Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert – that’s quite a mouthful. That’s exactly what you’re gonna want of this dessert – a mouthful! Well, more than a mouthful, for sure! Oh my goodness – this is the tastiest thing I’ve tried in many, many years. I have done other pumpkin desserts on Plenty Sweet Life, like Pumpkin Crunch Dessert and Pumpkin Pie Dessert, plus many other pumpkin pies and cakes, but this one is the tastiest – in my opinion. I keep saying it, and you all know how I feel about it, but those old church cookbooks are THE ABSOLUTE BEST. Especially in this case. This recipe came from one of Grandma’s church cookbooks, and it. Is. So. Good. I’m not even kidding with this one. The best thing about this recipe is that you can make it ahead. I should have posted this in the first part of September, because it would be great anytime from September through the end of December. This is a total make-ahead wonder. You HAVE to make this one ahead of time, which is absolutely perfect for holiday entertaining. You’ll see what I mean as we go along. I’m not sure how long you could keep this in the freezer, but I had it in there at least a week and it was perfectly fine. That’s the beauty of this one – you can make it ahead and it’s unbelievably delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert


30 gingersnaps, crushed (yes – store-bought)

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

Press into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Freeze until firm.

Spread over crust:

1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream, softened (most ice cream containers are 1 1/2 qts now, not 2 – I used the 1 1/2 qt one and it was fine – you can use the exact amount, if you want to, then just buy two containers)


1 cup pumpkin

1/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon ginger

Spread over ice cream.

Spread over top of all:

12 ounce Cool Whip (I couldn’t find a 12 oz container, so I used an 8 oz – I’d use 2 of those next time)

Sprinkle additional gingersnaps over top, if desired.

Freeze until serving.

Even though the recipe doesn’t say to melt the butter, the crust reminded me of a graham cracker crust, so I thought melted butter would work best.

I just put all the crust ingredients into the food processor. Easy peasy.

If you have the pumpkin layer ready to go before starting, it’s pretty fast to pull together.

I felt that since both the ice cream and Cool Whip amounts were smaller than the recipe called for, I might be able to get away with a smaller pan. Nope.

Once the crust and ice cream layers were in, there wasn’t much room in my smaller pan.

There was room to put the pumpkin layer on, but no room for the Cool Whip. Don’t panic – just worry about the Cool Whip later. At this point, into the freezer with the pan.

You can see here how close I was cutting it for fitting it all into the smaller pan. No worries – a spoonful of Cool Whip will work just as well! The 8 ounce container worked just fine for putting a dollop on top, but if I had used a bigger pan and had the room, I’d have put in the exact amount called for.

See? How pretty is this?!! I used sprinkles, of course, and they are so cute! There’s no reason not to be festive at the same time. For some reason, the gingersnaps stayed in bigger chunks instead of breaking up more into crumbs. Good thing I used the food processor on the crust!

Let me just say this one more time – this is the best pumpkin dessert I’ve had in many, many years!!! It is so flavorful and tasty – I could hardly believe it! It’s my new favorite! I know, I know, I say that all the time. This time I mean it! Make this now for your thanksgiving gatherings. I think if you make it this weekend, or next, and wrap it well, it should be fine. Just wrap well (airtight) to stay away from that “freezer” smell and taste. Let other people bring the pies – your Gingersnap Pumpkin Ice Cream Dessert will be the big hit – I guarantee it!



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.




Rhubarb Crisp

I’m not sure where this recipe for Rhubarb Crisp came from, but I found it in my mom’s recipe box. It looks old, so I’d guess it came from Grandma originally, but it’s possible mom got it from someone she worked with years ago. I had to share this photo of my grandma and grandpa with my mom and my uncle because I think there might be some rhubarb growing right behind them. Actually, I’m not too sure that this photo was taken on the farm, but even if it wasn’t, there was probably some rhubarb growing there no matter who’s house it was. Grandma and family were not too into taking family photos that weren’t formal. That’s why this photo is so awesome! It’s just a nice casual photo of a beautiful summer day.

I just love this one!

Grandma grew (and used) as much rhubarb as possible. She had a LOT of rhubarb recipes. Rhubarb was one thing that was ALWAYS in everyone’s garden back in the day. It grows almost like a weed, keeps coming back every year, and it’s absolutely delicious in everything you could possibly bake with it: cakes, pies, desserts, jam, bread or muffins. You could grow it beside your garage, in your garden, or right in the middle of your backyard. The season is short (my mom always says you should only use it until it starts to get “woody”, which is through the end of June, at most) so you have to make the most of it and bake all of your favorite rhubarb recipes while you can.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crisp

Cut up and put into a 9″ x 13″ pan:

3 cups rhubarb (I used 4 cups)

Beat and pour over to top of the rhubarb:

1 cup sugar

2 eggs, beaten

3 Tablespoons quick tapioca

Crumbs for topping – mix together and sprinkle on top of all:

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter, slightly softened

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

I mixed up the crumb topping first so it was ready to go. You could use a fork, two knives, or a pastry blender, but I just used my fingertips to make it crumbly.

The eggs don’t really need to be beaten before mixing the batter together.

It all mixes up pretty well.

I used 4 cups of rhubarb instead of 3 cups, just because that’s how much I got when I cut up all the stalks that I had picked. I think it could have used even more rhubarb. The batter looks like it will hardly cover all the rhubarb. I used a small spoon and tried to spread it on as evenly as possible.

Over the top of everything goes the crumb topping. Sprinkle it ALL on there!

After baking it really doesn’t look like much.

Oh boy – this is good!

My family decided that this is a keeper. It’s one of the most delicious rhubarb recipes I have ever tried. It really is that good. It got a bit flat, and like I said above, it doesn’t look like much, but boy oh boy, is it good. Seriously, it was almost like candy. Sweet yet tart, crunchy on top yet almost creamy underneath. Mmmmm. You could serve this with whipped cream, but I happened to have some vanilla ice cream – and if you’re going to serve it with ice cream, I highly recommend you serve it warm. Not hot – just warm – and let the ice cream melt and immerse the crisp in all that vanilla, creamy goodness. I know you can find some rhubarb growing somewhere. If you don’t have your own rhubarb plants, get to know your neighbors and see if you could pick just enough from their rhubarb plants to make this delicious Rhubarb Crisp!




Pistachio Torte

Today’s recipe for Pistachio Torte comes from one of Grandma’s sisters, who probably got it from someone she knew. This is a dessert perfect for springtime – very green and delicious. Springtime was so much fun at Grandma and Grandpa’s farm, mainly because it seemed like we didn’t visit that much during the winter. I’m not sure if there was an actual reason for that, or if it was just because we live in Minnesota and whether you believe in climate change or not, we know that winters are NOT as bad now as they were back in the day. It seemed like the snow never went away in those days, and when spring finally did come, the windows were thrown open (no matter what the temperature) bringing in cold, fresh air to clear out the house. This happened both at the farm and at our house, and we found out when we took our trip to Sweden and Norway that cleaning like this is a cultural thing – not just a family thing. The need to do spring cleaning in this way are just those Scandinavian family traits coming through. We would go to the farm in the spring and everything was mud after the thaw of winter’s ice and snow, where green and growing things were coming up everywhere. It was just so nice to get out and be able to explore everything from the new baby pigs in the pen to the carp swimming in the fields flooded from winter’s snow dump to the green tips of who knows what kind of plants coming up in Grandma’s front garden. It was just fun to be outside in that cold, crisp, manure-scented, fresh not-in-the-house air.

On that note, let’s get back to this delicious Pistachio Torte. You’ll see as we go along that I have some thoughts on a way to change this recipe a bit – making it even more easy to make.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pistachio Torte



1 cup flour

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup butter

Press into a 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.

Let cool.

1st Layer:

Mix together:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces Cool Whip

2/3 cup powdered sugar

Spread half of this mixture on crust.

2nd Layer:

Mix together:

2 packages Jello Pistachio Instant Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk

Spread on top of crust and Cool Whip layer.

On top of the pudding, spread the rest of the Cool Whip mixture.

Can sprinkle nuts on top, if desired.

I just used my knuckles to press down the crust.

Next layer – half of the Cool Whip mixture. I think it would work better to make this layer the full amount of the Cool Whip mixture, and then just top the dessert with a layer of Cool Whip. The Cool Whip mixture is just barely enough to get spread over the whole crust.

Next layer is the pudding. I put it in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to let it firm up. The rest of the Cool Whip mixture was hard to spread on the pudding – maybe because it condensed a bit when I took it out of the refrigerator and there was a thin film of moisture on top of it? I don’t know – that’s part of why I think it might be better to put the entire Cool Whip mixture in as the 2nd layer and then the pudding and then a layer of just Cool Whip on top.

Instead of topping the dessert with a sprinkling of chopped nuts, I used sprinkles and made it pretty and festive. I made this according to the recipe, but next time I would like to see how it goes to make the Cool Whip mixture just one layer. I have no doubt that either way, it would be just as delicious.

This makes such a pretty springtime dessert, not to mention that it’s absolutely delicious! It’s easy to do and it’s so good. This might be a nice and easy Easter dessert – hence the sprinkles. Some jelly beans on top or a Peeps chick or a bunny or two would be nice decorations and make it more festive for the holiday. I think you’d better make your family and friends happy, go ahead and celebrate spring, and make this Pistachio Torte.



Leave a comment »

French Cherry Dessert

This recipe for French Cherry Dessert is somewhat like a Pavlova, but the quick and easy version, and a little bit different. Because this dessert is so amazingly delicious, I can imagine Grandma being served this at some gathering and immediately asking for the recipe. I’m sure she couldn’t wait to share it with HER family and friends. She loved to make an impression, and I’m sure she would have liked to try out this dessert on Grandpa’s brothers. In honor of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday, I’m sharing a photo of a couple of Grandpa’s brothers who are in this photo of their town’s (a very small town) baseball team. I love this photo so much. Grandpa’s brothers are the second and third from the right in the back row – at least those are the only two that I know of on the picture. It cracks me up how serious the whole team is – looking so tough. They’ve got the game-face on.

The uniforms are just the best, and I love the little guy in his best outfit. I bet he was someone’s little brother and couldn’t wait until he could play on the team. As far as I know, I don’t think Grandpa ever played on that team. You sure can tell those two brothers are brothers – they look exactly alike – and they aren’t even twins!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

French Cherry Dessert


Bear until foamy:

3 egg whites

Beat in until stiff peaks form:

1 cup sugar

Combine and fold in carefully:

20 saltine crackers, crushed

1 teaspoon baking powder

Fold in:

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon white vinegar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Spread in a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan and bake 20 minutes at 325 degrees.


Combine and beat until smooth:

8 ounces cream cheese

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Spread on top of the baked crust.

Top with:

8 ounce Cool Whip


21 ounce can cherry pie filling (Grandma says here that you can also use another flavor of pie filling)

Store in refrigerator.

I had to use my offset spatula to spread out the meringue. It doesn’t make a very thick crust.

After baking, the crust sunk a bit and was even thinner.

There was barely enough of the filling mixture to cover the whole crust. Good thing it’s covered up with Cool Whip and no one will see it!

Top it with cherry pie filling and that’s it!

I had to get a shot of my store-bought tulips in there – they’re not coming up in the yard yet.

The dessert did firm up after being in the refrigerator overnight, but who cares? This is one of my new favorites – again! The crust is delicious and the filling, Cool Whip, and cherries make it a great dessert to serve for any occasion. Try this French Cherry Dessert, and maybe serve it for Opening Day!



Leave a comment »

Apple Dessert #2

I have several recipes like this Apple Dessert #2. Remember in my post for Can’t Wait Apple Cake, where I was telling you that when Grandma and her sisters (and brothers) were growing up, they probably had an apple tree in their yard, and that’s maybe why they shared so many apple recipes (even if they didn’t have a tree in their yard, they must have known people who did have one)? Well, this one comes from one of Grandma’s older sisters, but must have originally come from their youngest sister because her name’s on it. I tell ya, those sisters had their own recipe swap – and I’m so glad they did! The recipe for today is a lot like what we made when I was growing up that we called apple crisp. The first recipe I made for the blog was named Apple Dessert is what we DID make and call apple crisp. Then I found one of Grandma’s recipes actually named Apple Crisp, and it wasn’t what we’d been making all those years. Now I found this Apple Dessert #2, and it’s another totally different one. Oh well, whatever it’s called – it’s amazingly delicious whether you use apples off of a tree in your yard, or use apples bought at a store.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Apple Dessert #2

Mix together in a 7″ x 11″ pan:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cups oatmeal

1 cup flour

Pat in bottom of pan, saving 1 heaping cup out for topping.

Mix together:

1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon cinnamon

Add to:

4 cups apples, cored and sliced (peeled, if desired)

Put on top of bottom crust.

Top with extra crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

I like to get all the dry ingredients together before slicing the apples – that way the apples don’t get too brown before baking.

It seems like it’s hard to get all of the crust spread out into the bottom of the pan, but I sprinkled it in with my fingers and then pressed it down with the back of my knuckles, and that worked great. Don’t forget to save the heaping cup of crumbs for the topping.

Mix together the apples and the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Can you ever have too much cinnamon, really? I think not.

On goes the rest of the crumbs and into the oven with this beauty.

Oh wow – that smell of apples and cinnamon while this is baking . . . heavenly!

Apple season doesn’t last long enough for me. I love apples, and this is another very easy, very quick, very delicious dessert to make any time of the year, not just apple season. Apple Dessert, Apple Crisp, or Apple Dessert #2 – no matter what you call it – you need to make it!


Leave a comment »

Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert

This recipe for Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert came from my mom (the chocoholic), who got it from someone she knew, who got it from one of those old church cookbooks from the look of it. There’s nothing better than those old cookbooks. If you follow this blog at all, you know how I feel about those old church cookbooks. They’re just the best, and I love them. August always seems to be hot and humid here in Minnesota, so what better to cool us off than a frozen dessert? And it’s not even ice cream!

Technically, this is a four-layer dessert – they left off the fact that you add an extra layer of Cool Whip on top of everything!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert

First Layer:

Mix like pastry:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup butter

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

Press in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.


Second Layer:

Beat well:

8 ounces cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

Fold in:

8 ounce container Cool Whip

Spread on the baked and cooled crust.

Third Layer:

Mix together:

2 packages instant chocolate pudding

1 3/4 cup milk

Spread over second layer.

Top with:

8 ounces Cool Whip

Sprinkle with:

1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used toasted, sliced almonds for this also)


The first layer is the only time you have to turn on your oven for this one.

The second layer goes on pretty easily.

The third layer was thin, but if the second layer shows through, who’s gonna know?

This freezes pretty hard, and my daughter suggested running the knife under warm water first. Genius.

This is technically a four-layer dessert, so don’t forget to buy two 8 ounce containers of Cool Whip (or one 16 ounce size) for this one. Trust me, if you have to wait a day to get the second one, it’s going to turn out ok. Not that I know anything about that. Maybe. I was also thinking that this might be good with chopped Snickers or Heath bars on the top instead of chopped nuts. Hmm. I might have to try this again. Make this Three-Layer Chocolate Dessert and help your friends and family stay cool for the rest of the summer – not that this dessert will last that long!



Dessert #6

Today’s recipe for Dessert #6 (there seems to be a LOT of dessert recipes in Grandma’s file – at least 6 just simple named “dessert”!) comes from Grandma’s youngest sister who got it from her daughter-in-law’s mother. I love that. That’s how these great recipes just keep getting passed around – because they’re GREAT! Actually, I have three different copies of this recipe: this one that’s Grandma’s, one that’s from another sister (who was exactly 2 years older than her), and one that’s from the above mentioned youngest sister. I guess they all liked it! The sisters definitely shared those recipes that were “V Good”, and that’s what this one is – V Good!

Note the “V Good” connotation again on this one!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dessert #6

Mix together:

80 Ritz Crackers, crushed

1/2 cup melted margarine or butter (I used butter)

Save 3/4 cup for topping.

Put rest in bottom of 9″ x 13″ pan.

Mix together:

2 packages Butter Pecan Instant Pudding (I couldn’t find this – maybe they don’t make it anymore –  and Grandma’s recipe was the only one with this ingredient – I just used Vanilla Instant Pudding (that’s what the other 2 recipes called for) and added 1/4 cup toasted pecans)

2 1/2 cups milk

Stir in:

1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened

Pour on top of crust.

At this point I put the pan into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to let the pudding/ice cream mixture firm up a bit.

Top with:

1-8 ounce container of Cool Whip

Reserved 3/4 cup Ritz Cracker mixture

Nuts or cherries can be added (I don’t know if she means in the pudding/ice cream mixture or on top).

I like how this recipe says the exact number of crackers to crush. Sometimes it’s hard to know how much of things to use when they keep changing the size of products so often.

It’s a simple crust – crackers and melted butter. Don’t forget to keep out the 3/4 cup for the topping!

Soften the ice cream and it will be easier to stir it into the pudding. I used a whisk at first, but then changed to a spatula once the ice cream started to melt in. It might be interesting to play around with different pudding flavors in this!

I had a few lumps of ice cream that just wouldn’t stir smooth, but in the end it didn’t seem to make much difference. It was smooth once it was chilled.

It was easier to spread the Cool Whip over the top after making dollops with a spoon and then spreading it. Be gentle – the pudding layer isn’t totally firmed up yet. Sprinkle the crumbs on top!

The recipe says you can add nuts and cherries, so I added a strawberry. That makes it a healthy dessert, right? This dessert is delicious just the way it is, and if you like it of a more soft consistency, serve it right away. I made this during a very hot week, and I put it into the freezer – it was nice and firm and nice and cold! It’s a great dessert to keep in your freezer for unexpected guests! If Grandma and her sisters say it’s “V Good” – it’s “V Good” – and you’ll love this Dessert #6, too!




5 Frosty Desserts for Hot Summer Days

We need 5 Frosty Desserts for Hot Summer Days because we’re in it now – those glorious summer days of sunshine and heat. What’s better than a nice, frosty dessert when you’ve been at the beach all day, you’re visiting someone’s cabin, or you have a family gathering to go to? Here are 5 desserts that will keep you cool this summer!

Frozen Lemon Pie

Homemade Ice Cream and Root Beer Floats

Frozen Salad or Dessert

Dessert #2

Heath Bar Crunch Ice Cream


Leave a comment »

Rhubarb Dessert

Today’s recipe for Rhubarb Dessert came from my mother-in-law. She got it out of one of HER old church cookbooks, and by the date on the recipe, she just tried this one a couple of years ago. That would just make her 91 years old and still trying new recipes (she’s 93 now)!

This photo is of my in-laws with the wonderful baby who would grow up to marry me!

My mother-in-law sure looks great so soon after having a baby – they were still in the hospital here.

She made a copy of the rhubarb recipe, gave it to my husband when he was down there visiting her one weekend, and told him to give it to me because it was so good! She had made this dessert and then brought some to a neighbor. Well, this is another one that I HAVE to try! Those little ladies who make the church cookbooks really know what they’re doing. It’s amazing how they keep on finding these recipes with a few simple ingredients that are absolutely delicious!

I have to say it – here’s another one of my new favorites!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Dessert

Spread in an 8″ x 12″ pan:

2 cup rhubarb, chopped (I would use 3-4 cups)

Mix together and spread over rhubarb:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 heaping Tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon vanilla


6 Tablespoons shortening or butter (I used butter)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

Sprinkle mixture over rhubarb.

Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

I added an extra cup or so of rhubarb and I would put even more in next time. But then, I love rhubarb, and I don’t think you can ever have enough.

Use a gentle hand when spreading the second layer and it will cover it all.

I used my hands to bring the third layer together and then sprinkled it on top of everything.

This smells so amazing while baking – enjoy that.

This is another easy, simple to make, and ridiculously delicious recipe. Take advantage of the rhubarb (if you still have some) and make this tasty dessert that’s even more delicious with a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream. You and your family are going to love this Rhubarb Dessert.


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


a collection of recipes