Monday, December 24, 2012

Better Than "Who-Ha" Cake

If you've ever eaten chocolate "Better Than Sex Cake", then you know what I'm talking about when I say "Yum!" is an understatement.  Well, change out the chocolate cake for a yellow cake and some pumpkin, and use a crushed Butterfinger bar instead of a Heath bar, and you've got yourself what I call, Better than Who-Ha Cake!  (My daughter HATES the "s" word {s-e-x}.)

1 Yellow or White Cake Mix
1 small can solid pack pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 C)
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 jar Mrs. Richardson's Butterscotch Caramel Sauce
1 container Cool Whip, Thawed
Hershey's Chocolate Syrup, optional
1 Butterfinger bar, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Mix dry cake mix with pumpkin until smooth; batter will be sticky.  Spread into prepared 9x13 pan.  Bake 25-30 minutes,or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.  While still warm, poke holes all over tops of cake.  (I use the handle of a wooden spoon.)  Pour entire can of sweetened condensed milk and butterscotch caramel sauce over top; spread evenly.   Let cool completely.  Spread Cool Whip over cooled cake.  Drizzle chocolate syrup over cake in one direction and lightly drag knife through in cross-direction (see picture) for lovely design.  Sprinkle with crushed candy bar.  Refrigerate until ready to serve. *Note* Don't worry about trying to "cut" the cake.  Just scoop it out with serving spoon.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Butterscotch Pumpkin Spice No-Bakes

2 C Sugar
3/4 C Butter (1 1/2 sticks)
2/3 C Milk
1 (3.4 oz) Box Instant Butterscotch Pudding Mix
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 1/2 C Quick Oats
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

In heavy saucepan mix together sugar, butter & milk over MED heat.  Bring to boil; boil for 2 min.  Turn off heat and whisk in pudding mix and pumpkin pie spice until smooth.  Stir in oats & vanilla.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Drop by tsp onto waxed paper.  Let cool completely.  Makes approximately 55 cookies. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hershey "Kissed" Pumpkin Cookies

These delightful little cookies are so... nom, nom, nom.  Seriously, so good and best of all, so simple!  Depending on the size of cookie, this recipe yields 2-3 dozen.

1 spice cake mix*
1 C solid pack pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
24-36 unwrapped Hershey's Kisses (Or Hugs)**

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper, or lightly spray with cooking spray.  In mixing bowl combine cake mix & pumpkin; mix until well blended.  Batter will be sticky.  Using 2 spoons, drop by spoonful onto pan.  Bake 14-16 minutes.  Lightly press Kiss into center of cookie and let sit on pan a minute or so before transferring to cooling rack.  Let Kisses set before transferring to airtight container.  

*If you don't have a spice cake mix, you can use a white or yellow mix and just add 1 tsp pumpkin pie spices.

**I use Chocolate Caramel Kisses for these cookies.

TIP:  For "sticky" cookie batter, use the back of a spoon dipped in flour to "shape" cookie dough before baking.  See picture below. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Black Bean & Yam Chili

3-4 C Cooked Black Beans, with water (or use 3-4 cans undrained)
1 can (29 oz) Yams, drained and cut into smaller chunks
1 - 14.4 oz beef chunk in water, drained (can use stewing beef if browned first)
1 jar salsa
1-15 oz canned corn
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp Tony Chachere's creole seasoning (or other spicy favorite)
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp hot cocoa mix
1 tbsp molasses (or 2 tbsp honey)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
water, to desired consistency

Place all ingredients in pot and cook, stirring frequently, just until boiling.  Or place in Crockpot on LOW 4-6 hours.  Makes approximately 11 C.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pudgy Pies

I grew up making these at various campouts or bonfires where I grew up in the Michiana (around Michigan-Indiana border) area. When I moved out West 15 years ago, it seemed people here in Utah had never heard of Pudgy Pies. Well, they have now, thanks to me! hehehe.

I should have taken some pics of the pudgy pies I made while camping down at Bryce Canyon a few weeks ago, but I forgot. So, instead I will share some other successful Pudgy Pie Pics from around the blogosphere.

1- First of all you need some of these -- they are called Pie Irons and they retail anywhere from about $10-$12 each. (Some people call these sandwich makers or hobo makers.)

2 - Decide on your fixings.  This will vary depending on the filling you desire, but you will at least need some cooking spray or butter (OR BOTH!), a loaf of bread (or two, or three...) and some filling.  Filling can be anything from pie filling to preserves, etc.  Here are a few of MY favorite combinations:

Mini Marshmallows & Rolos
Whipped Cream Cheese & Blueberry Pie Filling
Apple Pie Filling
Lemon Pie filling + 1 large marshmallow (tastes like lemon meringue pie!)
Black Forest Pie = Cherry Pie Filling + Crushed Oreo Cookie
Cookies & Cream = 1 Large Marshmallow + 1 Crushed Oreo Cookie
Bananas Chocolate Foster = fresh banana slices + 1 Ghirardeli Dark Chocolate-Caramel Square

In addition to your filling selections, I recommend having a plate of powdered sugar as well as one of cinnamon-sugar, to sprinkle over the pies as soon as they come out of the fire.

3 - Set up your Pudgy Pie Fixing's bar:
  Cooking Spray
  Stuff for fixings
  Dipping Plates for sugar-coating

Ready?  Ok, you're set!  Let's go!

4- Make your pie!
Spray both halves of the pie iron with cooking spray.  Butter one slice of bread (I leave my crusts on).  Place that bread, buttered side down onto the pie iron.  Top that slice of bread with your filling(s) of choice.  Butter second slice of bread, and place over top of filling, leaving the buttered side up.  Carefully hook the other half of the pie iron, close & latch, and place in hot coals.  I like to cook mine about 3-5 minutes each side.  *This will depend on how hot the coals are.  You may want to check it after a few minutes.  Don't feel bad if you get a scorching black one -- I usually end up with at least one!
Photo from 

5 - Remove pie iron from coals and CAREFULLY set on heat-tolerant surface.  (As this is usually a picnic table when camping, be sure to designate a specific area for Hot Pie irons.)  Open your pie irons, and use a metal fork to take out your pie.  Coat in the sugar if desired & EAT!!!

Photo from

FYI -- Other things you can make with pie irons:
 - Grilled Cheese
 - Cheesy Tots (add frozen tater tots, a little olive oil, & seasonings)
 - Pizza Pockets
 - Grilled PB & J's -- YUMM!
 - Pesto Pockets

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cream Puff Cake

This is a favorite of ours and I often get asked to make it for special occasions.  It's way easier than it looks too.

Cream Puff Base:
1 C water
1 stick (1/2 C) butter, cubed
1 C flour
4 eggs

1 - 8oz cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 C cold milk
3 small pkgs instant French Vanilla pudding mix

Cool Whip, thawed
Chocolate Syrup

Preheat oven to 400.  Lightly grease 9x13 pan; set aside. Over stove, melt butter in water and bring to boil.  Add flour all at once and stir until dough pulls away from sides and soft dough ball forms.  Remove from heat and let sit about 5 minutes.  In mixer, add one egg at a time to dough, beating well in between.  Spread puff batter evenly into prepared pan.  Bake 20-22 minutes or until puffed up and light golden brown.  Let cool for about 10 minutes. (Great time to let the cream cheese soften if you forgot to take it out of the fridge earlier!)  In mixing bowl beat cream cheese, milk and pudding mixes until smooth.  Spread over cooled cake-puff.  Top with cool whip, then drizzle with chocolate syrup.  Chill until ready to serve. Enjoy!

1) I prefer French Vanilla pudding mix in this recipe, although regular vanilla or even chocolate works just fine.
2) For the chocolate syrup you can use either melted Chocolate or Hershey's Chocolate syrup, although I prefer melted chocolate frosting -- sooooo yummy.
3) To make fancy swirl design, drizzle chocolate in "rows" the entire width of the cake.  Then lightly pull knife through in the length-wise direction.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Homemade Microwave Popcorn

I heard it before-- that one could make his or her own microwave popcorn.   I wondered if it was true.  Well, it is. Today I had a craving for popcorn, but no microwave popcorn on hand.  Then I remembered that my dad left some popcorn kernels here from the weekend.  But I don't have an air-popper or a StirCrazy and I've never made it over the stove before so I didn't trust myself to do that.  However, my kids do pack their lunches and I have a plethora of large paper lunch bags.

1 large paper lunch sack
1/4 C un-popped popcorn
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
* Add 1 Tbsp Sugar to the oil first if you want a hint of sweetness

Place popcorn, oil, and salt into paper lunch sack.  Roll sack closed two times and shake well.  Leaving sack closed, place onto a paper towel in microwave.  Microwave popcorn 1-5 minutes until 5 seconds in between pops.  Add more salt or melted butter if desired.

NOTE:  I used my microwave "popcorn" setting and it worked perfectly. 

One nice thing is that there weren't nearly as many "blunts" (seeds) left in the batch than with certain brands of microwave popcorn.  I love that this doesn't have all of the preservatives as the store-bought microwave popcorn and also, it's way cheaper than buying the store-bought microwave popcorn!  I may never buy that again.