Paula’s Banana Pudding

This dessert screams summer and I will tell you it’s the best banana pudding I have ever had. My best Joanne made this recipe about 15 years ago and told me to make it. So in memory of her, I did and wished I had not waited so long. I do one thing different to the recipe that Paula did not do. I used Fruit Fresh on the bananas and they stayed perfectly yellow, even days later. No cooking or baking in this recipe so it’s perfect for our hot summer days.

Ingredients:

1 5 ounce box of instant vanilla or French vanilla pudding (I used vanilla since I could not find French Vanilla in that size)

3 packages of Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies

12 ounces Cool Whip, thawed

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature

1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk

2 cups milk

6-8 large bananas, sliced

2 Tablespoons Fruit Fresh mixed with 3 Tablespoons of water (Fruit Fresh is found in the canning isle of your grocery store)

Line a 13 x 9 pan with Chessman cookies. Using a hand mixer, prepare pudding with the 2 cups of milk an set aside. In another bowl, combine cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Fold Cool Whip into cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Slice bananas and add to a bowl of Fruit Fresh and water. Toss bananas in the Fruit Fresh and layer on top of Chessman cookies. Fold sweetened condensed milk/cream cheese/cool whip into pudding and pour over bananas and cookies. Smooth the top of pudding and cover with another layer of Chessman cookies. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Easy Lemon Cheesecake Tart

I wanted to create an easy dessert for Easter and/or spring. Baking time is only 10 minutes and that’s for the crust. This can easily be made a day or two ahead of time which is great before a holiday. This easy dessert comes together quickly and is so yummy.

Baked Cookie Crust

Ingredients for Crust:

1 package of Keebler Shortbread cookies plus 1 sleeve of another package of shortbread cookies

4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Crush cookies with a rolling pin or food processor. Drizzle melted butter over cookie crumbs. Form a crust in a tart pan (mine was 10 1/2”). Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. This is the only baking this recipe requires. Cool completely before adding Cheesecake mixture.

No bake cheesecake filling
Lemon Curd topping

Cheesecake Ingredients:

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese plus 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cups heavy cream

1/3 cup sugar

Refrigerate mixing bowl and attachment(s) in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Beat cream cheese, sugar and extract together until smooth. Add whipping cream and beat until soft peaks form. Spread evenly into tart shell. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or longer.

Top with 2 10 ounce jars of prepared lemon curd. I bought mine in the grocery store in the jelly section. I have made homemade lemon curd many times but since I work a lot of hours in a week, I used store bought for that reason. Plus the cost of eggs is outrageous right now. Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerator any leftovers. Enjoy!

Mom’s Pumpkin Crunch

This is my Mom’s recipe. Not a fan of pumpkin pie, this recipe I love. My sons love it too. It has been around for a long time. Some people call it Pumpkin Dump Cake and some also refer to this recipe as Pumpkin Cobbler. Whatever you call it, it’s amazing!

Pumpkin Crunch

1 can of solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 can of evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 box of yellow cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans

1 stick of butter, melted

Whipped cream, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13 x 9 pan with Pam.

Combine pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, sugar and pumpkin pie spice with your mixer. Pour into your baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix over the top of the pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle pecans over the cake mix. Drizzle the top with melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes. *The top seems to get brown very quickly so I tent foil over the top the last 20-30 minutes of baking.

This can be eaten warm, I typically serve it room temperature topped with whipped cream. I do refrigerate leftovers if there is any. Enjoy!

Reese’s Cocoa Pebbles Treats

I love peanut butter and chocolate. Always have. Here is my new recipe, Reese’s Cocoa Pebbles Treats. The ingredients are cereal, marshmallows, butter, peanut butter and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or Pumpkins. A peanut butter and chocolate lovers dream.

Ingredients:

1 stick of butter

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1 entire bag and 3/4 bag of miniature marshmallows

3/4 package of Halloween Reese’s pumpkins or Peanut Butter Cups (the rest were tasted for quality control 😉), roughly chopped

10 cups of Cocoa Pebbles cereal

Melt butter. Add peanut butter to the pan and melt the peanut butter into melted butter. Add in the roughly chopped Reese’s pumpkins or peanut butter cups. Once melted, stir in the cereal and press into a buttered 13 x 9 pan. Decorate if desired and once cool, cut into squares. Enjoy!

Princess Willow approves

Mom’s Lemonade Pie

I grew up eating lemonade pie as a child. My Mom loved easy recipes, she was not really a baker. We had this pie in a prepared pie crust, I made my own. She would use canned whip cream on top, I made homemade. This pie does need to sit in the fridge after it’s made for at least 6 hours or overnight. A great make ahead dessert.

Pie Crust:

2 cups of graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of butter, melted

1 healthy pinch of salt

I/4 cup granulated sugar

Cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk after whipping for 3 minutes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix above ingredients and press into a deep dish pie pan. Bake crust for 8 minutes and cool completely. I place pie pan in the fridge to get cool after it’s not hot right out of the oven.

Pie Ingredients:

6 ounces frozen lemonade, thawed pink or yellow, it doesn’t matter, choose your favorite

1 can sweetened condensed milk, that has been refrigerated

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese, room temperature

A few drops of yellow or red food coloring, optional depending on what color of lemonade you select

1 8 ounce container of whipped topping, thawed

Mix together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together. Whip for 3 minutes, this will increase the volume and thicken the mixture. Add lemonade and food coloring if desired. Combine until blended. Add container of whipped topping and stir to blend or use whisk attachment on low speed. Using a cool/cold pie crust, add the pie filling. Place in refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Decorate with whip cream, sprinkles if desired. This is a great summertime dessert. Enjoy!

*This recipe is so old, lemonade is no longer sold in the small 6 ounce cans. I easily scooped out half and saved the rest in the freezer for my next pie or pitcher of lemonade.

Elmo Frosted Almond Cupcakes

My precious granddaughter, Willow loves Elmo. She calls him Melmo. I decided to treat her and make her Elmo cupcakes. Everything on the cupcakes is edible, sugar eyes and Circus Peanuts. She was delighted and loved her Elmo cupcakes. Almond is Mommy’s favorite and she was also pleased. ☺️

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of flour

2 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup water

2 teaspoons of pure almond

extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with liners.

Mix dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients and blend well. Fill cupcake liners only 1/2 full. Bake 17 minutes or until done. Cool completely before frosting.

Almond Frosting:

2 sticks of room temperature butter

1/2 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

4-5 cups powdered sugar (depending on how stiff you want)

1 1/2 teaspoons of almond extract

2-3 teaspoons of milk or water

Red food gel if desired for Elmo*

Circus Peanuts for nose (found them at Walgreens)

Sugar eyeballs (can be found in the baking isle at Walmart, Michael’s or JoAnn’s)

Mix shortening and butter until light and fluffy. Add extract. On low speed add powdered sugar. If frosting is too stiff, add milk or water after food gel is added. *Do not use liquid food coloring, your frosting will be pink, not red. I used 1 1/2 small containers of red good gel coloring. Enjoy!

Frosting tips I used were 1M for the regular cupcakes and I used the grass tip for Elmo Wilton 233. Both tips can be found in the baking isle or purchased on Amazon.

Key West Key Lime Pie

Best Key West Key Lime Pie

I have vacationed in Key West many times. It’s my favorite city in Florida. Love the food, the history, the art galleries and overall everything about the city. A very fun place to visit. I am really not a pie fan but I do love Key Lime Pie. A lot. Key West makes the best. Now you can make your own and feel like you just visited The Keys.

Here is a picture of a key lime compared to a regular size lime.
The best way to juice a key lime is with a garlic press. It’s like it was made to juice!
As you can see, it works like a charm. Garlic press, my top secret weapon to juice key limes.

Ingredients Pie Crust:

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 stick of butter, melted

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, salt and butter in a bowl. Form crumbs into a deep dish pie pan. Bake for 8 minutes and cool completely before adding filling.

Whip it good!
Strain your key lime juice, I found seeds and it also removes the pulp.
Zest of a regular size lime added to the filling.
Baking away in Margaritaville 😉
She loves my Key West Key Lime Pie
Proudly modeling pie

Key Lime Pie Filling:

2 cans of sweetened condensed milk

8 egg yolks

1 cup of fresh key lime juice, strained,* (2 one pound packages of key limes)**

Zest of one regular lime

Beat sweetened condensed milk and egg yolks until thickened. Add lime juice slowly and lime zest. Add pie filling to completely cooled pie crust. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Do not let your pie get browned, it will have a jiggle but the pie will solidify after it’s cooled and chilled. Chill pie for minimum 3 hours, or longer. Garnish with fresh whip cream and a lime slice. Enjoy!

Simply the best!
*I have never used bottled key lime juice for anything. I know some of you may have trouble finding key limes. From research, I understand this is a good product but fresh juice is always best. This juice can purchased at grocery stores, Sam’s Club and ordered on Amazon.

**Before juicing limes, microwave them for 1 minute per pound. The heat will making juicing easier and yield more juice.

S’mores Cookie Pizza

Who doesn’t love S’mores? I have several family members that love them. Not always a convenient thing to make if you don’t have a fire pit or you are not camping. I have had this recipe in the works for a long time. I made a graham cracker cookie for the base and baked it. Then I broke up big bars of Hershey’s Chocolate Bars for the top and added marshmallows. Stuck it under the broiler and wow! Delicious. My family loved it. I must say the cookie was absolutely delicious too.

Ingredients:

1 cup of brown sugar

1 stick of butter, room temperature

2 eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup of flour

1 cup of graham cracker crumbs, I used the box kind for pie crust but if you make your own in the food processor, make the crumbs fine

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Z-3 large Hershey Candy Bars

1 bag of miniature marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I sprayed a stoneware pizza tray really good with nonstick cooking spray with flour. You can also use a cookie sheet but I would line it with parchment paper.

Mix sugar and butter together. Add eggs and vanilla and combine. Whisk together flour baking soda and salt in a separate bowl and gradually add to the sugar mixture in mixing bowl. Add graham cracker crumbs to the cookie cookie batter and combine. Form a large round cookie on baking stone or cookie sheet. Allow room for cookie to spread, because it will. Bake for 18 minutes or until done. Break up chocolate bars and place on cookie. Stick under the broiler until melty. Spread melted chocolate with a knife. Top with marshmallows and place under the broiler until toasted. Cut with a pizza slicer and serve. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Cookie

Years ago I used to buy those giant chocolate chip cookies that were sold at the mall. It’s been so long since I went to the mall, I don’t know if they are still in business. Recently my middle son Jonathan celebrated his birthday and he decided on a big cookie instead of cake. It was fun making this big cookie for him.for him.

Ingredients:

1 stick butter, room temperature

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups semi sweet semi sweet chocolate chips

Frosting and sprinkles for decorating

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and combine. Stir in chocolate chips. I used an 11.5 inch Wilton cookie pan that had been sprayed well with nonstick cooking spray with flour. You could free form it on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before decorating. Cut into slices with a pizza cutter. Enjoy!

A large pizza box is the perfect transportation vessel! Thank you Hungry Howies for giving me a clean pizza box and liner.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

My oldest grandson Dylan loves my red velvet cupcakes and cakes. He says my recipe is the best. I use good chocolate in my recipe and I don’t overdo the food coloring. I find that food coloring has an aftertaste and too much can ruin the flavor of whatever you use it in. Those are my tips for a good red velvet cake, good chocolate, not too much food coloring and coffee. Coffee is a must, it brings out the chocolate flavor in these red velvet cupcakes.

My birthday boy with his favorite, my red velvet cupcakes.
Batter with just the liquid ingredients

Ingredients:

1 cup of flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder, I use Ghirardelli’s

1 cup of granulated sugar

1 stick of butter, melted

1 egg

1/2 cup of real buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract*

1/2 – 1 ounce red food coloring

1/2 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar

1/4 cup of hot coffee

Batter after dry ingredients were added. You can see how the chocolate change the vivid red color to a brown-red color

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa. Set aside.

In your mixing bowl, mix together sugar and melted butter until incorporated. Add egg, buttermilk, vanilla and red food coloring, mix well. Stir in coffee and vinegar.

Slowly add dry ingredients to the liquid batter. Blend until combined. This batter is thin but it makes the best moist cupcakes in the world. Only fill liners to the half way mark. This recipe makes a bakers dozen (13). My recipe can be easily doubled to make 24 – 26 cupcakes. Bake for 15-17 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean. Do not over bake. These are super moist and delicious. Enjoy!

Red Velvet are the perfect cupcakes for Christmas.

Cream Cheese Frosting:

1 stick of room temperature butter

1 8 ounce block of cream cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract*

1 pinch of salt

4 cups of powdered sugar

Blend butter and cream cheese together. Add vanilla extract. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar. I used a 1M tip to decorate my cupcakes.

*I use Mexican vanilla, use good vanilla in everything you bake. It’s makes a big difference on the superior flavor. During the holiday season, sometimes you can find Mexican vanilla at Walmart and it can be ordered from Amazon.