Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

6 Great Ideas for the 4th of July

I wanted to share 6 Great Ideas for the 4th of July today.  It’s coming up – faster than we want it to! It always seems like summer’s half over once the 4th of July comes. My family has had a busy summer, so far, and I can’t believe that it’s time to be thinking about the 4th already! Enjoy these ideas – I hope you can find something new to try!

4th of July Take Home Favors

Fairy Cookies

Blueberry Pie

Patriotic Snack Mix

Happy 4th of July

Angel Food Cake


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Day 4 – 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas – Julekage


It’s Day 4 of the 12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas and we’re making Julekage! For some reason, I think of this is as a Norwegian bread. This was a sweet Christmas bread that Grandma really liked. She probably made it back in the day, but this is a recipe I have made for a long time. This recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens Creative Cooking Library series of cookbooks that my mom had years ago. It’s in the book Birthdays and Family Celebrations and the bread is called Sugarplum Bread. Grandma always called it Julekage, so that’s what we call it, too. It’s not an official Scandinavian recipe, but I’m sure the recipes are similar. I’ve seen it called Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish, so it’s truly Scandinavian!


There’s no better bread for my family’s leftover Christmas ham sandwiches!

Here is the recipe as I made it:


Soften in 1/2 cup warm water:

2 packages of active dry yeast


1 cup milk, scalded

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup shortening (I used butter)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Cool to lukewarm.


2 cups flour (you’ll need 4 3/4 to 5 1/4 cups total)

1 teaspoon lemon peel

Beat until smooth.


2 eggs, beaten

Beat well.

Stir in:

The softened yeast


1 1/2 cups mixed diced candied fruits and peels

Stir in:

Enough of remaining flour, or enough to make a soft dough

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes).

Place in lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease the surface.

Cover and let rise in warm place until double (about 2 hours).

Punch down.

Divide dough in half and round each into a ball.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Place round loaves on greased baking sheet and pat tops to flatten slightly.

Cover and let rise until almost double (about 1 1/2 hours).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes (cover tops with foil after 15-20 min to prevent over browning).

Cool on rack.

While slightly warm, glaze with frosting of 2 cups powdered sugar mixed with 3-4 Tablespoons milk.

Decorate with bits of red and green candied cherries or sprinkles.


Here we go – melting the butter in the hot milk with the sugar and salt. There are what seems like a lot of steps to this bread, but it’s worth it in the end!


Here are the add-ins: softened yeast, beaten eggs, and chopped candied fruit (I used just cherries instead of fruit and peels).


Here is what it looks like after adding the first 2 cups of flour.


This is with the added chopped fruit.


Here we are at the point where we’ve added everything and we’re starting to knead. Since I use my big mixer, the kneading part is when you put on the dough hook.


Here is the dough ready to rise and then punched down after rising.


This shows the dough before and after baking. Again – the house will smell so good when this is baking!


I tend to decorate this with sprinkles instead of the candied cherries, but either way is just fine. You can freeze it with the frosting on, or leave it off until you are ready to serve it. You can make it as festive as you want to. It’s so pretty and so delicious! You’ll love this bread that’s great with leftover Christmas ham or turkey. It’s even great toasted. Enjoy!





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Happy 4th of July!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I hope you’re all able to enjoy the day with family and friends, food, and fireworks!!! It’s so important to celebrate every possible holiday (or even weekends)!


I don’t have any special 4th of July decorations that I used for setting our holiday table – I just pulled out everything I could find that was red, white, and blue! I did have the flags from last year.


Sweet cherries are the perfect natural treat.


My hydrangea got hit by hail and cool weather early in the season and are NOT up to last year’s standards.


This one kind of looks like fireworks!


Because I don’t have many 4th of July decorations, I printed out antique postcards to use – cheap AND cute!

Stay safe everyone, and enjoy the holiday!

Thanks for reading Plenty Sweet Life!!





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Patriotic Snack Mix

My husband likes to have snacks at work and I said I’d throw something together. Why not make it seasonal and use red, white, and blue in it to make it patriotic at the same time? He’s taking this batch to work, but this is also a great Patriotic Snack Mix for your 4th of July weekend. It’s chock full of sweet treats and nuts to give you enough energy to get your family through all the swimming and lake events, all of those lawn games of corn hole or Kubb, and you could even take some along for a snack when watching fireworks.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Patriotic Snack Mix

1/2 box of Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats

1 package of dried cherries

1 cup coconut (just for fun!)

1 bag of M & Ms

3 cups whole almonds

3 cups walnut halves

3 cups pecan halves

Mix gently.


The sweets – Frosted Mini Wheats, M & Ms, Dried Cherries, and Coconut. The roasted nuts – almonds, walnuts, and pecans. I roasted some raw nuts, but if you wanted to you could use salted nuts. Add what you like and make up your own mix!


So festive – you could use any color of M & Ms and make it appropriate for any holiday or occasion.


This little snack mix is absolutely delicious, and there are no added oil, spices, or baking needed.


Make up a batch of this snack mix to take along for the weekend. It will keep you energized for your 4th of July festivities. Stay safe this weekend and enjoy your family and friends!


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Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July, everyone!



Have a great weekend and thanks for reading

Plenty Sweet Life!


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Angel Food Cake

The recipe for today is from my other grandma. This is a photo of her when she was young, and had to be sometime in the 1920’2 or 1930’s, I think. It says “statue” on the front and “Mpls” on the back, so maybe she was visiting relatives living in the Minneapolis area.

61 in Mpls

I love her satiny dress and pretty shoes! She was a diabetic, so she made Angel Food Cake a lot in her later years. It’s low-fat, low sugar, and still so delicious. This cake reminds me so much of summer. It seemed like grandma would make this every time we were at their house for dinner in the summer. Grandma was my babysitter when I was really little. We lived in an upstairs apartment in a house right next door to Grandma and Gramp. She would pick me up every day and carry me next door to their house and I’d spend the day with them. It was so convenient for my parents and I got to stay in the neighborhood and play with my friends and play in the park that was right across the street from our houses. (I was obsessed with the monkey bars, and, I might add, I was quite the whiz on those monkey bars. There are home movies to prove it!) Summertime holds a lot of memories of those grandparents and their house: them sitting in their lawn chairs in the front yard watching cars go by, Grandma’s lemonade made from scratch, picking vegetables from their garden (Gramp eating green onions and radishes with salt), running through the sprinkler in their backyard (it was one that would spin and it always knocked into my ankles!!), collecting bugs, eating watermelon, going down into their dark, damp, cool basement to get away from the heat, and one especially frightening evening when we had to go in their basement, sit on top of their chest freezer and listen to the radio warning us of a tornado heading our way (it never touched down). I could go on and on.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Angel Food Cake

There is no recipe card and there really isn’t a recipe – just follow the directions on the box mix. You could make your angel food cake from scratch, but a mix is so easy, that’s what I used.


All you do to the mix is add water. Mix it up, put it in the angel food cake pan, and I always take a table knife and run it through the batter to try to get rid of any bubbles in there.


It comes out of the oven toasty brown and fragrant! There’s nothing like the vanilla-y aroma of an angel food cake baking. Wow.


You need to cool the cake upside down. Find a bottle or something to cool it on BEFORE you take it out of the oven. It has to fit in the hole in the middle of the pan so the pan can sit on it. I guess it stays nice and light and airy when cooled that way.


Start by running a knife along the outside of the pan and pull the inside part out. Then run the knife along the inner tube and on the bottom between the cake and the pan. Then flip the cake upside down onto your serving plate.


You can eat it plain, but you can also put whatever toppings you want on it. Berries and whipped cream are always good, but you can also use chocolate sauce, pudding, jam, etc.


I just love this cake! The brown, crispier bits are the best part!


If you’ve forgotten about this old-fashioned cake, give it a try. There’s no easier or tastier way to celebrate summer!




4th of July Take Home Favors

I saw so many cute crafts online for the 4th of July, that I just had to get crafty and try one of my own. I love making crafts and I love making little treats for guests to take home from a party, so I’m sharing how I made these 4th of July Take Home Favors. This one is a combination take home favor, table decoration, and place card. It’s a great last-minute and fun craft to make – get your kids involved! I got everything I needed for these at the grocery store (some things I had at home) when picking up groceries for the weekend.


I found some free antique post card images on the internet to print, cut them out, and glued them onto red plastic cups. After I had them glued, I would have made them a bit smaller, but that’s just me! I took a small hole punch and made holes on either side of the cup, opposite each other, pulled a silver sparkly pipe cleaner (chenille stem, if you will) through each hole and twisted the ends around to make a handle. Then I used a sheet of red, white, and blue tissue paper, folded it a couple of times, and ran it through my shredder to make the filler for the bottom of the cups.


Depending on your guests, you can alter the treats and goodies you put in these. For our celebration, I used mints, gum, chocolates, a couple of sparklers, and a flag. You could use more kid friendly things if you’re making these for a kids table: stickers, water shooters, fun sunglasses.


I have the table set for a casual holiday lunch, but you can get as creative as you want with your table settings.


Gather up your kids or your weekend company and do a holiday craft to make your holiday celebration even more festive and memorable! Have fun!!!


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Fairy Cookies

This is another recipe from Grandma’s file that came from me!! I really don’t remember where this recipe came from, but again, I’m honored that Grandma kept it – that means it’s a good one! Now that I think about it, I may have entered these Fairy Cookies in the county fair once I was in 4-H (of course I did baking/cooking as one of my subjects!). Look how old it is – I wasn’t very good at handwriting yet when I started making these. I bet I was still in grade school. Even back then I was always baking or cooking something. My mom kept her cookbooks in the bottom drawer in the kitchen and I would sit on the floor and look through each and every one. I loved to look at and read cookbooks! My favorite one had a theme of “magic”. All of the recipes were named something having to do with magic and magic tricks. It was a thin one, more like a pamphlet. I wish I had that one now, but at some point I’m sure it had to go. My sister and I both have a little problem with our collections of recipes and cookbooks! The obsession over cookbooks is ridiculous. I need to cut back or I’ll have to build wall to wall bookshelves in the kitchen!

Fairy Cookies

This recipe really couldn’t be any easier!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Fairy Cookies

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

2 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all together.

Roll in balls.

Roll in colored sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


Get your colored sugars ready before you’re ready to roll. You can use these for any holiday – just change the color of the sugar. It would be fun to make these in school colors or favorite team colors, too.


I didn’t use my scoop for these because I thought they’d be too big. I did get them surprisingly even in size.


You can see that they’re a bit of a flat cookie.


They’re crackle-topped and sugary and delicious!


Make a stack of these for your next celebration. Another idea – put a small scoop of ice cream between two of these and refreeze!!


These are great for having with your afternoon coffee, great for picnics, and great anytime. I’ve been making these a VERY long time. You will, too, when you see how easy and how tasty they are!


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Chicken Salad

This salad recipe comes from grandma’s church cookbook – the one that is THE place to go for the best recipe for EVERYTHING!! Chicken Salad is a great recipe, but I add a few things to make it one of my son’s favorites. Every time I make a recipe from the Svea Church cookbook (Svea’s Heritage Cookbook – 125 years of Good Cooking, 1870-1995, copyright 1995), I recognize names and am reminded of those women, and it makes me nostalgic for those days when that church was such a big part of the lives of all of the farmers surrounding the small town where the church still stands. Believe it or not, the church even has a website now!!! This time of year really takes me back because my sister and I were able to stay with Grandma and Grandpa more in the summer when school was out. We would play games (like catch or Jarts) after dinner when Grandpa was done with his chores for the day, have an ice cream treat (which was something like Eskimo Pies, ice cream sandwiches, or Drumsticks – they were dairy farmers, after all), and make a big deal out of being outside in the evening to hear the chimes coming from the church at 7 pm (if I remember the time right) because their farm was a mile straight east of the church “as the crow flies”. This is a photo of the front of the church (but the steeple is cut off) and it has Grandma and Grandpa’s name on the back of it, but it’s a bit hard to tell if it’s them or not.

Chicken Salad

The church had a big 4th of July picnic and reunion every year (I don’t think they do it anymore), and church members past and present were invited to come and eat and chat and enjoy the day. It was an old-fashioned celebration with speakers, music in the town park bandstand, and lots of food! The picnic was a potluck, and there was always a lot of great food with different kinds of meat (I remember a lot of fried chicken), what seemed like hundreds of pies of every description, and Ost Kaka (because the church is Swedish in origin).

Chicken Salad

I just love the old church cookbooks and the memories they bring back.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Chicken Salad

1 can of chicken or tuna (I sometimes use cubed ham, but for this batch, I used a whole chicken cooked in the crock pot)

1 cup celery, diced

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup cubed cheese (I use Velveeta for this)

1 cup carrots, grated

1/2 cup onions, ground (grated, but for this batch I used green onions)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (I up this to 1-2 cups when using a pound of cooked macaroni)

1 can shoestring potatoes (I could only find the big cans now so I used 1/2 of a can)

I sometimes add 1 pound of cooked macaroni, 1 teaspoon celery seed, salt and pepper, and I usually add as many chopped veggies as I can find.

Mix all together and chill.

Add shoestring potatoes just before serving.


You can see that I added some sliced carrots and diced red pepper for this batch. I also added cooked macaroni.


It’s a pretty and colorful salad.


Using the macaroni and a whole chicken made this a BIG batch, but it didn’t last long.


Who are we kidding? Putting shoestring potatoes on top is just like putting crushed up potato chips on top. You could use those in a pinch. Try this delicious salad this summer. You’ll love it as much as we do!




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Happy 4th of July!!!

Happy 4th of July everyone!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of family, friends, and fireworks!



Stay safe and have fun!


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