Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Happy Easter! Happy Spring!

Easter is very early this year, but spring is dragging her feet here in Minnesota!

We need a little springtime cheer, so I’m sending you a little flower to brighten your day!

I hope where ever you live, the snow is melting and the temperatures are rising!

Thank you for stopping – I appreciate all of you!

I wish each and every one of you, dear readers, a very Happy Easter and a very Happy Spring!

 

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Hearty Carrot Cake

This recipe for Hearty Carrot Cake is one that I’ve been waiting for Easter to try. (I love carrot cake and so does my middle daughter – whose birthday just so happens to be in April.) It’s time to try this one since Easter is this weekend.

I noticed that I haven’t been sharing photos lately (mainly because I’ve been under the weather since September), so I’m sharing one today. This photo of me with my Easter basket looks like I was about 3 years old. It was always such a big deal to wear your prettiest Easter dress with the white shoes and anklets – the only thing missing here are the white gloves and Easter bonnet! LOVE those chubby legs!

We lived right next door to my other Grandma and Gramp at this point (in the upstairs apartment of the white house behind me – they lived in the house behind the photographer), and this photo was probably taken by Gramp when he got his first Polaroid camera. You would shoot the photo and the camera would spit out the photo and you had to peel the photo off of the backing and wait for it to develop. I would say the bad quality of this one was either bad film or user error. You can still kind of see me – if you squint!

This is another easy recipe from Grandma!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Hearty Carrot Cake

Put into mixing bowl:

1 3/4 cups flour

(The next thing on the recipe is a package of Pillsbury Coconut Almond or Coconut Pecan Frosting Mix. I don’t know of it’s a mistake or what. Is this supposed to be part of the cake or go on top of the cake? I left it out. Actually, I don’t even know if they still make these frosting mixes.)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup wheat germ, if desired (I left this out)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups (4 medium) shredded carrots

8 ounce can (1 cup) crushed pineapple, drained (Grandma says here to save 1/4 up of the juice, but we never use it in this recipe. Was it to mix with the frosting mix? I just don’t know. I didn’t save it or use it.)

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

3 teaspoons vanilla

3 eggs

Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.

Pour batter into greased and floured 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (Here Grandma says to cool 10 minutes, so I think she didn’t finished writing out this recipe. I think it was supposed to have the instructions for the frosting at the end. My family loves Cream Cheese Icing, so I used the recipe for that from another Carrot Cake With Cream Cheese Icing recipe I’ve done on here previously.)

Icing:

Mix well:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1 pound (3 1/2 cups) powdered sugar

Sprinkle on top of cake:

3/4 cup nuts, chopped (I didn’t put these on as some in my family don’t care for them.)

This cake didn’t rise much – you can see that it didn’t even come halfway up the pan.

This is a great recipe for Cream Cheese Icing. I mean really – who are we kidding – the cake is just a vehicle for the icing. Seriously.

This cake is not light and airy – it’s moist, dense, and absolutely delicious.

You can see how full of carrots and pineapple this is. It’s so good. The cake looks a lot like the Carrot Bars I made last year, but the cake tastier than the bars. Try this Hearty Carrot Cake, and if you use the wheat germ in it, let me know how it turns out!

 

 

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Grandma received this postcard from an aunt and uncle living in Seattle, Washington – the date on the postmark is March 26, 1929. I’m sure she was excited when she got this cute card in the mail!

Thank you so much for stopping by and reading Plenty Sweet Life!

I appreciate each and every one of you!

 

 

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Easter Bundt Cake

As promised – here is the Bundt Cake for Easter – or – the Easter Bundt Cake. On my quest this year to show how the Bundt Cake recipe can be so easily switched up for holidays (or personal preference), I’ve made one that’s perfect for an Easter dessert.

First, here is a typical Easter photo from when I was about 3 years old. You can see the brand new dress, white patent leather shoes with white anklets, and my purse. My dad used to tease me relentlessly about always having to have a “purse”. But it is essential to every girl’s Easter outfit – every little OR big girl. I was standing on the little wall that was between my other grandma and gramp’s house and the house where we lived in the upstairs apartment.

Obviously, we had beautiful weather on Easter Sunday that year, because I didn’t have on a sweater, jacket, or coat.

Ok – on to the Easter Bundt Cake. I do love that this is such an easy recipe and you can make it last-minute. Kids would love to help make this because decorating it is so much fun. You can – and MUST – make it very colorful and festive. Well, you don’t HAVE to. You CAN keep it simple. But where’s the fun in that?!!

I’m telling you – this recipe is so easily adaptable for each and every holiday or special occasion!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Bundt Cake

Mix together:

1 cake mix (I used lemon here)

1 instant pudding (I used lemon here)

4 eggs

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup oil (I used canola)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Let cool in pan 25 minutes.

Turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Glaze:

Mix together:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Juice of half of a lemon, or enough to make glaze the consistency you want

Spoon or pipe glaze onto top of cake.

Decorate with sprinkles and/or colored sugar (do this before the glaze dries – it happens fast).

This particular bundt cake was made with a lemon cake mix and lemon instant pudding. I think a white cake mix with a vanilla or coconut instant pudding and 1/2 to 1 cup of coconut would also be tasty for this time of year.

I get all my decorations ready ahead of time and then make the glaze. The glaze dries quickly, so if you have everything ready, put on the glaze and then immediately decorate. You can use a spoon to drizzle on the glaze, but I used a disposable piping bag for drizzling.

I went with white glaze and pastel colored sprinkles for this one. The lemony glaze goes so well with the lemon cake and the lemon pudding in the cake.

Here’s the overhead view – can you tell what I put on top?

You got it! Bunnies! They’re so cute!

I put the bunnies on toothpicks and then stuck them into the top of the cake. If I had used a cake plate or pedestal, I might have had room to stick the bunnies into the glaze around the outside of the cake, but this cake is going with my husband to work, so it’s just on a paper plate and that doesn’t leave a lot of room on the outside. It makes more sense to put it on something that doesn’t have to get back home with my husband. All he has to bring back with him is the big container he’s taking the whole cake in.

People ask me all the time if we actually eat ALL the things I make for this blog. Oh yes – we do eat our fair share, but I do also try to share some of it with family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. Everyone has to do their part and take some of it. Funny – nobody has seemed to mind too much. Yet. Get your kids involved and make an Easter Bundt Cake for your family or friends this year – it’ll be a lot of fun and they’ll love it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easter Ham

Oh, how we love a good Easter Ham in our family. If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that we’re big on traditions in our family. Maybe my kids get it from me, because I think I’ve always been that way. They’re the worst when it comes to tradition – we have to do the same things EVERY year for holidays. They’ve always been that way, too. One tradition that stays the same is the movies we watch for each holiday, and the other main traditional thing that stays the same is food. Each holiday has its own decorations, movies, and food and there is no exception. Additions are rare, and deletions are even more rare, and Easter is no exception. This photo show just where the tradition thing originally comes from. This is Grandma, me (at about 6 years old), my mom, and Grandma’s oldest sister at Easter.

These women were heavy into tradition, and frankly, I’m very grateful for that. We all need traditions – that’s what makes a holiday, a holiday.

My family demands the same food – every year – for every holiday and occasion. I make this Easter Ham every year for our Easter dinner, but the exact recipe for the glaze does change from time to time. Sometimes I use honey or orange marmalade or crushed pineapple. Sometimes I use regular yellow mustard, but this is the basic glaze recipe that I use almost every year. This is also a money-saving meal because you can save the ham bone to make Split Pea Soup later.

Here is the recipe as I made it (this time):

Easter Ham

Glaze:

1 cup real maple syrup

1 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons grainy mustard

4 ounces pineapple juice (1 of the small individual cans you can buy in a 6-pack)

Ham:

Pre-cooked, smoked 16.5 pound ham. (We get ours double-smoked from a local store that does their own meats and smoking.)

Bake at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes per pound.

I put the ham in a 9″ x 13″ pan, added 2 cups water, and covered with foil for first hour.

Then it’s time to uncover, baste with glaze and bake another hour. Baste with the glaze again until done. Let  it sit for 10 minutes or so before carving.

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I put the pineapple juice in mixing up the ingredients and I knew that I would need a bit more glaze. Double it or make another half batch if you need more for the basting.

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This is the ham after the first hour – and after the basting and second hour of baking.

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When cutting this ham, try to get a little of the deliciously basted outside crust on every piece.

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This has a nice caramelized crust and it’s moist and tender on the inside. Tender isn’t quite the word for it – I think I’d say it melts in your mouth.

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Easter Ham is one of those “must have” and traditional food items at Easter dinner. Don’t forget to save the ham bone for a batch of Split Pea Soup! Try this glaze and ham it up! Ha! Ok, ok. I know – that’s enough. What are some of your Easter food traditions? I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

 

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Orange Tapioca Jello

Growing up on the lake, I remember springtime as being cold. It was sunny and it was green, but it was cold. I’m pretty sure this had something to do with the spring breeze blowing over the ice still left on the lake. Some years there would be a rim of open water at the edge of the ice, and we’d jump across to the ice and walk around on it. There were times, however, that there would be ice floes, which were big flat chunks of ice floating at the edge of the lake. The trick to jumping on and riding the floes was to never go farther or deeper than what you wanted to get wet if you fell off, and falling off was cold – very cold! Not that I know ANYTHING about that. Really. It was just so nice to be outside in that cold, clean, fresh air and see things growing and hear all the things melting. I also loved the wild flowers in the spring, and I had a secret place – ala The Secret Garden – where I could find all kinds of flowers to put into little glasses or vases around the house. This helped with the spring cleaning, when it was time to clear the dust and cobwebs of the winter away, open up the windows, and let in the fresh, clean air rush in and freshen everything up.

Today I’m sharing a jello salad that we always have for Easter dinner. I think the recipe originally came from Grandma years ago, and I still make it every year. The orange flavor makes it a perfect springtime treat. I don’t have the card for this anymore, so I’ll just type it out.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Orange Tapioca Jello

(This is the original recipe, but I usually double it, like I did here.)

1 package sugar-free orange jello

1 package sugar-free vanilla pudding

1 package tapioca pudding

11 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained with liquid reserved

Boil jello and puddings with 3 cups water (using reserved mandarin orange juice as part of this).

When cool, top with Cool Whip (you can also use whipped cream) and mandarin oranges.

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This is a fairly easy recipe, which is always nice to have when you’ve got a big holiday meal to prepare. I’m all for anything being easy, as long as it’s this delicious.

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The mixture is boiling hot, so if you’re worried about putting this into a good crystal bowl, let it cool down a bit before putting it into your pretty bowl or container. I’ve done this for years with this particular bowl, so I’m comfortable just putting it in there hot.

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I usually top this with the Cool Whip/whipped cream and garnish with the mandarin orange segments, but to do this the way Grandma would have done it, we pass a separate bowl of whipped cream so everyone can put on (or not) what they want.

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This is such a delicious recipe, and it always brings back happy memories for our family. We’ve been having this delicious salad for our Easter dinner for as long as I can remember, and it always signals springtime. Try this delicious and creamy salad – just right for springtime!

 

 

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everybody!

I appreciate each and every one of you, dear readers!

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Thank you so much for reading Plenty Sweet Life!!

 

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Easter Treats

Here are some past posts for Easter Treats that I think you’ll enjoy! Try them all!

Hopping Bunny Rolls

Hopping Bunny Rolls

Easter Bark

Easter Bark

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

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Hot Crossed Buns

Iowa Ham Balls

Iowa Ham Balls

 

 

 

 

 

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Coconut Cake

The recipe for today comes from my sister, who makes this Coconut Cake a lot. Everybody who tries it absolutely loves it!! It was originally from the Kraft Foods website, and while I couldn’t find the exact recipe that my sister used (she had printed it out and it’s dated 2005 – she’s been making this cake a long time!), you can find a similar recipe here. I modified my sister’s recipe for this post to make cupcakes instead of one big cake. This recipe is totally right up Grandma’s alley and I know she would have loved this one: it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s delicious, and you can have all the ingredients on hand and ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Coconut Cake

Prepare as directed on package:

1 yellow cake mix

Stir in:

2/3 cup coconut (7-oz. bag, divided – keep 2 cups for later)

Bake as directed.

Cool 10 minutes.

Remove from pans to wire racks; cool completely.

Pour into medium bowl and mix with wire whisk:

1 cup cold milk

1 small package (4 serving size) White Chocolate Instant Pudding & Pie Filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Beat with whisk until well blended – mixture will be thick.

Gently stir in:

1-8 oz. tub Cool Whip, thawed

Refrigerate until ready to assemble.

For Cake:

Place 1 of the cake layers on serving plate; spread top with 1 cup of the pudding mixture.

Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of remaining coconut; cover with second cake layer.

Spread top and side with remaining pudding mixture; press remaining coconut into pudding so entire cake is covered with the pudding mixture and coconut.

Refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Store leftover cake in refrigerator.

For Cupcakes:

Frost top of cupcakes with pudding mixture and top with coconut.

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This doesn’t look like a lot of coconut, but it really makes a difference in the batter.

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I made the cupcakes instead of cake, but cake would be even faster to make!

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I just had to show these pretty little cupcakes!!

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First I put on a HUGE amount of the pudding mixture – there’s a lot of it if you’re not making a cake. Then to top it all off – the coconut! I put a lot of that one top, too, just because I love coconut!

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Because it IS Easter, after all, I added some eggs for decoration. You could use any kind of eggs or jelly beans for this – go crazy! Kids would love to help decorate the cupcakes.

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My intention, when deciding to make cupcakes instead of a cake, was to send these to work with my husband. Well, that’s not happening because there aren’t enough left. Let’s just say they went over well. The cupcakes turned out absolutely beautiful and I can see why everyone loves this cake!!! This one is perfect for any time you need a quick and delicious dessert to take anywhere! Go ahead – be the hit of your Easter gathering – and bring this beautiful cake (or cupcakes).

 

 

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Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone!

Thanks for reading!

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