Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Canadian Bars

Why did they name these delicious bars Canadian Bars? I had no idea until I looked online for more Canadian Bars recipes and found the same recipe called Nanaimo Bars, named for the city in British Columbia. It’s practically the exact same recipe. Who knew? They are just one more no-bake treat to try before the summer is over. This has been a hot one, and we all know August and even September can also be hot. Summer’s not over yet, and there are still reasons to need a delicious no-bake treat. Because summer’s not over yet, I wanted to share this photo of some of Grandma’s family. Her mother and aunt and oldest sister are in the middle, along with various other family members. They look like they are truly enjoying the beautiful summer day. I love this photo so much, with the ladies wearing their high collared blouses and long skirts.

I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded having some no-bake recipes back then – those wood fired stoves that they had to use must have made the kitchen and house incredibly hot! Turning on the oven in our houses NOW can make the kitchen and house incredibly hot. So I’m glad I found just one more no-bake (it actually says unbaked) recipe from another of Grandma’s old church cookbooks to end the summer!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Canadian Bars

Mix together:

5 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa

1/2 cup butter, softened

5 Tablespoons sugar

1 egg

Beat over boiling water until butter melts.

Add:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

3/4 cup coconut

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used walnuts)

Pour mixture into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Cover with the following mixture:

1/4 cup butter

3 Tablespoons milk

2 Tablespoons Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding mix

2 cups powdered sugar

Let stand 15 minutes to firm up.

Spread with:

4 squares semi-sweet chocolate (you can use 1 package chocolate chips – I did)

1 Tablespoon butter, melted

This recipe has ingredients that you probably have in your cupboard.

The bottom layer is full of goodies!

The second layer barely covered the bottom crust. I’m beginning to think that even though the recipe calls for a 9″ x 13″ pan, I maybe should have used an 8″ x 8″ pan instead.

The top layer of chocolate did cover the second layer.

See how thin the bars are? When I looked up the other recipes and found the Nanaimo Bars, they were thicker.

While not a thick bar, these are definitely delicious and are a great no-bake option for a hot summer day. I might try using the smaller pan next time, to see how that goes. I have no doubt that before submitting the recipe for the old church cookbook, someone decided that they could get more bars and make them go further if they used a larger pan. Either way, they’re easy to make and really delicious. Try something new before this hot summer’s over – these no-bake Canadian Bars!

 

 

Leave a comment »

Pineapple Frosted Cake

The name of today’s recipe, Pineapple Frosted Cake, sounds like somehow there is pineapple in the frosting. That’s not entirely true. The pineapple is one of it’s layers, and it’s frosted with Cool Whip. This dessert is layered with ALL KINDS of goodness: cake, cream cheese and pudding, pineapple, and Cool Whip. I can’t even. I don’t have the card on here for this one because it was one I had written down. It was in my mom’s recipe file, but written in my handwriting. I have no idea where it came from or where I had it, but I’m sure glad I wrote it down, and I’m glad mom kept it! Let’s just get on with it – it’s soooooooooooo good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pineapple Frosted Cake

Bake:

1 white cake mix, according to package instrucitons

Cool.

Cream together:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups milk

Add:

1 package Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding

Spread on top of cooled cake.

Drain:

1-20 ounce can crushed pineapple

Spread evenly over top of cream cheese mixture.

Top with:

1 small tub of Cool Whip

Sprinkle on:

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used sprinkles instead – my family aren’t big fans of nuts)

Refrigerate.

Before you start, bake the white cake and drain the pineapple.

The cream cheese was not totally smooth after mixing it together. It really didn’t matter since there will be other layers of goodness on top of it.

The next layer is the crushed pineapple. I just used my hands to sprinkle it evenly over the top of the cake and cream cheese/pudding layers.

The last layer is Cool Whip and nuts, however, my family isn’t big on nuts, so I used sprinkles instead. How festive! Sprinkles make everything look like it’s time for a party!

It’s ridiculous how delicious this cake is when you know how easy it was to make.

You can see the different layers of goodness here, and I do mean goodness! I think this cake would be delicious with many kinds of fruit: cut-up strawberries, blueberries, mandarin oranges. It’s perfect for our “Nothing But Easy Summer”, too, because this is so easy to make. I mean, this cake is ridiculously easy to make. This would also be great to take anywhere – if you were asked to bring a dessert. You could make the cake ahead of time (or even in the freezer), have the cream cheese/pudding layer mixed, have the pineapple drained, have the Cool Whip thawed, and have the nuts chopped. Just put it all together when you get to your gathering and you’re done! I love that! Yep – you’re all ready with an idea when your hostess asks you to bring a dessert – just bring this Pineapple Frosted Cake and you’re good to go!

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Black and White Bars

As you can see, my mom first made these Black and White Bars in April of 1970! I love that! I love that she and Grandma started the tradition of writing on the recipe the date that they first made that recipe. I do it now and so do my daughters. It’s a fun way to remember just how long we’ve all been making these great recipes. Speaking of long ago, this photo is of me jumping into the water at the lake when I was about 3 years old. I think they used one of those new-fangled cameras called a Polaroid – you know, the kind where you take the photo and peel off the back and then wait for it to develop right before your eyes!

This is a total summer pic – I must say, it sure looks like I was enjoying myself! If water was involved – I KNOW I was! This is why we need really easy, really delicious recipes in the summertime. This is why I designated this the “Nothing But Easy Summer”, so we could get out and enjoy those things we love to do without suffering with bland and yukky food. This is why I’ve been sharing quick to make, easy to do, tasty recipes. I love summer!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Black and White Bars

Cream:

1 cup shortening (I used butter)

2 cups sugar

Add:

4 eggs, unbeaten

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups nuts, chopped

Pour 3/4 of batter into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Add to remaining batter:

2 squares unsweetened baking chocolate, melted

Spoon dollops of chocolate batter onto top of batter in pan as in marble cake.

Swirl.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

The recipe also says you can leave out the baking chocolate, add chocolate chips, and make them as blonde brownies.

Here are the two kinds of batter before the swirl.

I just used a spoon to dollop the chocolate batter on top of the vanilla batter.

The batter – both kinds – was so thick, I didn’t think that maybe this would work. I tried to swirl the batter with a toothpick, but that didn’t work. Then I tried a wooden skewer – the pointed end – and THAT didn’t work. Next I flipped the skewer over and used the flat, cut end, and finally that worked. Sort of. I wasn’t so sure about this.

It worked! Look how pretty they are!

I will totally be making these over and over and over.

This recipe totally fits with the “easy” theme for this summer. They’re so easy to make and they’re so good – I know why my mom’s been making these since 1970! Make a batch or two of these Black and White Bars – maybe put one in the freezer – and get outside and enjoy the summer before we look up and another summer is already gone!

 

Leave a comment »

Fantasy Freeze Pie

Today’s recipe for Fantasy Freeze Pie comes from Grandma’s youngest sister. She submitted it to the last church cookbook that Grandma was involved in, so you know it’s good! I’ve said this before, but Grandma and her sisters were really good at picking the best recipes to keep and serve to their friends and family. This photo is of the youngest sister who submitted this recipe (on the right), and she’s posing with their oldest sister. Somehow my mom managed to get into the photo, too!!

She’s the little pip-squeak in the background wearing the scarf and white shoes! So cute! Grandma’s family was great for taking pictures – whether it was a special occasion or not! They also made many, many, many delicious desserts – whether it was for a special occasion or not! This pie we’re making today is just such a dessert! It can be for a special occasion – or not!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Fantasy Freeze Pie

Mix with electric mixer until well blended:

8 ounce package cream cheese, softened

7 ounce jar marshmallow creme

Add and mix well:

1 cup sherbet, softened (raspberry, lemon, or orange – I used raspberry here)

Fold in:

2 cups thawed Cool Whip (I couldn’t find LaCreme whipped topping)

1/2 cup slivered, toasted almonds, chopped (I used sliced, toasted almonds)

Pour into pre-baked pie shell (I used a store-bought graham cracker crust, but you can make your own).

Freeze until firm.

Here we go – another very easy, very delicious recipe for this summer – perfect for the “Nothing But Easy Summer”!

This pie is so easy to pull together – you just need a mixer and a bowl.

Just mix it all up and into the pie crust it goes.

Once it’s in the crust, into the freezer it goes.

You just gotta have sprinkles.

This pie is perfect for a hot summer day. No oven necessary if you use a store-bought crust. I put plastic wrap over top so it stayed fresh, and saved it for our Sunday family dinner. It’s so easy to make and so tasty. I used the raspberry sherbet, but I want to try the lemon or orange – that would also be so refreshing! Make this frozen Fantasy Freeze Pie and cool off this summer – whether it’s for a special occasion or not!

Leave a comment »

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!

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

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!

 

 

Leave a comment »

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

Mix:

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.

 

 

2 Comments »

Easy Unbaked Bars

Today’s recipe for Easy Unbaked Bars came from one of my sisters-in-law. She brought these to her mother’s 94th birthday celebration last spring, and I had to have the recipe. The name says it all – easy – unbaked – bars. Check, check, and check. That’s the way we like ’em! They’re perfect for this “Nothing But Easy Summer”! I’m not doing anything this summer that isn’t easy. That leaves all possible time during the day to enjoy the summer while it lasts. We’ve had a very cool spring here in Minnesota, and once summer hits – we’ll outside, enjoying every minute before the flakes fly again next fall. Have I mentioned that I’m not doing anything this summer that’s not easy. Right – I’m keeping is easy – nothing but easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Easy Unbaked Bars

Melt in microwave 1 1/2 minutes:

1 10 oz. package of peanut butter chips

1 stick butter

Add:

1/2 to 3/4 bag of miniature marshmallows

In 9″ x 13″ greased pan, put half of a jar of roasted peanuts.

Spread first mixture on top of peanuts.

Top with other half of jar of peanuts.

That’s it – easy!

Go ahead and get the first layer of peanuts ready before starting on the middle layer.

There really aren’t a lot of ingredients for these. It’s amazing how that makes for such an addictive treat.

Melt the chips and butter and stir until smooth.

Stir in the mini marshmallows – they’ll get a bit melty, yet still hold their shape.

You might want to spoon on the middle layer so you can cover the bottom layer of peanuts while keeping the peanuts in place.

Once the top layer of peanuts is on, I recommend you put the whole pan into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Did I mention that these are addictive? Oh my.

It’s a good thing that these bars are easy to make, cuz I think we’re all going to be making a lot or pans of these over the course of the summer. Yep – nothing but easy – and ridiculously, deliciously addictive, I might add. Watch out for these! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! You and everyone you know will get hooked on these Easy Unbaked Bars!

 

 

 

Leave a comment »

Rhubarb Jam with Apricot

This recipe for Rhubarb Jam with Apricot is one of the additional recipes on Grandma’s card for Rhubarb Jam. She wrote on her card about 3 other kinds of pie filling that would be good in her recipe for Rhubarb Jam, so I decided to try them all. I’ve already tried Rhubarb Jam with Blueberry, and next up is the Rhubarb Jam with Apricot, which would also be good. I’m sure this is a bit confusing but my original recipe for Rhubarb Jam on Plenty Sweet Life was from one of Grandma’s old church cookbooks. Then I found Grandma’s recipe card with her recipe written on it, along with the 3 different flavors she also thought would be good. That’s where the confusion is – the recipe for Rhubarb Jam from the church cookbook and Grandma’s original Rhubarb Jam (from my post for Rhubarb Jam with Blueberry) recipe on her card are basically the same, so I didn’t make that recipe again. Ok. I’m glad we have that straightened out! Whew!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Jam with Apricot

Mix together and let stand overnight:

5 cups rhubarb, chopped

3 cups sugar

Cook 20 minutes.

Stir in:

1 small package strawberry jello

1 can apricot pie filling

Pour into jars.

Store in refrigerator.

I let the rhubarb and sugar sit in the refrigerator overnight, covered with plastic wrap. This makes a nice amount of juice with which to make the jam.

After cooking the rhubarb and sugar mixture for 20 minutes, all you do is stir in the Strawberry Jello and apricot pie filling.

I use a wide mouth funnel to get the jam into the jars without spilling TOO much. There was enough jam for 2 pint sized jars and 3 smaller containers (a taste that went home with my kids).

You can see the chunks of delicious rhubarb in the jam. Oh my goodness, oh my goodness.

I like to use the jam for a topping on yogurt. Don’t forget a little sprinkling of Granola on top, too.

Like most, if not all, of Grandma’s recipes, this jam is absolutely delicious with an apricot flavor that mellowed a bit the next day. It’s so easy to make, and great for a hostess gift if you’re spending a weekend at a cabin, heading to a barbeque, or just want to make someone’s day. We’re keeping it a “Nothing But Easy Summer” by making this easy to make, delicious Rhubarb Jam with Apricot!

 

Leave a comment »

Rhubarb Cake

Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Cake comes from a family friend, and my mom’s had this recipe for many years. I’m calling this one Rhubarb Cake, but I have also made Rhubarb Cake with Orange Sauce. I hope that won’t be confusing. I really don’t know if you can ever have TOO MANY rhubarb recipes. Every one is different, everyone is good, every one is a MUST DO. Rhubarb is only here for a such a short time, and unless you freeze some for using next spring, like I did with the rhubarb for this recipe, you have to be quick and make as many recipes as you can. I usually don’t have enough rhubarb to freeze, but I did last year, as you can see in my post for Freezing Rhubarb. That’s how I was able to make this recipe before my rhubarb was quite ready to pick. I get anxious to make rhubarb recipes BEFORE the rhubarb is ready – every spring! It’s good to know that the frozen rhubarb works in this one – and I didn’t even thaw it. Seriously, I just put it in frozen when I stirred it in. “Nothing But Easy Summer”, baby!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Cake

For topping:

Mix together and set aside:

1/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup nuts, chopped

1 teaspoon cinnamon

For cake:

Cream:

1/2 cup shortening (I used butter)

Add:

1 1/2 cup white sugar

Mix well.

Add:

1/2 teaspoon salt

Beat in:

1 egg

Add alternately to first mixture, beginning and ending with flour:

1 teaspoon baking soda in 1 cup sour milk (1 cup milk plus 1 Tablespoon vinegar)

2 cups plus 1 Tablespoon flour

Stir in:

3 cups rhubarb, finely cut up

Pour batter into 9″ x 13″ metal pan.

Sprinkle topping over cake batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes (because I used the frozen rhubarb, it took about an extra 10 minutes to bake).

I like to mix up the topping before starting so I’m ready for it in the end.

I used some frozen rhubarb for this, so I didn’t have this finely cut up – it was just the way I cut it up when I froze it.

Sprinkle on the ginormous amount of topping – yes, it all goes on there!

This cake smells so good when it’s baking! It took a little longer to bake since I used the frozen rhubarb, but other than that – no difference.

You must have the obligatory ice cream or whipped cream with a rhubarb dessert. You just have to.

This one totally fits into the “Nothing But Easy Summer” theme. I love cake that’s very easy to make and very easy to eat – this IS that cake. The topping makes frosting unnecessary, too – more easiness. It’s so delicious, you’re going to want to run right out, pick a bunch of that rhubarb, and make this Rhubarb Cake!

 

Leave a comment »

The New Vintage Kitchen

A Vermont innkeeper's collection of vintage recipes, reimagined for today's cooks.

Bernadine’s Corner

Recipes * Lifestyle

Convivial Supper

Recipes from the Past

Cooking Without Limits

Food Photography & Recipes

Mrs. Twinkle

My Wonderful Little World

eASYbAKED

a collection of recipes