire. I had to pack up the ingredients and send them home with our kids to make their own s’mores over the warming flame of their gas stoves. Oh well, at least they got to taste them. It ended up being a nice little take-home treat for them!

We did have just enough time to make 1 s’more before the raindrops started to fall! It was delicious, yet very melty. That’s why I think that making everything a few days ahead of time would be better – firmer marshmallows and firmer chocolate would have made this less messy. Now – that being said – O. M. G. Wow – were these good! Everything was so soft and smooth and so tender. It melted in your mouth. I bet you could find most of the ingredients to make these from scratch in your cupboard or pantry. These are special occasion s’mores, and what better occasion than the 4th of July to enjoy these? You should try to make these from scratch – Homemade S’mores and Chocolate Ganache – yum!

 

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8 Festive Fourth of July Treats

Today I’m sharing 8 Festive Fourth of July Treats to help you celebrate Independence Day in a very tasty way! I hope you can find something delicious to make for your family and friends! Have fun and stay safe!

Popcorn Cake

 

Angel Food Cake

 

Fairy Cookies

 

Independence Day Bundt Cake

 

Patriotic Snack Mix

 

Sugar Cookies #4 and Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

 

Bev’s Cream Cheese Pie

 

4th of July Soda Cracker Bars

 

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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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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, dear readers!

Plenty Sweet Life wishes you and yours a happy, safe, and fun-filled 4th!

I hope you get a chance to splash around in some water – just a bit!

Happy 4th of July!

 

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Popcorn Cake

This recipe for Popcorn Cake comes from a friend we met when we were first married and living in a different town. Their family came to visit us for a weekend when we moved to our house, and they brought the lovely housewarming gift of a recipe book where you could write in your own recipes. She had written in a few recipes that her family enjoyed, and this was one of them.

I have only made this once before, but I WILL be making it more often from now on.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Popcorn Cake

Melt together:

1 – 10 1/2 ounce bag of marshmallows

25 caramels

3/4 cup butter

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Pour this over:

9 cups popped popcorn

Add:

3/4 cup M&Ms (I used 1 cup)

3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts (I used 1 cup)

Stir until mixed.

Put in buttered 9″ x 13″ pan (I used a Bundt pan).

Cool 1 hour in refrigerator before serving.

You can make the popcorn any way you like: microwave, kettle, or like I did, with my good old college air popper! Still works great!

Not a lot of ingredients, but they’re delicious ingredients!

Pour the first mixture over the popcorn.

Mix it up and let it sit just a minute or two before adding the M&Ms so they don’t melt. When thinking about how the final product would look, I decided to put a few M&Ms into the bottom of the Bundt pan so they would be on top when it was turned out.

I put the final mixture into the Bundt pan and patted it down with a buttered piece of waxed paper.

I thought the cake would come right out of the pan easily, but it didn’t. No worries. Just hold it in some warm water for a couple of minutes and it slides right out of the pan. Maybe turning it out onto a plate right away instead of chilling it in the refrigerator would work. You can also just follow the recipe and put the mixture into a regular cake pan and make more of a bar type of thing. Either way is equally delicious and pretty. You can also find out how I made the incredibly fast, incredibly easy, and incredibly inexpensive cake stand here!

I added some sprinkles and decorative sugar to the top of the cake. Not necessary. It’s so cute and so festive without sprinkles. I can see why people make this for birthdays and holidays – it’s pretty decadent – loaded with all those goodies like marshmallows, caramels, peanuts, and M&Ms. It’s so good. And it’s so easy. This is a great last-minute treat to celebrate anything and everything. Try this Popcorn Cake and you’ll agree!

 

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Sugar Cookies #4 and Patriotic Ice Cream Sandwiches

Today’s recipe for Sugar Cookies #4 is going to serve two purposes (yes – this is the 4th recipe for plain sugar cookies I’ve done on this blog). One – they’re just downright delicious as a cookie. Two – we’re going to make ice cream sandwiches out of them! Yes! You heard me. Even better – since the holiday is coming up – we’re going to make them festive for the 4th of July!

The 4th of July was always a big deal for my family. Grandma and Grandpa’s church always had a “Homecoming” on the 4th of July, where people who had grown up in that small town (technically my mom’s hometown) would come home for a good old-fashioned small town 4th celebration. There would be a big lunch at the church and park in town, where the church would furnish the fried chicken or some other delicious main dish along with the rest of the meal, and the church ladies would all bring their Ost Kaka and pies for dessert. Then in the afternoon there would be a program of some kind: singing, bands, or readings. My mom, dad, sister and I lived on a lake when I was growing up and in the small town not far from our lake (technically where my dad grew up) there was a parade every 4th of July. We would either go to my mom’s small hometown or go to my dad’s small hometown near us for the first part of the day and then in the afternoon, we would have friends and family to our house to eat until we couldn’t eat anymore, swim until our ears were so full of water we couldn’t hear anymore, canoe until we would just swamp the canoe so we wouldn’t have to paddle anymore, boat until we ran out of gas and the motor wouldn’t go anymore, water ski until our legs were shaking and we couldn’t stand up on the skis anymore, and shoot off fireworks of some kind until we couldn’t stand the mosquitos anymore. It was so much fun and I have a lot of great memories from both kinds of celebrations from those years.

This is another recipe from the tiny book I found at my sister’s house.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Sugar Cookies #4

Mix in order given:

1 cup sugar

1 cup shortening, half butter (I used all butter)

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla (I put the vanilla in here with the more liquid ingredients, and I used 2 teaspoons to give it more vanilla flavor)

2 teaspoons baking powder

Flour to make a soft dough

Roll on floured board.

Bake in hot oven (I baked them at 375 degrees for 10-13 minutes).

The dough for this recipe rolls out nicely – and no need to chill it! I love that!

I decided to make them VERY festive. You can never be TOO festive. Right?

They’re a tender cookie after baking, and they’re delicious!

I used store-bought (gasp!) ice cream, but you can certainly make your own homemade ice cream if you want to.

I made all of these ice cream sandwiches, wrapped them, and put them right into the freezer to pull out on the 4th of July for a tasty treat.

These cookies are so easy to make, since there’s no dough chilling involved. You can just roll them right out and get it done. Make them as festive as you want to. Maybe try just sugar on top of them and fill them with strawberry ice cream, or chocolate ice cream, or mint ice cream. All of those would be right up my alley. I may have to make another batch of these Sugar Cookies #4 and try them all!

 

 

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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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Independence Day Bundt Cake

Today we’re doing another bundt cake – the Independence Day Bundt Cake! I’m still on my quest to work my way through an entire year making the Bundt Cake recipe, altering it for every holiday. It really is the most versatile recipe ever! I love that this is so easy and fast, you can do it totally last-minute.

The 4th of July was always a big occasion at our house. We lived on a lake, so there were always a lot of people who came for the celebration – two sets of grandparents, other family members, friends, and neighbors. This photo of me was taken a few years before we moved to the lake, but it shows how much of a water-baby I was (BTW – that was NOT a Barbie Doll – it was a Miss Clairol doll. Ha!). My sister was a water baby, too, and we loved the lake and looked forward to the weekend of the 4th all year.

We would start the day by heading to the small town just north of our lake to watch the annual 4th of July parade. After eating our fill of the candy that the people on the parade floats would throw at us, packing up the lawn chairs, and fighting the traffic to drive back to our house, people would start coming to our house for the day, and the fun – both in and out of the lake – would begin. The 4th of July was that one day of the year when my dad and his best friend would show off their water ski prowess. My dad would do his once a year ski, and his best friend would do his annual starting off the dock on one ski. He’d yell, “Hit it!” and my dad would throw the throttle forward and his friend would jump off the dock into the water (on one ski) behind the boat to show off for us kids and everyone present. One other crazy thing they did was ride the “saucer” (a 5 foot diameter piece of plywood with rounded edges that we would stand up on and ride behind the boat) and put a step-ladder on it, climbing up the ladder, and riding it around the lake like that. They did lose one ladder one year! I think after that they put a life jacket on the ladder so it would float if it fell into the water. Ha! After the water activities, we would reluctantly (because we never wanted to actually get OUT of the lake) head up to the house for the food – fried chicken, salads of every description (see the Salad category on the right of this page – this included a lot of those recipes), Baked Beans, chips, and desserts (there was usually a Bundt Cake and some Homemade Ice Cream in there somewhere). There were always sparklers and firecrackers bought on family trips to South Dakota or Wisconsin (my dad liked to stay well-stocked and I think they were illegal in MN at the time), and at the end of the night we would battle the hoards of mosquitos (and clouds of bug spray) to watch the fireworks show in that same small town just north of our lake. That day was a lot of work, but it was a blast and the whole family loved it!

This really is a great recipe – the possibilities are endless!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bundt Cake

Mix together:

1 cake mix (I used chocolate fudge here)

1 package instant pudding (I used chocolate here)

4 eggs

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola oil)

Beat 2 minutes.

Pour into bundt pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Cool in pan on rack for 25 minutes.

Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Vanilla Glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 Tablespoons milk, or enough to make glaze the consistency you want

Spoon or pipe glaze onto cake.

Decorate with sprinkles and/or colored sugar on top (quickly, before glaze dries).

Oh boy – it comes out of the oven looking pretty good!

I seriously love how easily it comes out of the pan. I have had a problem with things sticking in the bundt pan before – remember the Rum Cake?!! Cooling in the pan for 25 minutes is the key!

I made a Vanilla Glaze for this cake instead of the usual lemon-flavored Glaze.

Instead of using a disposable piping bag, this time I used a zip top bag. It’s just so easy! Put the Vanilla Glaze into the bag, zip it shut, snip off one corner, squeeze the glaze over the cake, and then just throw the bag away! Don’t forget the sprinkles!

Here she is – in all her glory!!!

So here is another example of how easy it is to change-up this Bundt Cake recipe to fit any occasion! The 4th of July is so much fun, and even if you don’t live on a lake, make the most of it. Let’s make a party out of it! Every party needs a cake, so I think you should all make a nice, easy, delicious, festive Independence Day Bundt Cake!

 

 

 

 

 

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