Category Archives: Recipes

Chocolate Zucchini Bread | Recipes

One of my favorite things about summer is the recipes I discover while searching for ways to use up excess zucchini. Zucchini usually takes on the flavor of what it’s being baked with and adds a nice moistness to your baked goods. Several years ago, I discovered this recipe and it’s become one of my favorites. 



Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 large eggs
2 Cups sugar
1 Cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 TB. butter
6 TB. cocoa
2 Cups zucchini, grated
2 Cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
11/2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until well blended. In a small saucepan, melt 2 TB. butter, add 6 TB. cocoa powder and blend together until smooth. Set aside to cool. Peel and grate the zucchini. Add zucchini and cooled cocoa mixture to the large mixing bowl and blend well. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and chocolate chips. Add dry ingredients to the batter. Stir only enough to blend in all the dry ingredients. Spoon the batter into two generously greased and floured loaf pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pans and continue to cool on a wire rack.


Homemade Decadence | Book Review

I love baking for my family. And with lots of brothers, I’ve never had a lack of taste-testers. [grin] When I saw this book, I knew I had to try it. An entire book filled with “irresistibly sweet, salty, gooey, sticky, fluffy, creamy, crunch treats”? Yes, please!

Filled with delicious recipes and beautiful pictures, Homemade Decadence by Joy Wilson is a good addition to your kitchen library. Recipes are divided into chapters such as, “Brunch”, “Pies, Crumbles, & Cobblers”, and “Ice Cream Social”. Just a few of the recipes included are, “Vanilla Sugar Doughnuts”, “Oatmeal Sandwich Cookies with Creamy Peanut Butter Filling”, “Toasted Marshmallow Squares”, “Brown Sugar-Cream Cheese Ice Cream”, and “Dark Chocolate Brownies Cupcakes”. Is your mouth watering yet?

Of course, in order to provide an accurate review, I had to test several recipes. The “Maple Apple Upside-Down Cake” would be a delicious addition to any fall party or dinner. My younger siblings especially enjoyed the “Vanilla Bean Confetti Cookies”. I did substitute vanilla extract for the vanilla bean and the cookies turned out just fine. I also tried the “Under-Baked Chocolate Chip Skillet Cake”. If you like your cookies under-baked with just a bit of crispiness, you’ll love this cake.

Note: The one thing I did not like about the book were all the beverage recipes that had an alcoholic beverage as an ingredient.

Disclaimer: Blogging for Books sent this book to me in exchange for my honest and thoughtful review. 

English Muffin Pizzas | Recipes

I found this recipe last spring while pulling recipes together to teach a cooking class to 5th and 6th grade girls. The girls loved putting these together! They’re super easy, fun, and delicious.

My youngest brothers heard about the pizzas and asked several times if we could try them at home. We finally got the ingredients and made them for lunch one day last week.

English Muffin Pizzasphoto 1

6 English Muffins
1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
Mozzarella cheese
Oregano (optional)

photo 2

Cut pepperoni into quarters.

photo 3

Break muffins open and arrange on large sheet pan.

photo 4

Spoon tomato sauce over muffins and sprinkle with a bit of oregano.

photo 5

Sprinkle a small amount of cheese on each muffin.

photo 6

Arrange pepperonis on the pizzas. Broil for 5 minutes.

photo 7

Enjoy! Easy and simple to make. It’s a great lunch to have little siblings help with.

Buckeye Cookies & Life | Personal

Life has been super busy for me. My mom has been sick for three weeks which left me in charge of keeping the house going. It’s provided plenty of practical homemaking experience. I enjoy doing housework but it can be a bit daunting at times. Laundry, grocery shopping, and meal preparation for 10 people is a lot to keep up with!

We are also busy preparing for Vacation Bible School. Each year, Mom is in charge of organizing the program for the grandmothers. With Mom being sick, however, yours truly has had to fill in. This week found me shopping for and preparing 21 gift baskets to use as door prizes each day. Again, a daunting but good experience.

Next week, my family is heading to Indiana for a family reunion. I am looking forward to talking, laughing, and relaxing for hours with some of my very closest friends. I had a three way video chat with a few cousins the other evening finalizing food details and we were giddy with excitement. [grin]


One of food items we’re bring to our family reunion next week is these mouth-watering Buckeye Cookies. I am firmly convinced that chocolate and peanut butter is one of the best food combinations ever. I created these cookies after seeing a similar recipe on Pinterest. I did not have a brownie mix so made a chocolate cookie base instead. My siblings quickly devoured the test batch. Here’s the recipe.

Buckeye Cookies

Cookie Base:
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Buckeyes:
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Topping:
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. shortening

Beat butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla until fluffy–about two minutes. Add baking soda, flour, cocoa, and salt and beat at low speed. Scrape the bowl and beaters and mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by generous tablespoons on ungreased cookie sheet, 12 to a sheet. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes.

While cookies are baking, blend peanut butter and powdered sugar until smooth. Form into small balls. Press a ball into each cookie immediately after you take them out of the oven. Let cool for 5 minutes, then move to a wire rack.

Melt chocolate chips and shortening. Top each cookie with about 1/2 tbsp. of chocolate, covering the peanut butter. Let cool completely and enjoy!

Berry and Oreo Dessert

My little sister Chloe made this dessert for our family recently. I posted a picture on Instagram and Facebook and got requests for the recipe. Here you go!

Berry and Oreo Dessert
Serves 12
2 pkg. strawberry jello
4–6 oz. containers strawberry yogurt
1 pkg. Cool Whip
Mixed Berries

Mix dry jello mix and and yogurt until well blended. Stir in Cool Whip. Spoon into 12 dessert dishes. Top with berries and Oreos. Serve.

Chloe busily mixing up her special dessert.

White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch

Enjoy this recipe for White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch. We were given Cinnamon Crunch Cereal and we had white almond bark left over from Christmas baking, so I created the following recipe. Yum!


White Chocolate Popcorn Crunch
12 oz. White Almond Bark
6 cups Popcorn, unsalted, unbuttered (Here is my favorite recipe.)
5 cups Cinnamon Crunch Cereal
Chocolate Chips, optional

Mix popcorn and cereal in large bowl. Melt bark and pour over popcorn and cereal. Stir with a spatula until everything is well coated. Cover a baking sheet with wax paper or parchment paper. Spread mix, sprinkle chocolate chips, and cool. After mix has hardened, break up into bite-sized pieces and enjoy.


Homemade Peppermint Patties

I enjoy York Peppermint Patties so when I found a recipe for homemade peppermint patties, I quickly pinned it. They’re easy to make and a delightful treat. Find the recipe on Oh! Nuts. 


Gather your filling ingredients: heavy cream, powdered sugar, peppermint extract, and butter.


Dump all filling ingredients into mixer.


And, begin mixing…

…and mixing…
…and mixing some more.


Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gather all the crumbs into a large ball. Shape ball into a long tube, the circumference of a peppermint patty. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes.


Once tube is very firm, slice into 1/4″ rounds. Don’t worry about making them perfectly round.


Melt semisweet chocolate chips for coating.


Thoroughly coat each round in chocolate, tap off extra chocolate and place on parchment paper.


You may have some “puddles” form. You can cut them off after they’ve all dried.


The recipe makes about three dozen. With eleven people living at home, they don’t last too long around here. 🙂

Mini Layer Cakes

We were given a cake mix and canned frosting several weeks ago and I decided to try a slight twist on the classic layer cake.

Ready to get started.

Beat eggs and water.

Add mix.

Grease 12 8 oz. ramekins–these will be your pans.

Divide batter evenly between ramekins and bake at 350º for 25 minutes. If your oven bakes hot, check at 20 minutes for doneness.

Let cool in ramekins for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and flip onto cooling rack. Let cool completely.

After they’ve cooled, use a knife to even them up. Don’t eat the scraps, I will show you a delicious idea later.

I mixed up a basic buttercream but dissolved some espresso in the milk before adding it.

Mocha is a favorite around here! 🙂

Use your canned chocolate frosting on the first layer. Tip: use a cup to hold the icing bag while you fill it.

Use a large tip to pipe your mocha frosting on the second layer.

There you have it, mini layer cakes!

See that little sandwich? That’s the scraps with some leftover frosting piped in there. Your brothers will love you! 🙂

Serve half of a mini layer cake per person.

Nutella Bites

While babysitting my youngest brothers, Joseph and Nathan, a few weeks ago, we decided to bake something. We had gotten some Nutella on sale and found a simple recipe that they could do with just a little supervision.


Nutella Bites:
2 eggs
1 c. Nutella
10 Tbsp. flour
Extra Nutella

Mix all ingredients together. Drop by tablespoons into mini muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Remove muffins from pan and let cool. Frost with the extra Nutella.


S’more Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are a favorite at our house but sometimes we “need” something a little different. We had leftover marshmallows from a cookout and I decided to experiment.


Mix up a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookie dough.

_MG_8854 copy

Bake cookies for about six minutes. Remove from oven, place one large marshmallow on each cookies. Bake for additional 3-4 minutes or until done.


The cookies looked a little lonely and bare so I decided to drizzle a bit of frosting. I whisked some powdered sugar, cocoa and milk together till it looked and tasted okay. Drizzle each cookie with frosting.


The delicious, final product. My brothers enjoyed them so I knew they were a success.

Ingredients needed:
One batch of chocolate chip cookie dough
One bag of large marshmallows
Powdered sugar, cocoa, and milk to make a thin frosting