Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I hope you get to enjoy and celebrate this day with your friends and family!

I have SO MUCH to be thankful this year, but I’m especially thankful for all of you dear readers out there!

Thank you so much for your support!



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Pumpkin Pecan Pie

I first made this Pumpkin Pecan Pie when I was in high school. I can NOT remember where this recipe came from. Even though I thought it came from a specific cookbook of mine, the recipe isn’t in there, and I can’t find it anywhere other than written out here. The recipe was lost for years, but somehow I found it! Yay! That’s why, even though I posted on Friday about My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pies, I’m posting the recipe for this pie today.

Because it’s thanksgiving on Thursday, and thanksgiving is all about family, I wanted to share a little bit of family history. On my dad’s side of the family, we can trace ancestors back to a small town in Massachusetts, coming here from England in 1638. That’s less than 20 years after the Pilgrims! I love this photo of my great, great grandparents on my dad’s side, who were alive and living in Wisconsin during the last half of the 1800’s, or about halfway back to those original ancestors. Great, great grandpa has a bit of a twinkle in his eye, but great, great grandma looks a no-nonsense kind of gal.

I’m so grateful to have this photo and all the photos of family members going back so far. I wonder what thanksgiving dinner would be like with these relatives? I would have a million questions!

So anyway, about this pie. It’s absolutely delicious, and it has always been one of my favorites. I highly recommend trying this ridiculously easy recipe. Before I start the recipe, I want to say in advance – don’t use the temperature written on the recipe. See below for new baking instructions.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

Have a pie crust ready to go. You can find recipes for pie crust here on the blog by using the recipe menu.

Mix all together:

1 cup pumpkin (I used frozen pumpkin instead of pumpkin from a can)

3 eggs

1 cup sweetened condensed milk (1-14 ounce can)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Fill pie crust.

Sprinkle on top of filling:

1 cup chopped pecans (plus extra if you want to make a fancy design)

New baking instructions – Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.*

(*I had a problem with the temperature for baking. In the recipe I had written down 300 degrees for 45 minutes, but after 45 minutes, the pie was still totally liquid. I raised the temp to 400 degrees and gave it another 20 minutes. That seemed to do the trick – that was enough to solidify it. I’m wondering if I didn’t write it down wrong and it was supposed to be 400 degrees. Start there and maybe just watch it after 30 minutes or so.)

This is it – just mix it all up together in a bowl.

I had my pie crust and chopped pecans ready to go before starting the filling.

I decided to do a fancy pants line of whole pecans around the outside edge of the filling. So pretty.

The pecans got a bit dark because of the temperature issue, but I don’t know, I kinda like the pecans nice and toasted.

Add a dollop of whipped cream and you’re in heaven. This pie is so amazingly delicious for such a simple recipe. I just love it. It’s sweet and pumpkin-y with the amazing flavor of all those spices. This is my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. Ever. Period. It’s an easy one to do last-minute because it’s just so easy to make. I think you’re going to want to make this recipe for Pumpkin Pecan Pie for your family this thanksgiving.


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My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes

Since we’re only days away from Thanksgiving, I’m sharing My 7 Favorite Thanksgiving Pie Recipes. Can we ever really have enough pies? I think not. Thanksgiving is about gratitude and abundance – so “make more pie”! That’s my motto! Enjoy these pie recipes – maybe you’ll pick a new one to make for your celebration!

No-Bake Pumpkin Cream Pie


Cranberry Pineapple Pie


Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie


Apple Pie with Crumb Topping


Pumpkin Pie – the Chiffon Kind


Apple Pie with Old-Fashioned Pie Crust


Butterscotch Pie




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Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats

Today I’m sharing a great idea for Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats. I’m always on the lookout for an easy, yet pretty hostess gift that I know the hostess will love to get. Sometimes it’s nice for the gift to be something fun or nice for the hostess to enjoy AFTER all of the company leaves. This one fits the bill. Perfectly. I wouldn’t mind getting a few of these myself.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats

Line a baking sheet with parchment.


1 bar of dark chocolate (or a package of chocolate chips)

Using a spoon, make puddles of chocolate on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet.

Top with:

Anything you want – I used some healthy, seasonal goodies:

Dried apricots, chopped


Sprinkles in fall colors

You could use other dried fruits like:




You could use nuts like:




sunflower seeds

You could use candies like:

crushed peppermint

mini M &M’s

chopped candy bars

The sky’s the limit – get creative!

Sprinkle on the goodies and let the chocolate harden. I would store these in the refrigerator until you’re ready to give them as a gift.

I have the goodies ready to sprinkle onto the chocolate before melting the chocolate. Next I melted the chocolate in the microwave according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

I used a spoon to make the chocolate puddles on the parchment paper.

Then I sprinkled on the goodies: the fruit, nuts, and sprinkles. These are similar to the “barks” that I made recently – Minnesota Viking Bark and Autumn Bark.

Let them harden at room temperature, or do what I did and slide the parchment paper onto a baking sheet and put them into the refrigerator to firm up.

These are so pretty and so special and so perfect for a hard-working hostess – she’ll appreciate these tremendously, especially since they’re for her and her alone! You could put them on a piece of parchment paper on a paper plate (so they can go right into the hostess’s refrigerator) and either slip into a zip-top bag or cover with plastic wrap or cellophane, or do what I like to do – put some into a cellophane bag and tie with a pretty ribbon. Add a nice tag if you want, and you have a wonderful, delicious, chocolate treat for the hostess (or anyone special). Just remember to keep them in the refrigerator so they stay perfect for giving. Make up a few batches of these Healthy Chocolate Hostess Gift Treats and be good to all the hostesses coming up for you in the next few months!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

I’m so thankful for you faithful readers!

Thank you for your support!

I appreciate it so very much!


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Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink

I love Halloween. I always have. I love the old-fashioned black and orange decorations of flying witches, scary pumpkins, and jointed limbed skeletons. I love the costumes, as Lucy says in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, “in direct contrast to her own personality” to dress up in and hide behind. I love the crispy sound of dry, colored leaves blowing and tumbling along the street. I love the eventual stark and empty tree branches silhouetted against a cloudy and misty sky. I love the fields full of haphazard pumpkins and gourds on their drying, twisting vines. I love the smell of a burning pile of leaves raked up and out of the yard by the family on the golden afternoons in October. I love the kids as they ring the doorbell, so proud to show off their costumes and shout the customary “trick-or-treat!”, running through the neighborhood and ruling the world.

You can see the beginnings of my love for Halloween in this photo from 1963. I started young. I wasn’t quite 2 years old, but totally ready for Halloween and trick or treating at my Grandma and Gramp’s house! By the reach of that hand trying to get the door open, you’d almost think I knew that there was candy inside there! Ha!


I wish I still had the 101 Dalmatians costume!! That trick-or-treat bag is almost as big as me!

My love of Halloween is equal to my love of pumpkin. The recipe for today is one of those pumpkin recipes that I found when I was sick and on the couch and spending way too much time on Pinterest. There are so many interesting things to make with pumpkin out there now, and as you can tell by my latest posts, I am determined to try as many as possible this fall. I am always on the lookout for a warm beverage to cozy up with and enjoy in the evening, so I don’t like it to be caffeinated and I don’t like it to have too much sugar in it. This one does the trick. I found this delicious Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink on the blog Apple of My Eye, and this was one I had to try.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Warm Pumpkin Spice Drink

2 1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk or milk of your choice

2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (I used my frozen pumpkin stash)

2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

whipped cream for topping


This drink really doesn’t have very many ingredients, but man is this good!


I warmed it (I wouldn’t bring it to a boil) on the stove instead of the microwave.


You can leave it plain, but I’m always one to gild the lily when I can, so I topped mine with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I suppose if you really wanted to, you could add a splash of your favorite adult beverage to this.


Kids would love this drink, especially this weekend before Halloween. Maybe this would be nice after a tough evening of trick-or-treating. I think adults would like this delicious drink curled up in front a roaring fire, in your jammies, wrapped in your favorite quilt. Just enjoy the warm deliciousness and drift off to sleepy land. Nothing more cozy than that! How are you going to enjoy this warm cup of coziness?





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Cranberry Mousse

This time of year reminds me so much of Grandma. She and Grandpa were such entertainers. They would have friends and family over all the time for dinner or dessert, especially during the holidays. I loved to go to their house for Christmas because, of course, she was a great cook, but there were also some of my favorite decorations. This photo of me and Grandma is from Christmas time when I was about 2. When you entered the house at the farm, you had to go through the kitchen to get into the main part of the house. To get to the living room, you had to go through the dining room where the big attraction for me was the light up plastic church. This little church looked suspiciously like the church that Grandma and Grandpa belonged to and it had (most of the time) a red bulb in it that would glow like a beacon, drawing me in to sit in front of it for hours, totally fascinated. From the dining room, you moved on to the living room and the main event – the Christmas tree with its glowing colored bulbs and antique glass ornaments. This might have been the first time they had a tree on the floor – I must have outgrown the need to have the tree up on a table! We would have a wonderful dinner in the dining room, move on to the opening of presents, and then later, inevitably, it would be my job to pass around candy or a can of mixed nuts. I still have the fascination with light up churches and buildings. My mom started my Dickens Village collection with a church for my 25th birthday and it’s grown to cover the entire top of my kitchen cupboards. I also still have an obsession for antique glass ornaments and they cover our Christmas tree.


This is the Grandma I remember, with that smile of hers and her “wash and set” hair!

Today’s salad recipe is a great one to use for your holiday entertaining, dinners, or even just a weeknight dinner. This Cranberry Mousse is a very easy and tasty salad. This is such a typical “Grandma” recipe – you can pull it together so quickly, it would be a great addition to any meal – good with your holiday turkey or ham.

Cranberry Mousse

Cranberry Mousse 2

This is delicious!

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cranberry Mousse

1 6 ounce package of Strawberry Jello

1 cup boiling water

20 ounce can of crushed pineapple, drained (save the juice)

16 ounce can whole berry cranberry sauce

3 Tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

16 ounce (2 cups) sour cream

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

Dissolve jello, add pineapple juice.

Stir in cranberry sauce, lemon juice, lemon peel, and nutmeg.

Chill until mixture thickens.

Fold in sour cream, pineapple, and nuts.

Chill until firm.


If you can make jello, you can make this salad!


Mix it all up the night before and you’ll have it ready for tomorrow night’s dinner.


I put this batch in my fanciest bowl!


There’s just not much to say –  it’s delicious and great for a weeknight dinner . . .

005 (2)

or a holiday dinner or buffet. So when you’re entertaining and your friends and family are coming for dinner, try this salad. It’s easy, elegant, tasty, and full of fruit – they’ll love it!



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Mulling Spices

I love cider. You can have cider all through the fall and into the winter. This recipe for Mulling Spices is great for cider, wine, or even tea. It makes a great hostess gift, or even a potpourri. I could see having this sitting out in the living room throughout the holiday season. The scent of it is amazing, and incredibly fragrant. You can really use any combination of spices and citrus rind to spice up your warm beverages.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Mulling Spices

Dry in the oven at 250 degrees for 20-30 minutes:

Orange peel (white pith scraped off, if possible)

Lemon peel

Thinly sliced ginger

Mix together and pound a bit (I put all of the whole spices into a zip top bag and pounded it with my rolling pin):

Cinnamon sticks

Star anise

Whole nutmeg

Cardamom pods

Whole allspice

Whole cloves

Vanilla Bean

Mix these all together in a bowl, put into cheesecloth or  drawstring bag, and give as a gift or use in your beverage.

To mull cider: Heat 1 quart cider with one packet of spices and sliced oranges or apples.


I love all of these spicy ingredients.


They’re pretty enough to have sitting out in a pretty glass bowl. They smell great, too!


I cut a square of cheesecloth and put about 2 tablespoons of spices into it. I cut pieces of a vanilla bean and put a piece into each cheesecloth bundle.


You can find drawstring tea bags online, but I just used cheesecloth and tied it up with kitchen string. The batch I made was enough for about 4 bags.


Put them in a jar, put a pretty ribbon around it, and you have a very nice hostess gift for all of your holiday gatherings.


I warmed a quart of cider with a sliced orange and one of the bags of spice mix for about 20 minutes.


This mulled cider makes the whole house smell like a holiday!


You can garnish your cider with a cinnamon stick, a slice of orange, and/or a slice of apple. Make sure to slice the apple across the middle so you can see the star! I hope you make this wonderful mulling spice mix. It makes a nice gift  – and make some for yourself, too!




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Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!! Today I’m sharing a flower arrangement for your holiday enjoyment!


I made this arrangement with a $5 grocery store mum bunch and some assorted leftover stuff from my front garden that was still useable. There were things left in the garden that weren’t frozen yet: Sedum, purple dragon flower seed pods, and Echinacea seed pods.


It fits perfectly on the front entry table.


The mums are the perfect color for this time of year!


I’m so thankful for each and every one of you, dear readers! I do so much appreciate all of your continued support. Thanks for stopping by to check out Plenty Sweet Life! Enjoy this wonderful day of gratitude and thanksgiving with your family and friends!


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Cranberry Salad

After reading this recipe, I was thinking that this is such a simple holiday recipe, but it really doesn’t have to be a holiday recipe. It would be a great salad to have any time. It’s just so easy. There’s really not much to it. This Cranberry Salad is easy, delicious, and great for dinner. I could see Grandma making this for those family Sunday night suppers that her family was so famous for. My mom still misses having Sunday suppers with her family, and cousins, and the aunts and uncles! I am old enough to have been in on some of those suppers, too, and man, I can still remember the smells that would come from those kitchens back then. There was a lot of love and warmth in those kitchens, too. What a great way for a family to stay in touch and stay together. We try to do a family dinner with our kids at least once every week or two, and it’s not easy, but it’s important and it’s something we try to make happen. We’re going to enjoy it while we can, because as we all know, life has a way of taking us all in different directions.

Cranberry Salad 2

There could hardly be an easier recipe for a salad.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Cranberry Salad

Make 3 small boxes of Jell-O according to directions, using only 4 cups of water (I used 2 cups boiling water and 2 cups cold water).

Mix in:

1 can whole cranberries (not jellied cranberries)

1 can crushed pineapple (not drained)

1/2 cup nuts (I didn’t use nuts in this one but I would use walnuts)


We had Jell-O molds like these when I was a little girl, so I decided to try to use them with this salad and see what happens. After mixing up the salad, I poured some of the liquid into the molds and into the frig with them all.


I dipped the mold into hot water and maybe had it in there a bit long. They melted just a bit and I had to wipe up the plate, otherwise they came out ok. They’re pretty for an individual serving, and as I told my son, Grandma would have topped this with a dollop of mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. All he could say was, “why?” I don’t know why she like those kind of things, but there were a lot more of those kind of salads back then. Remember, this salad was supposed to also have nuts in it. Must be one of those retro things.


This salad is perfect for this time of year.


Gather your family for a big family dinner and serve this salad. It doesn’t have to be a holiday, but this one would be great for a holiday dinner, too. Cranberries can be great for Thanksgiving OR Christmas. This salad would be great with dinner for either of those holidays. You could even still pull this together for tomorrow. It’s just so easy. And so delicious!






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