Zucchini Spice Cake

August 8, 2017 at 12:04 pm (Recipes)

So I made this amazing cake on Sunday.  Our sweet neighbor gave us some zucchini.  We love it grilled but there was ALOT of zucchini so I needed to find another use for it.  I just don’t like zucchini bread… not sure why but I don’t.  I was determined to find another recipe so I did what any computer-savy woman would do… I googled “recipes using zucchini.”

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake-2

I found a recipe on SixSistersStuff.com.  I made one rather big change for a very good reason.  Sunday was a “stay in my pajamas all day” day!!  The recipe calls for applesauce.  I had none.  So, in my PJ’s I drove down the lane to my Daddy and Momma’s.  They always have applesauce.  They had none!!  But, my Daddy is a brilliant man 🙂  He suggested apple butter!  Since I was making this cake for the first time, it was worth a try.  What a depth of flavor the apple butter added!!  I substituted 1 for 1. I also always use fresh grated nutmeg.   So… here’s the recipe:

Cinnamon Zucchini Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (or applesauce)
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini


  • 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13″ baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. I never just spray a pan anymore.  I lined the pan with non-stick aluminum foil, sprayed it.  (makes for easy removal, frosting, cutting, storing in plastic ware)
  2. Beat eggs, vegetable oil, apple butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg together, add to the wet batter and mix well. Fold in zucchini and stir until completely mixed in. Pour batter into prepared 9×13″ pan.
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  4. Mix together frosting ingredients.
  5. Once the cake has cooled completely, remove from pan, using the aluminum foil as handles.  Frost the cake, cut into pieces.



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Pepperoni-Mushroom Stromboli

March 20, 2014 at 1:27 pm (Recipes)

This is for Katie Gregg – she is married now, but in my mind, she will always be “Katie Gregg.”  🙂

I got a free book for my Kindle through bookbub.com, The Art of Perfect Bread Baking.  I have made a few of the recipes, including the cinnamon rolls — they are fabulous!! Another day… another blog post…

Have I mentioned lately that I love my Kindle??? :-)

Have I mentioned lately that I love my Kindle??? 🙂

It has some wonderful recipes in it.  I perfected this recipe, molding it to work with our preferences.  One of the tricks is to not use too much sauce.  Another trick is to never over-work the dough!!  That’s why I like using my Kitchen Aid – it mixes without over-doing it!!

I am going to be very specific in my instructions, partly to help the young ladies who read this and don’t have much cooking experience.  I also bolded the ingredients in the instructions so you can, at a glance, see what order they go.   I promise you, it is easy!!!  I didn’t intend to blog the recipe so I didn’t take any pictures.  My plan is to, when I make it again, take pictures and then edit this blog post to include the pictures.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook attached for the dough.  It makes quick work of kneading.  If you don’t have a Kitchen Aid, you will need to knead the dough for about 8 minutes before the first rising.

Pepperoni-Mushroom Stromboli


Kitchen Aid mixer with a dough hook

Pizza stone



1 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast

¼ cup lukewarm water

1 ½ tablespoons olive oil

½ cup cold water

1 2/3 cups unbleached or all-purpose flour plus more for kneading (only a teeny bit more if you are using the Kitchen Aid)

¾ teaspoon salt


8 ounces crimini mushrooms (you can use any type you’d like), sliced

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil

Pizza sauce (I like Classico Fire Roasted Pizza Sauce)

15-20 slices of pepperoni

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Oven will be set at 450-475.  Set a pizza stone in the oven while it preheats


About 1 ½ hours before serving…

  • Prepare cold water… add a few ice cubes to ½ cup cold water
  • Hand whisk 1 ½ teaspoons of yeast into ¼ cup lukewarm water.  Let sit for 10 minutes
  • Re-measure ½ cup cold water, eliminating the ice cubes. Hand whisk in olive oil and cold water
  •  Add ½ cup flour and ¾ teaspoon salt.   Hand whisk until smooth
  • Attach dough hook to Kitchen Aid.
  • With mixer going, add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, 1 2/3 cups total, until the dough comes together in a rough mass.  You will have to scrape down the sides a few times.
  • At this point, scrape the dough hook off.  This will be the “kneading” time.  Knead at Speed “2” for three minutes. (if you do this by hand, turn dough out on to a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes)
  • Hand form the dough, coating it with a bit of olive oil.
  • Place dough in a bowl and cover it.  Set it in a warm spot for 50 minutes


  • Slice 8 oz. crimini mushrooms
  • To a skillet, add 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil and mushrooms.  Cook until they are softened.
Sauteed mushrooms

Sauteed mushrooms

    • Shred the mozzarella cheese if you didn’t buy pre-shredded

    While the dough finishes rising, make a salad to accompany the Stromboli.

    To finish…

  • Place pizza stone in the oven and Preheat oven to 475 degrees
  • Divide dough into three pieces
This picture was taken before I had perfected this... divide into THREE pieces, not two :-)

This picture was taken before I had perfected this… divide into THREE pieces, not two 🙂

  • Roll or pat each piece into an 8×8 square
  • Spread 1 tablespoon of pizza sauce on the square, leaving ½ inch or so around the edges
  • On 1/2 of the square, layer
    • 1/3 cup of mozzarella cheese
    • 5-7 pepperoni slices
    • 1/3 of the sautéed mushrooms
    • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Fold dough over and seal the edges well with a fork.  Poke a few holes in the top.

Place fully assembled Stromboli on a floured sheet (or you can use a bit of corn meal to keep the Stromboli from sticking to the pan).

When oven is heated, carefully place the Stromboli on the pizza stone.  If you don’t have a stone, you can pre-heat a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Finished stromboli!!

Finished stromboli!!

That’s it!!  I know it sounds complicated, but it really isn’t!!  You can also use a dough mix to eliminate the rising time.  However… this dough is worth the time.  It is the softest dough I have ever worked with!!  You can also make a pizza using the dough recipe.

There you have it, Katie Gregg.  Let me know what you think!!!

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Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

October 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm (Recipes)

This casserole is a staple in our house.  I have made it for 30 years, with a few changes to the original recipe.  My kiddos and darling hubby love it.  It is fast, easy, little effort, high reward!  You can use a lower fat soup, mayonnaise (I use miracle whip) and make it with rice instead of the bread crumbs.  I pre- cook the chicken in my cast-iron skillet, seasoning it before I bake it.  You can also use left-over grilled chicken.  I have never made it with dark meat, but I’m sure it would be good too.

Chicken-Broccoli Casserole

  • 1 family-sized (19 ounces) bag of frozen broccoli or 2 bunches of broccoli (cooked)
  • 3 cups of diced chicken or 2 whole chicken breasts, cooked and boned
  • 2 cans of cream of chicken soup (you can use the lower-fat version)
  • 1/2 tsp. curry powder
  • 2 cups shredded cheese, divided (I use what I have, cheddar,(sharp or mild), colby or monterey — any combination will work
  • 3/4 cup of mayonnaise or miracle whip (again, you can use a lower-fat version)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (1/2 lemon, juiced)
  • 1/2 cup soft bread crumbs or 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 tbsp butter

Pre-cook the chicken, cool slightly and dice.  Cook broccoli.  Cube 3 or 4 slices of bread (I’ve used sourdough, white, wheat, Italian… whatever I have on hand).  Put in a bowl and dot with the butter — cook in microwave for 45 second or so,  just until the butter is melted.  Stir to blend the butter.

In a 11 1/2 x 7 1/2 in. baking dish, layer the cooked diced chicken and cooked broccoli. Combine the soup, mayonnaise, lemon juice, curry powder and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Pour over chicken and broccoli.   Spread bread crumb mixture on top of soup mixture.  Then spread remaining cheese.

** If using instant rice, start with 1 cup of rice in bottom of dish and omit the bread crumbs.

Bake at 350 for 30 – 40 minutes or until heated through.  The baking time will be longer if using cold left-over chicken.  Makes 6-8 servings.

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Homemade Hawaiian Sweet Bread

May 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm (Recipes)

I found this recipe on line on a blog, www.kim-thislittlelifeofmine.blogspot.com.  I love King’s Hawaiian sweet bread.  It is the only bread I use in my bread pudding.  However, it is very expensive.  This bread, for a bread machine is unique, because, instead of eggs and sugar, it uses sweetened condensed milk!!  The blogger mentioned that her kids have egg allergies so this works perfectly!

Of course, I didn’t take a picture of it when it was freshly baked… it is half gone!

The recipe was easy — I just threw it in my bread machine, set it on the “sweet bread” setting and hit the button.  It is absolutely perfect!

Homemade Hawaiian Sweet Bread

  • 1 cup of water (use very very warm water)
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened condensed milk (about 1/2 a can)  The blog writer used fat-free, but, hey…
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of butter (cut up into small cubes)
  • 3 1/3 cups of flour (I used all-purpose) The blog writer used 1 teaspoon of vital wheat gluten with the all-purpose flour, but hey…
  • 2 teaspoons of bread machine yeast

Put ingredients in bread machine in this order… water, butter, condensed milk, salt, flour and yeast.  Be sure to measure the flour exactly — spoon into the measuring cup and level with a knife so the flour isn’t compacted.  Set for “sweet” bread and hit the button.  Just check a few minutes into the cycle to make sure all of the flour is being incorporated.  If it isn’t, just swipe the sides with a spatula.  I found the recipe to be perfect — no additional water was needed!

The original blogger made hers into a braided bread.  For that (if you have more energy than I do 🙂  ), set the machine for the dough cycle. When complete, remove and separate into three sections.  Roll each out like snakes and mesh ends together.  Braid and press ends together.  Place in baking dish and allow to rise for 25-30 minutes.  Brush melted butter or egg white on the top over rising.  Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes until the top is golden brown.

I will never make mine into braids.  Darling DannyO and I love this bread toasted!  I may just make this bread once a week!!

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Brownie-Cream Cheese Bites

April 23, 2012 at 12:28 pm (Recipes)

I saw a recipe similar to this on Pinterest.  I have a very bad habit of printing out recipes that I want to “try.” They are piling up. thwarting my de-cluttering effort!  I remembered that I had a recipe similar to the one on Pinterest so I searched through my 100’s of loose recipes and found it!  I know that this recipe is at least 25 years old.  The original name of the recipe is “German Sweet Chocolate Cream Cheese Brownies.”  I have (as I usually do over time) modified this.  Everything old is new again!

Brownie Cream Cheese Bites

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray mini muffin tin (24) with non stick spray.

Brownie Layer

  • 1 package (4 oz) German sweet chocolate or Dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter (unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup sugar (less depending on your taste)
  • 2 eggs (beaten)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 chopped nuts (optional)
  • (optional) 2 tablespoons of instant coffee dissolved in the eggs

Cream Cheese Topping

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Prepare Brownie Layer – Microwave chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on High just until butter is melted.  Check it after 1 minute — add time by 15 seconds until butter is melted.  Stir until chocolate is completely melted.  Stir sugar into melted chocolate stir in eggs (coffee dissolved if using) and vanilla until completely mixed.  Mix in flour until well-blended.  Stir in nuts if using.

Cream Cheese topping – Mix cream cheese, sugar, egg and flour until smooth (may need to whisk).

Put scant tablespoon of brownie layer into each muffin cup.  This layer should go no further than 1/2 up the sides.  Then drizzle 1 teaspoon of cream cheese topping on each cup.  The cream cheese layer is thinner than the brownie mix — don’t be scared 🙂 .  Put a dollop of the remaining brownie mixture on top of the cream cheese.  This doesn’t have to be perfect — the randomness of the brownie/cream cheese is part of the charm!!  Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Do not over bake.  Cool for about 10 minutes and loosen with a knife (if needed) and take out of tin to finish cooling on the rack.

This recipe makes 24 teeny tiny bites — it is awesome!  I’m glad that I re-discovered this recipe!!

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Triple Chocolate Cream Cheese Drops

February 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm (All Things Wedding, Recipes)

Finished batch - Yay!!

This recipe was born out of desperation.  I decided to bake cookies for Amanda and Hengyi’s wedding today.  I thought I had all of my supplies to make chocolate/m&m cookies and chocolate/peanut butter cookies.  Alas, I only had four sticks of butter.  The recipes call for 2 ½ sticks each so I was one stick short.  My hair was washed and up in a turban and I was in my sweat clothes so heading to the store was out of the question.  I spied a block of cream cheese in the fridge and my wheels started turning.  I decided to make the peanut butter/chocolate cookies another day.  Here is my recipe for triple chocolate cream cheese drops.

Triple Chocolate Cream Cheese Drops

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup of cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (one block) of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ stick of butter (4 tablespoons), softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 package of dark chocolate chips
  • 1 bar of white chocolate or bittersweet chocolate.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt.  Beat cream cheese, butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Beat well.  Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.  Stir in dark chocolate bits.  At this point,  I put the batter in the refrigerator so I could dry my hair.  I don’t know if that will help, but that’s what I did!!

Drop by rounded teaspoons (I made them smaller because I am baking tons and tons of cookies for the wedding.) ** Because I made them smaller, I rounded them into little balls… I coated the palms of my hands with cocoa powder and rolled little balls until the dough stuck and then I coated again.  It was one big mess, but easy to do.  Bake 8 to 9 minutes.  Do not over bake!  The cookies will be soft.  Allow them to cool slightly (until you see cracks in the dough) and then move them to a cooling rack.

I then melted 3 blocks of white chocolate and proceeded to burn it.  Do not do what I did.  I then took the other three blocks and carefully melted it.  I drizzled the white chocolate over the cookies, thus the “triple chocolate.”  There was not enough white chocolate so I melted some bittersweet chocolate and drizzled that on the cookies.  I guess you can call them “quadruple chocolate cream cheese drops.”  🙂

They are soft and yummy in the middle.

I didn’t take step photos because my kitchen is a mess and my hair was up in a towel. 🙂

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Peanut Butter (Buckeye) Balls

February 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm (All Things Wedding, Recipes)

I am the kind of person who, at a wedding reception, heads straight to the dessert table!  The main meal can be sub-par, but if the goodies are excellent, I declare the party a success!  Perhaps that is the reason I have decided to make all of the desserts for Amanda and Hengyi’s wedding reception.

I decided to make Peanut Butter Balls.  I found the recipe on the Wit & Whistle blog and “Pinned” it until I could have the time to make them.  I actually made the peanut butter part two days ago.  Fair warning, the recipe says to mix the powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter in a large bowl.  My biggest bowl wasn’t big enough.  I ended up dumping the whole concoction on to the counter top and mixing it there.  I divided the dough into three pieces, wrapped them well in plastic wrap.  They were in the fridge for two days – which didn’t hurt them.

Rolled into walnut-sized balls

I have never used paraffin wax and when I opened the wax box there were four blocks of wax.  I used 1/3 of one of the blocks.  My other suggestion is to shave the wax instead of putting the large chunk into the double boiler because the chocolate chips melted before the paraffin was melted.  Also do not let any water touch the chocolate mixture.  For some reason water causes the chocolate to granulate and not be completely smooth.

Paraffin wax and chocolate chips

I made a mess!

I also discovered that I needed just a little bit more melted chocolate to completely cover all of the peanut butter balls.  I would suggest using ½ of another package of chocolate chips and a few more shavings of paraffin wax.

The recipe made 13 dozen!  I am going to write the original, large recipe first and then am going to give you a smaller recipe!


Peanut Butter Balls (large recipe)

  • 3 boxes of confectioner sugar (1 lb. each)
  • 4 sticks of unsalted butter (1 lb)
  • 4 cups of peanut butter
  • 3 packages of chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cake paraffin wax (1 ½ inches of one of the four blocks)

Combine the powdered sugar, margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl and mix them with your hands until everything is well blended.  Chill for at least ½ hour (I kept them in the refrigerator for 2 days).

Heat the chocolate chips and paraffin wax in a double boiler until they melt.  Dip the balls into melted chocolate and cool them on wax paper.

Peanut Butter Balls (small recipe)

  • 1 box of confectioner’s sugar
  • 10 2/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups peanut butter
  • 1 package of chocolate chips
  • ½ inch of one cake of paraffin wax

Use the same directions as the above recipe.  This one will make about 50 balls instead of 150!

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Peanut Butter Fudge

February 2, 2012 at 4:43 pm (Recipes)

Mrs. Griffith gave me this recipe 31 years ago.  It is still my go-to recipe when I need something quick and delicious.  I just made two batches for Amanda and Hengyi’s wedding.

Peanut Butter Fudge

  • 1 box of confectioner’s sugar (not the kind in a plastic bag)
  • 4 tbsp. butter (1/2 of a stick)
  • ½ cup canned milk
  • 1 1/3 cup of crunchy peanut butter
  • 7 oz. jar marshmallowwhip


Mix the first three ingredients (xx sugar, butter and milk) in a pan over medium high heat. When the fudge begins to boil, stir constantly for exactly two (2) minutes. Remove from stove and add balance of ingredients.  Stir and put in an 8×8 or 9×9 pan.  Freezes well.

Mixing the marshmallow whip and peanut butter in…

The secret is to boil exactly two minutes and to use sugar from the box.

** I bought a measuring cup from pampered chef last year that I use every time I have to measure something sticky and soft.  You just push the bottom insert and out pops the peanut butter!

Very neat Pampered Chef measuring cup

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Stuffed Shells

October 16, 2011 at 11:24 am (Recipes)

I have made this recipe time and time again. It is perfect with a salad and some warm bread. I didn’t take any pictures, but they are stuffed shells… 🙂

Stuffed Shells
• 1 (12 ounce) package jumbo shells
• 2 eggs, beaten
• 1 (32 ounce) container ricotta cheese
• 1 pound (4 cups) mozzarella cheese, divided
• 8 ounces grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 1 tablespoon dried parsley
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1 (28 ounce) jar pasta sauce
• 1 large can of mushrooms, drained

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
3. In a large bowl, mix eggs, ricotta, half the mozarella, half the parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Stuff cooked shells with ricotta mixture and place in 9X13 inch baking dish.
4. In a medium bowl, stir together pasta sauce, mushrooms and reserved mozzarella and parmesan. Pour over stuffed shells
5. Bake in preheated oven 45 to 60 minutes until edges are bubble and shells are slightly set

**The filling will taste salty before it is cooked, but the shells absorb the salt and the flavor is perfect when fully cooked. The mixture you pour over the shells will be thick, because of the cheeses, but it cooks up perfectly.

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Creamy Lemon Fudge

August 31, 2011 at 4:06 pm (Recipes)

I love fudge, I love lemons. I saw this recipe at Taste of Home. It is simple, but there are a few “tips” I will give at the end of the recipe. I did not have an 8×8 pan so I used a 9×9 pan. When I make it again, I will use the smaller pan so the fudge is more substantial.


* 1-1/2 teaspoons plus 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided
* 1 package (4.3 ounces) cook-and-serve lemon pudding mix
* 1/2 cup cold 2% milk
* 3-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
* 1 teaspoon lemon extract


* Line an 8-in. square pan with foil. Grease the foil with 1-1/2 teaspoons butter; set aside.
* In a large heavy saucepan, combine the pudding mix, milk and 1/2 cup unsalted butter. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened. Remove from the heat. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and extract. Pour into prepared pan; refrigerate until set.
* Using foil, lift fudge out of pan. Discard foil; cut fudge into 1-in. squares. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: about 1-1/2 pounds.

** Melodye’s notes

  • I used Durkee Lemon Flavor Pie filling and pudding ~~ 4 oz package.  Do not use instant pudding.
  • I did not use 1 1/2 tsps. of butter to grease the pan.  I lined the pan with non-stick Reynolds wrap.  Worked like a charm.
  • The recipe says to cook until thickened.  After it thickened, I cooked it for an additional 1 minute.  (one of the comments on the recipe page was that one woman couldn’t get the fudge to set up.  She probably undercooked it)
  • I used whole milk.  I had skim milk too but was afraid it wouldn’t thicken properly.
  • I made some lemon rind ribbons, sugar coated them and put them on top of the fudge.  Next time I will make more lemon rind ribbons and make sure each piece has a little pile on top.

I was afraid it would be too lemony and have an “aftertaste.”  It did not.  It was light.  It was sugary.  It was wonderful!  I will make it again!  Here is the link to the Taste of Home page:  Creamy Lemon Fudge

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