Crunchy Trail Mix

My mom sent this recipe to Laci and she was thrilled to get to make it for her soccer unit last fall. It was so popular, that Leslie made it for her soccer unit, too! It’s a great snack.


Crunchy Trail Mix


1 1/2 cups peanuts
1 1/4 cups raisins
3 oz. chow mien noodles (I used rice noodles)
1 pkg. peanut butter chips
16 oz. M & Ms

Mix everything together in a bowl. Store in an air-tight container.

It was easy to package it in individual sacks for soccer.


Laci with her treat to share.

This recipe is sure to cure any case of the “munchies”.

Thanks for reading,


Patriotic Fruit Pizza


Happy Independence Day! I often wish that I could be more cosmopolitan. I’d love to travel to Europe, maybe parts of Asia, or Africa. I even sometimes wonder what it’s like to live in another country, and speak more than one language! But, as I think about being from somewhere else, I can’t help but be grateful to be an American. We have so many freedoms in the U.S.A.! I am thankful for my brave European ancestors who risked everything to come to America for a better life. I have enjoyed many blessed years in my homeland, and by God’s grace, I hope to enjoy many more.

Last week, Laci found a picture online of a fruit pizza made to look like Old Glory. It looked so cute and sounded tasty, so we decided to make one ourselves. I’d never made a fruit pizza, but it wasn’t difficult at all. I found a recipe for Union Jack (the British flag), and made it look like our flag instead. When Terry saw the recipe with a photo lying on the counter, he asked, “Why are we making the British flag on Independence Day?” Ha! That would be funny, wouldn’t it? I quickly told him that I was making the right flag for the day.

Here’s the recipe:

First, line a 9 x 13 inch cake pan with foil, then spray with baking spray. Next, make one sugar cookie package mix according to the directions on the package. Spread the dough in the bottom of the lined cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I used the Krusteaz brand because the other brands were sold out. The crust was a little thicker than I expected, but wow! It tasted great! Let this cool completely (about 30 minutes) before adding the frosting.

For the frosting:

Mix using an electric mixer the following:

8 oz. cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Remove cookie from the foil and put on a cookie sheet or another plate. Spread frosting across the cooled cookie crust.

Use blueberries and strawberries to make the cookie look like Old Glory, and vanilla or white chocolate chips to make some “stars” among the blueberries. Refrigerate until ready to serve. After snapping some photos, we cut the slices and added more fruit, especially blueberries, to the individual servings. Click HERE for the original recipe I used.


It is a blessing to live in the “Land of the free, and the home of the brave”, but through Christ we can have the greatest freedom of all, freedom from sin.

And God’s grace knows no boundaries.

With love,


Happy {Cranberry} Thanksgiving!

I first read this charming story to Lauren when she was just four years old. Terry and I had decided to homeschool her and I jumped right in with pre-school using Before Five in a Row, a literature based unit study. I had never read many of the books used in this program, so when we found Cranberry Thanksgiving at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library, I was instantly taken with the sweet story and cute drawings. We made the reading of this story a tradition every Thanksgiving since then, checking it out of a library near us each year. I only recently was able to get my very own copy.

I have no idea why it took us so long, but this year, we actually made the cranberry bread that is the focal point of the story! The recipe is on the back of the book. I can only wonder if maybe I was intimidated at the idea of chopping cranberries? Or maybe I meant to do it, but the busyness of the holiday season caused me to forget? I don’t know, but I do know this: it’s never too late to start a new tradition! Lauren is a long way from four years old, but she enjoyed this tangy sweet bread along with the rest of us.

Matthew and I read this book a few nights ago, and I eyed the recipe anew. “I can do this.” I said. Matthew agreed and then proceeded to remind me every day. I added the ingredients to my list and took the plunge. Laci helped us, too.


Here’s the recipe. Of course, you can’t fully appreciate it unless you read the book, but you can always make the bread first. 🙂


2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups light raisins
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped


Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda into a large bowl. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add egg, orange peel, and orange juice all at once; stir just until mixture is evenly moist. Fold in raisins and cranberries.

Spoon into greased 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan, cool on wire rack.

If you choose, you may substitute cranberries for the raisins to have an all cranberry bread.

My notes:

I didn’t have a flour sifter, so I used a whisk to aerate the dry ingredients. I “sifted” the flour, measured it, then I measured out the other dry ingredients, sifted them, and stirred them all together with a whisk. I also didn’t use the orange peel. The main reason was that our store didn’t have oranges. I was going to use the peel from a tangerine, but I didn’t really have the right tool for grating it, so I omitted that altogether. I used fresh cranberries and regular raisins. It came out just fine, despite my modifications.

I hope you’ll be able to meet Maggie, Grandmother, Mr. Horace, and Mr. Whiskers – and enjoy some cranberry bread! – this Thanksgiving.

With love,


Taco Soup

Hey, friends! I just wanted to drop by and share this recipe with you. It’s a great one for chilly autumn evenings. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

taco soup


1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 small can green chilies (Ro-tel)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can hominy
1 1/2 cups water
1 package taco seasoning
1 package dry Ranch salad dressing

Garnish: shredded cheese, sour cream, nacho cheese Doritos


Brown beef and onion in a large skillet, drain. Add taco seasoning, Ranch dressing mix, water, and two or three of the canned ingredients (pick any of them) and bring to boil. Once it boils, pour into a crockpot and add remaining ingredients. Stir well and cook on high for two hours, or until heated. Top with cheese and sour cream and serve with nacho cheese Doritos.

P.S. The leftovers taste great, too!

Happy fall!


Mini Cherry-Pecan Pies

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One of the many benefits of homeschooling is that I get to teach, or rather, grade, Home Ec. Lauren is doing basic cooking and baking this semester, and we’ve all enjoyed tasting her efforts. Several months ago, I found this recipe in the coupon section of the Sunday paper. It sounded good so I bought a mini muffin pan just to make these. And then I never made them. When Lauren started Home Ec., I remembered this recipe and thought she should give it a try. As you can see in the photo, we also experimented with blueberry filling, but we preferred the cherry more than the blueberry.


1 cup butter, softened
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

1 (21 oz.) can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine crust ingredients in a large bowl. Beat at medium-high speed until mixture is creamy (1-2 minutes). Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.

Form dough into 1 inch balls and place in mini muffin tins. Using your finger dusted in flour, press dough into bottom and sides of tins. Fill each mini pie with about 1 tablespoon of pie filling. Bake uncovered for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before serving. If desired, top each mini pie with a pecan half for garnish just before serving.

I must warn you, they are small so there is a huge desire to eat several at one sitting! 🙂



Zesty Biscuit Bean Bake


This is a recipe that my mom made when I was growing up. It’s a nice change from the chicken casseroles or crockpot meals that I usually make, and like 99% of the meals I prepare, it’s super easy. I hope you’ll like it, too!


1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup onion
1 envelope sloppy Joe seasoning
large can (about 30 oz.) of baked beans
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar (I used 3)
1/2 cup ketchup
10 half-inch cubes of cheddar cheese
10 oz. can of biscuits


Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Brown beef and onion, drain. Add sloppy Joe seasoning, except one tablespoon. Also add beans, sugar, and ketchup. Heat till bubbly. Place one cheese cube in a biscuit and seal. Roll into a ball. Roll each biscuit in reserved sloppy Joe seasoning. Pour mixture in a 9 x 13 inch dish. Top with biscuits. Bake 20 – 25 minutes.

Bon appétit!


Glazed Lemon Cake

This may be more of a spring-time dessert, but I like it all year round, and so does my family. It has a tangy-sweet combination that will make your mouth water. It even makes a nice breakfast cake…which is  totally wrong, but I confess, I have indulged once. Or tw–enty times. Okay, enough about that. I hope you like this cake as much as we do!




1 package white cake mix

1 package (3.4 oz.) instant lemon pudding mix

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 cup lemon-lime soda


1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2 tablespoons lemon juice


Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 in. x 13 in. x 2 in. pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, oil and eggs; beat on medium speed for one minute. Gradually beat in soda. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes until cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.

To prepare glaze, combine confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice until smooth, carefully spread over warm cake.  All that’s left is for you to slice it, take a bite and savor each moist, scrumptious morsel.

With love,