Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Dessert #5

This recipe for Dessert #5 is just another in a long line of incredibly easy and incredibly delicious recipes that I found in Grandma’s file. This is such a classic “Grandma recipe”, that I was remembering her while making this, and had to share an old photo. This is so typical of the kinds of photos Grandma and Grandpa used to take. The photos were always sort of formal, but this particular one is a bit on the casual side – maybe because they’re standing next to the Snowball Bush that was in the middle of the yard. I love that the shed is in the background. That’s where Grandpa kept all of his equipment – tractors, farm vehicles, and his workbench area where you could find anything you needed for fix-it jobs without having to go to town! On the back corner of the shed was where the black raspberry bush was. Wow – were those fresh-picked berries good on a bowl of vanilla ice cream in the summertime!

We always had ice cream in the evenings when we stayed at the farm in the summer. That’s why I felt in the mood to make this dessert. We had such hot weather here in Minnesota, I decided to try this so we could cool off with a tasty treat.

This is just ridiculously easy to make.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Dessert #5

For the crust:


2 rolls (about 60 crackers) Ritz Crackers


1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

Blend and pat into 9″ x 13″ cake pan.

Keep out 3/4 cup for topping.

For the filling:

Mix together:

16 ounce Cool Whip

1 can sweetened condensed milk

6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (I just used a larger can of o.j. concentrate, let it thaw, and measured out 6 ounces)

1 large can pineapple tidbits or crushed pineapple, drained

1 large can mandarin oranges, drained

Spread on top of crust.

Top with the remaining crust crumbs.

Refrigerate (she says on the recipe that this also freezes well).

I didn’t want to crush the crackers in the food processor because I thought it would turn them to mush, so I used the old “rolling-pin and a zip top bag” system to keep the crumbs a bit larger.

This is essentially a graham cracker crust, only you’re using Ritz Crackers instead.

Using sweetened condensed milk in this makes it “plenty sweet”. Next time I think I’ll try tomake without it and see if it makes that much of a difference.

Grandma used to keep the juice when she drained canned fruit. You could drink it (I don’t know if they had fruit in its own juice yet back then, or if it all had the syrup!) or use it in iced tea or find some other use for it (I was thinking of using it for a cocktail). Grandma and her family survived the Great Depression, and you weren’t allowed to waste it.

Yes – this makes a full cake pan. It’s a big batch – enough for a party!

I kept 3/4 of a cup of crumbs to put on top – I think that was about right.

It seems a bit soft when you put this into the refrigerator, but it does set up nice. Leaving it in overnight helps it firm up better. I did put a piece into the freezer to see if would be alright, and it was. It was better just in the refrigerator, in my opinion. This is a delicious dessert that’s nice on a hot summer day. It would be nice on any day – or maybe a party day. You’re family and friends are going to love this Dessert #5!

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Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

The card for this recipe doesn’t have a title, so I’m calling it Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert. I don’t know why,  but rhubarb recipes always remind me of Grandma, even if they aren’t from her. I wanted to share this photo today, of Grandma and Grandpa (on the left) and Grandma’s sister and her husband. Grandma and this sister had their birthdays on the same day, but 2 years apart. I just love this picture!

They look so young and so happy! These sisters were so close and such good friends, that I’m sure they spent many afternoons chatting over cups of coffee and some of these rhubarb recipes. This recipe is so easy and so delicious, that you’re ALL going to want to try this one!

This sounds like another weird one, but trust me, this one is really good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert

Mix according to package directions:

1 yellow or lemon cake mix (I used lemon for this one)

Put in 9″ x 13″ pan.

Pour over cake mix:

5 cups chopped rhubarb

Then over that:

1 1/2 cups sugar

Pour over top of all:

1/2 pint whipping cream (I mistakenly bought Half-n-Half to make this and didn’t realize it until I was about to pour it on – it worked fine)

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Serve upside down with whipped cream (or ice cream).

This one takes a lot of rhubarb – that means a lot of chopping.

I know it sounds weird, but put the cake batter into the pan, sprinkle on the rhubarb, then on goes the sugar.

Pour the whipping cream over the top of everything.

After baking, it looks totally different. It’s ok – this is what it’s supposed to look like.

Don’t forget to put it on the plate upside down. You can see the how the rhubarb goes to the bottom of the pan and so do the sugar and whipping cream, so it makes a delicious custardy topping for the cake.

As far as I’m concerned, it’s delicious just the way it is, but Grandma always liked to gild the lily.

That means adding the whipped cream at the end. I used lemon cake mix instead of yellow for this cake, and it was delicious but a bit overpowering. I think the yellow cake mix lets the rhubarb flavor come through better. Either way is so easy and so tasty, that I hope you’ll all try this Rhubarb Upside Down Dessert.





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Rhubarb Crumble

Rhubarb Crumble is one of Grandma’s recipes that doesn’t seem to make sense. I think it’s more of a cake than a “crumble”. When I think of a “crumble”, I think of more of a “crisp”, but this recipe makes more of a cake. In fact, I’d say it reminds me of more of a coffee cake. It’s perfect for a Mother’s Day brunch or afternoon coffee. The recipe is a bit mixed up, so I had to figure out what to do with this one. Let’s get started and you’ll see what I mean.

This delicious crumble/cake is loaded with rhubarb.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crumble


Mix together and set aside:

3 Tablespoons, melted butter

2/3 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts (I used pecans)

Mix together in order given:

1/3 cup margarine (I used butter)

1 cup sugar

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup orange juice

2 Tablespoons grated orange rind

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 1/3 cup self-rising cake flour (I never have cake flour OR self-rising flour in the house, so I had to go to Google and find out how to make a substitute: 2 1/3 cups flour, 1/2 heaping t. salt, 2 1/2 heaping t. baking powder – whisk together and sift 5 times to make it light.)

The recipe also calls for adding 1/4 cup chopped nuts into the batter, but I left the out in this one.

Fold in:

1 pound rhubarb, cut into 1 inch pieces

Spoon into greased 9 inch springform pan.

Add topping.

Bake at 350 degrees for 60 to 65 minutes.

I didn’t see the part about the rhubarb needing to be in 1 inch pieces until I had already cut it into 1/4 inch pieces. It was just fine.

You can see how full of rhubarb the batter is, and that bit of orange in there is really tasty.

The crumble topping goes on top and then after baking, it makes a delicious crumb top.

Not only is this a delicious cake – it’s beautiful! I put it on the glass plate pedestal I made a few years ago, and you can find the instructions for how to make that here.

The springform pan makes it easy to cut the pretty pieces, but I think you could also bake this in a 9 inch x 9 inch pan.

This beautiful and delicious crumble/cake would make the perfect brunch dessert for Mother’s Day. It would also be perfect for your afternoon coffee. Serve this Rhubarb Crumble with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and mom will be so glad – and proud – that you baked!





Lemon Dessert #2

The recipe for today is one of the most delicious recipes I’ve done to date. I’m so grateful to my daughter for hauling home the lemons and for her college roommate for letting her pick the lemons off of the tree in her backyard. Those lemons have definitely brightened up our winter.


Today’s recipe for Lemon Dessert #2 is very similar to another Lemon Dessert I posted about a couple of years ago. But this one is better! I just have to say up front – that this dessert is the most delicious thing I’ve eaten in years! I’m not even kidding. I wouldn’t kid you about a thing like this. It is – and I don’t use this word often – AMAZING.  My family decided it was like eating baby angels. So ridiculously “melt in your mouth” good. This dessert is a lot like a Pavlova, only it’s in a cake pan instead of on a baking sheet.



Here is the recipe as I made it:

Lemon Dessert #2

Beat for 15 minutes:

8 egg whites

2 cups sugar

1/2 Tablespoon vinegar (I used white vinegar)

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Put into a 9″ x 13″ pan and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour.

Turn oven off and let stand in oven for 20 minutes.

For filling:

Cook in a double boiler until thick:

8 egg yolks, beaten a little

1 cup sugar

Grated rind of 2 lemons (Grandma noted that she didn’t use this, but I did)

6 Tablespoons lemon juice

Cool both crust and filling.


1 pint whipping cream (it doesn’t say to add any sugar to the whipped cream, but I added about 2 Tablespoons – it seemed weird to me to not have it sweetened just a bit)

Put about half of the whipped cream on top of the crust, then the lemon filling, then the rest of the whipped cream.

Sprinkle coconut on top of everything and refrigerate overnight.


This is my double boiler – a glass bowl sitting on top of a pan of simmering water. Does anyone use double boilers anymore? This works just fine.


Here are more of those beautiful lemons!


There was so much meringue for the crust that it almost overflowed in the oven! I pushed it down a bit around the edges so I could get the other goodies on top.


The filling doesn’t seem to get thick when you’re mixing it in the double boiler. I cooked this for about 20 minutes and finally just decided to take it off the heat. It did firm up and got thick as it cooled a bit.


So beautiful – layer by layer.


Not everyone in my family loves coconut. I do. Love it.


Here it is – like eating baby angels. I’m not even kidding.


You’re going to want to try this dessert. It takes some time to make, but it’s very easy to do. You’re going to have to trust me on this one and just do it. You’ll be glad you did and you’ll love having this recipe in your arsenal. It’s a very elegant and very delicious dessert – just ask the baby angels.







Jiffy Dessert

This recipe comes from one of Grandma’s sisters but originally came from her daughter, who is my godmother. I just love these easy desserts where you just need a couple of ingredients and you can pull it together quickly at the last-minute. I mean, if you have surprise guests show up, this one can be made in a jiffy! Ha! Hence the name. You can have the ingredients for this Jiffy Dessert in the cupboard and on hand at any time. Perfect. Nobody has to know that you didn’t work all day on this dessert.

Jiffy Dessert - Copy

This really is incredibly easy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Jiffy Dessert

Mix together until crumbly:

1 package Jiffy Cake Mix (I could only find a yellow one, but they used to have white and chocolate, too – you could use whatever you can find or, since these cake mixes are a single layer size, double the recipe, use a regular cake mix and put it in a 9″x 13″ pan)

1/3 margarine (I used butter)

Pour half in the bottom of an 8″ x 8″ pan.


1 can pie filling (you can use any kind, but for this I used blueberry)

Pour on top of crust in bottom of pan.

Sprinkle rest of crumbs on top of pie filling.

Sprinkle on top:

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

Bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour.


I finally found the Jiffy Cake Mix at our local Fleet Farm (farm supply store) store. It’s kind of hard to find it these days.


Before and after baking, this comes together really fast.


On the card she said it would be good with ice cream or Cool Whip, and she was right. I used whipped cream – the kind that comes out of a can.


This easy dessert is great when you need something really fast. It’s delicious (it was best warm) and your guests won’t have to know how quick and easy it is. They’ll think you were baking all day anticipating their arrival. I won’t tell if you don’t!




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Peach Crisp

August is the time for peaches, and I just love them. It would be nice if they would stay just the way they are and I could just look at them forever – use them in home decorating or keep them in a bowl on the kitchen counter or maybe make candle holders out of them. Well, maybe not. But they’re sooooo beautiful! I always buy a “crate” of them when I see them in the produce department of my grocery store. My mom always bought one when my sister and I were growing up, and aside from making a pie or two, we ate ALL the peaches. I have posted a couple of recipes for Peach Pie with Never Fail Crust and Glazed Peach Pie, but I decided that there must be a way to make a Peach Crisp, and I decided to try an experiment and make it using the Apple Crisp recipe that I’ve also posted before. Let’s see what happens.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Peach Crisp

Slice into 9″ x 9″ baking pan:

enough peaches to cover the bottom (or as many as you want)

Mix together:

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Rub into dry mixture:

1/2 cup butter

Spread over peaches.

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden.


Slice enough delicious peaches to cover the bottom of the pan. I used a 9″ x 9″ pan instead of the 9″ x 13″ pan I would use for an apple crisp, but kept the same amount of crumble. I think peaches are going to be juicier than apples and more crumble is always better!


I am making this up as I go, so I cut the sugar a bit (peaches are sweeter than apples) and cut the cinnamon a bit (I wanted a taste of cinnamon, but not as much as you would put in for apples).


I used my pastry blender to cut in the butter, but you could use two forks or even your hands to make the crumble.


Sprinkle the crumble on top of the peaches and into the oven it goes.


The crisp came out golden brown on top and bubbly!


This experiment was a success! The peaches are so sweet and the crumble is absolutely delicious! You just HAVE to serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Or maybe some whipped cream. Or even plain. Get yourself some of these beauties and make something delicious!







Junket Danish Dessert

Today’s recipe is summer on the farm to me. It’s funny how food can bring back so many specific memories, and this dessert can really do it. Me and my sister would spend time during summer vacation at grandma and grandpa’s farm, and when it came time for lunch, that was when we had the big meal. Grandpa, being a farmer, needed that energy for the hard work he would do all afternoon and sometimes into the evening. It was always fun to have dessert at lunchtime instead of dinnertime. It was so strange to me, but I loved it. We called this Danish Pudding, but the official name on the box is Junket Danish Dessert. I never asked Grandma about this, but I wonder if the reason they first tried this dessert is because my grandpa was half Danish. Hmm. Could be. Heritage was always very important to those two! Whatever the reason, I’m glad they made it a part of the tradition of visiting at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I do remember that when I finally got to help Grandma make this, I was amazed at how simple it was. It’s just a box of the dessert and water. It’s so easy to make and so unbelievably good! We usually had the strawberry kind, which is my personal favorite, but for this post I used the raspberry flavor. This dessert was also used, occasionally, for making the glaze for strawberry pie, so maybe we were just using up an extra box that wasn’t used for pie. In any case, the addition of the vanilla ice cream was genius. There’s just nothing better – it’s so fruity and so creamy.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Junket Danish Dessert

You buy a box and follow the directions for pudding.

That’s it.


When you first mix the water and pudding mix, it looks a bit cloudy. When it starts to boil, the color turns a dark red.


We usually had this warm for dessert after lunch.


It’s mandatory that you serve this with vanilla ice cream. The pudding is warm and the ice cream is cold and when the ice cream starts to melt, you MUST stir and make white swirls in the red pudding! That’s just how it works.


I happened to have some fresh raspberries when I made this, so I gilded the lily just a little bit.


When you stir it up and get the melted ice cream in a bite with the warm fruity pudding . . . heaven. Summertime on the farm and those great memories of having lunch together and Grandpa coming in from the fields or working somewhere in the yard or the shed. Try this unusual pudding for your next lunch. You’ll love this fruity, creamy, delicious dessert!



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Salad #5

The recipe for today is another one that’s simply called Salad, so henceforth, this recipe will be called Salad #5. As I’ve said before, there are so many recipes simply called Salad, that we have to number them or there would be no way to differentiate. This really should be a dessert instead of a salad. The ingredients in this “salad” are not incredibly healthy, or what you’d think of as a “salad”. You’ll see what I mean as we go along. Grandma and her sisters definitely had quite a sweet tooth. This salad is another really easy, really good one for all of your summer gatherings – graduations, bridal showers, picnics, or potlucks.

Salad #5

Yeah – I’d say this is more of a dessert.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Salad #5

Mix well:

1 package instant vanilla pudding

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup buttermilk

Mix in:

9 ounce Cool Whip


Drained, canned fruit of several different kinds (I used 4 different kinds: fruit cocktail, pear chunks, mandarin oranges, sliced peaches)

Add just before serving:

1/2 package fudge striped cookies, crushed (yes – you read that right!)


I have to say again – so easy! (Please excuse the bad lighting here – I made this in my mom’s kitchen.)


The hardest part of making this salad might be draining the four cans of fruit. Well, maybe it was harder to crush the cookies. Hmmm – I can’t decide.


I guess I could have worked a little harder on crushing the cookies. Some pieces were a bit large, but nobody seemed to mind that.


All mixed up and ready for the big show.


This just seems like something you’d want at a special occasion, but it’s so easy to make, it seems like it might not be special enough for a special occasion. Wrong. This is a very special salad and it’s PERFECT for a special occasion.


You can see here on the top of this serving of salad that there were some pieces of cookie that were large and didn’t get crushed enough – oh well. I think Grandma and her sisters had the right idea. I like this kind of “salad” instead of the healthy kind. Well, maybe the healthy kind of salad has its place. This “salad” SHOULD be saved for special occasions, I guess. Very special.





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Rhubarb Cream Delight

This card had a bonus. The recipe for Rhubarb Cream Delight was on the top and on the bottom was a recipe that I shared last year called Rhubarb Crunch. The recipe for today calls for 4 cups of rhubarb (which is a lot when your plants aren’t so big) and since my rhubarb is a bumper crop this year, now is the time to do this one. I’m not sure why I have so much this year or why it’s so much bigger than it has been before, but I’m not complaining. I’m thrilled! This is a photo of one of my rhubarb bunches (I have 2!).


I love anything made with rhubarb and I never seem to have enough of it. I did split the plant a couple of years ago and gave some to a friend of mine who also loves rhubarb. Maybe that helped with the growth spurt, or maybe it was our mild winter. I might have to try to split them again – maybe next year. But for this year, I’m going to enjoy the abundance and use it up!

Rhubarb Cream Delight

This dessert is ridiculously good!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Cream Delight

For the crust:

Mix together:

1 1/2 cup flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 cup margarine, softened (I used butter)

Pat into 9″ x 13″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

For the filling:

2 cups sugar

4 egg yolks, beaten, whites reserved

2/3 cup cream or evaporated milk

3 Tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

4 cups rhubarb, chopped

Cook and stir until thick (she has that you can use the microwave, too, but I wouldn’t – that’s just me).

Pour onto crust while hot.


the 4 reserved egg whites (I would maybe add 1-2 more egg whites because the meringue was a bit thin)

1/4 cups sugar

Beat until stiff peaks form.

Spread on top of filling.

Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until browned on top.


This crust is a bit tricky to get into the pan – I used my hands to carefully pat it in.


The filling ingredients are so easy to just dump and mix.


Here we go – all ready for the meringue.


It seems strange to put the meringue onto a filling that isn’t baked, and there isn’t a lot of meringue, so spreading it was a little tricky. I tried to make peaks like you would if making a pie, but there just isn’t enough of it. Next time I’d just spread it out. That’s why I would add an extra egg white or two to give yourself a bit more. That may affect the baking time just a bit so I’d give it an extra 5-10 minutes if you do add extra whites.


This crust seriously melts in your mouth and the filling is so luscious!


Put this one in your recipe arsenal – it’s so delicious! I may not have a ton of rhubarb every year, next time I’ll beg, borrow, or yes, steal more from neighbors, friends, and family just so I can make this again. You’ll want to make this every year, too! Your guests will be glad you did!!!


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Rhubarb Crunch #2

It’s rhubarb season and here is the first rhubarb recipe for this year. This recipe is for Rhubarb Crunch, but since I have already made a one called Rhubarb Crunch, this one will be called Rhubarb Crunch #2. I’m amazed when I think about how many rhubarb recipes Grandma has in her file, because I do remember her rhubarb plant and it wasn’t that big. There is the possibility that she had more plants at one time, but I can’t imagine how she made so many recipes from that one plant. It was down by the driveway in the garden that you passed as you came into the farm and it was a kind of shady spot. The stalks on that rhubarb plant were big, and the leaves on the stalks were gigantic. Maybe it WAS big enough to make all of those recipes.

My plant is much bigger this year than it has ever been. I started it about 12 years ago and it was pretty small for a long time. I complained about it to Grandpa once, and he told me to pull some of the stalks out toward the end of the season. I tried it and it worked! Of course it did – you want something to grow better? Ask the farmer what to do!! I think that poor little plant just needed to breathe and get more air and sunshine! Hmm – that sounds like good advice for all of us!

Rhubarb Crunch 2

This makes a nice, small dessert just right for using those first of the season stalks. You know – the ones that you just can’t wait to use!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Rhubarb Crunch #2


1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup flour

1/4 cup powdered sugar

Mix until fully combined and pat into 8″ x 8″ pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes and remove from oven.

Beat together:

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Stir in:

2 1/2 cups rhubarb, chopped

Pour over baked crust.

Put back in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Cut into 9 squares and serve hot with vanilla ice cream.


I used a fork to even out the crust after patting it into the pan.


Into the batter goes the beautiful rhubarb and onto the baked crust.


It doesn’t look like much when you first pour it on.


Then it’s baked and it turns into a 3 layered wonder: crust, custard, and fruit.


I think you could also serve this with a dab of whipped cream, but the recipe says to serve it hot with vanilla ice cream. Who am I to argue?


Ok – the ice cream is perfect. Absolutely perfect. This dessert is so simple and SOOOOO delicious. Amazing. Truly amazing. Make it this weekend and use your first stalks of the season!






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