Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies


Yahhhh…you won’t want to miss this one!

Click on the link below for my recipe site and be on your way to these fabulous treats today…

Chocolate Cherry Chip Brownies


Gourmet Peanut Butter Sampler from Uncommon Goods

I love peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower butter and on and on. This peanut butter sampler would make a fabulously different gift to surprise someone with. You can give it as one gift or break it up as party favors, host/hostess gifts, grab bags or token gifts!


Peanut Butter Sampler

$40.00 for Peanut Butter Sampler (flavors include:

Happy Trails Mix: Flaxseed, chocolate chips, raisins, split peanuts

White Chocolate Pretzel: Pretzel pieces, white chocolate chips

Snickerdoodle: Snickerdoodle popcorn

Chocolate Toffee: Milk chocolate, bits of toffee, rice crispies

Keep Smunchy: Honey roasted peanuts

Chocolate Coconut: Dark chocolate, shredded coconut, almonds

Exclusively at UncommonGoods.


Spice It Up for Valentine’s Day with The Spice House

How about a gift of spice for Valentine’s Day? If you like it hot, here is a great gift box to turn up the heat!

Spice House Hot Seasonings Assortment Gift Box

$22.95 for 4 jar Spice Gift Box – “Some Like it Hot” (includes: Hot Chili Powder, Vulcan’s Fire Salt, Very Hot Cajun Seasoning and Black & Red Spice)


If that much heat is more than you were looking for, check out their website for all of their fabulous gift boxes. There are plenty to give someone a little “sugar” or something in between sugar and spice!

click here:

White Chocolate Bark


Today, I needed to escape the pressures of working on my website and one of my happy places is in the kitchen. I am not sure why but White Chocolate Bark became the desired project so I set about creating flavors combinations.


Click on the link below to be taken to my recipe blog for the scoop and how to make it.

White Chocolate Bark


Maple Sugaring Starter Kit from Blain’s Farm and Fleet

Being from the Northeast and close to New England, maple sugar is a love of mine. I used to get little packages of pure maple candy when on vacation and I savored that treat. The way the sugar just melts and dissolves in your mouth….mmmmmm.

I received an email from Blains Farm and Fleet and this is what I saw (click on link). How fun! Aside from the kit, there are other related goodies.


This kit looks like so much fun, although I suspect there is a learning curve and a bit of work involved. But you just might have someone on your gift list who would love this fresh idea.

Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Starter Kit

$90.00 for Tap My Trees Maple Sugaring Kit


Even if I could take on this hobby, one important factor is missing…


We only have one tree in our backyard.

I guess there will not be a brunch at our house to celebrate my first batch of homemade maple syrup!

Mouthwatering Superbowl Must-Haves!

As a batch of chicken wing sauce simmers away on my stove, let me tell you a story…

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Meet one of the loves of my life…oh how I long for those wings and that pizza!

But we have a long-distance relationship because they are in NY and I am not.

Sure, it just looks like pizza and chicken wings, so what is my problem you are wondering – they are all over the place. Sadly, not all chicken wings and pizza have the same flavors and I cannot find those exact flavors in my Midwestern world.

So, I set about to see if I could create them myself.

I make a homemade pizza (homemade as in using frozen pizza dough!) that is tasty and has been a pleaser for years so it satisfies me when I want pizza even tho it is not the pizza you see above.

Thus, the chicken wing sauce became my obsession and after trying many recipes online I came up with the recipe below that is pretty darn close to the flavor that I crave. It seems that simmering the sauce to reduce it and then refrigerating it is key. Once you have the wing sauce, the possibilities are endless. Obviously it is perfect when paired with chicken wings but it is also delicious when tossed with popcorn chicken or as a dip for your chicken fingers. How about dunking your fried egg sandwich or adding it to a burger?

It is also fabulous in a Buffalo Chicken Pizza (see below) that was another favorite food from a restaurant in NY that I just had to figure out how to make myself.

I have also included a recipe for Blue Cheese Dip from the Pioneer Woman (adapted ever so slightly), that goes perfectly with this chicken wing sauce.

Just below the pictures are the links to my original posts and then the recipes follow in case you just need to get to the good stuff (although why you would want to miss out on my gabbing session is beyond me…)

Oh – and keep scrolling for the Hot Dog of your dreams!

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(I needed to show you two shots because you just had to see the melty blue cheese dollops)

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Pizza

  • Difficulty: easy but has a few steps
  • Print

Buffalo Chicken Wing Sauce

– adapted

8 tablespoons Frank’s Original Red Hot Sauce (try to use Frank’s Original – I have tried with the wing sauce version and it is not the same)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar (I used seasoned Rice Vinegar for a little flavor)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or less if you do not like as “garlicky”)
3-4 splashes of worcestershire sauce

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on a very light bubble for 15-20 minutes. Add more “cayenne heat” if you need to adjust the taste.

Remove from heat and let cool a bit.

You can use the sauce now, but I discovered that refrigerating it overnight made the flavors and ingredients blend into a much better “sauce”. Give it a stir. If you prefer or need to reheat it, you can use the microwave for short bursts at a time or use the stovetop just to warm it. If you are adding hot wings to the sauce then you really do not need to reheat it because the heat from the wings will soften the refrigerated sauce.

Blue Cheese Dip

I like the Pioneer Woman’s version of Blue Cheese Dressing so I used that and just tweaked it a bit.

1/2 cup mayo
3/4 cup sour cream
3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 cup Blue Cheese Crumbles
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and refrigerate.


What a Perfect Pair!


Yes this dog just might be your next best friend, the kind that you love to bring to parties and show off .


Sometimes, a simple hot dog is best. But when you want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to it, you can’t go wrong with meat sauce, and a hearty one at that. It’s easy to throw together and very forgiving if you need to substitute an ingredient or two.

Hot Dog Meat Sauce

Hot Dog Meat Sauce

1 lb ground beef (chicken, turkey, or even tofu I suppose)
1/4 cup pasta sauce
1/4 cup BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoons hot sauce of your liking (or omit)
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar, any kind – I used seasoned rice vinegar
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
3 dashes of soy sauce
salt & pepper to taste

– Brown and drain the ground beef.
– Combine all of the ingredients and mix in the ground beef.

Serve with fresh diced onions, fried onions and banana peppers…yum!

That’s it – you’re done! This can be made ahead of time and refrigerated if need be (just warm it before serving).

Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries from Shari’s Berries

$29.99 for 20 Hand-Dipped Ombre Cherries (white chocolate)


This idea all by itself is a fabulously fun way to send a little love for Valentine’s Day…or a baby shower, birthday party or “Just Because”.

But…because I have the “gift of gab” there is more to this post – a back story.

Last year when I started blogging one of my first recipes was for Nutella Chocolate Dipped Strawberries. I created this super easy treat because I like the idea of a chocolate-covered strawberry but trying to eat them is not pretty. The chocolate is hard and falls off when you bite into the strawberry. Then you have to coordinate putting a piece of the fallen chocolate with a bite of strawberry into your mouth.


I was planning to share that recipe, if you can call it that, for Valentine’s Day because there is the color red, there is chocolate and because it is a way to sneak in that tasty treat.

I also became obsessed with making chocolate-covered cherries over the winter holiday season and was going to add that recipe to my Valentine’s Day suggestions for gifts. But I was planning to tweak it a bit from the traditional treat. (Just to clarify, a chocolate-covered cherry works because the cherry is small enough to pop the whole treat into your mouth so that the hard chocolate doesn’t have a chance to fall anywhere other than where it is supposed to, your eagerly awaiting mouth.)


(it can be very gray here in Wisconsin – I will make a better picture someday, I promise!)

Then, today, a mailer came from Shari’s Berries and the above Ombre Cherries were featured. How fun (or Chow Fun as I like to say when I am being weird)!

The ombre cherries are made with white chocolate and it is tinted slightly a few times to make the “ombre” effect.

I had not thought of making ombre-colored cherries but I was considering trying white chocolate. I still think that good ole chocolate-chocolate would be my first preference but variety is the spice of life so I was up for the switch.

Until I get to whip up some of my own cherries and try this all out for myself to share with you, here are the recipes for my “Chocolate-Covered Strawberries” and the recipe for “Chocolate-Covered Cherries” that I found at Taste of Home and liked the best – I tried a few. (Click on the words above for the recipes).

And Another Birthday…


Happy Birthday Wee One!

This time we  celebrated my daughter’s birthday and she is all things pink, purple, sweets and treats.

I made a Giant Sugar Cookie using Wilton’s recipe because we have already “been there, done that” with birthday cake this month. Then I topped it with my Butter Frosting and some store-bought decorations, which are a family favorite – including me. Biting into that sugared decoration that has become slightly soft from the moisture in the frosting takes me back to my kid days. Delish!

Traditional Butter Frosting

4 tblsp soft butter
2 cups powdered sugar
1 to 2 tblsp milk or cream
1 tsp vanilla

With a mixer. combine all ingredients in medium-sized bowl. Start with 1 tblsp of milk and add more for consistency if needed. Tint as desired and frost away!

Birthday Cake Cheesecake from Wisconsin Cheeseman

Looing for a fun gift idea for a birthday?

How about this delicious looking Birthday Cake Cheesecake from the Wisconsin Cheeseman. It is sure to put a smile on your giftee’s face!

$32.99 for Birthday Cake Cheesecake

Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Our January is filled with lots of celebrations so we have many reasons to eat decadently and I get a chance to try a variety of recipes since we do not want to eat the same dessert for each “moment”. That would just be plain boring.

And kooky.

We have 3 birthdays (out of a family of 5) this month so we started the string of birthdays with a Chocolate-Cherry Cake that is a family recipe. It was moist and the chocolate was not too rich…it was delish!

Follow the links below for the cake recipe and for the cherry frosting – the combo was meant to be!

Why, you could even say that it is a “perfect pair”…



Chocolate-Cherry Cake

Maraschino Cherry Frosting

Chicken Soup for the Cold

Product Details

(photo from Amazon) :


We have a neighbor who takes care of us and I just don’t know what we would do without her, especially when we have colds. She brings us homemade chicken soup, with homemade noodles too. It is so comforting and delicious.

On the opposite spectrum are my childhood comforts in the packets of Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup. Some days, there is nothing like that little packet to make me feel better.

This is the season for colds and a wonderful gift for someone feeling under the weather is some chicken soup, whether it be homemade or store-bought. Add a box of tissues, a magazine or movie and some tea bags and it’s a wonderful “perk me up” for someone in need!

Stock your pantry the next time that you go grocery shopping and you will be ready whether you need it or a friend.


Creamy Eggnog Cake

Since it snowed today and I am pretending it is the White Christmas that we did not have, I made a Creamy Eggnog Cake based on the recipe below from Taste of Home. I had planned to make it earlier in the season and since that did not happen, today was the perfect time to do it.


Here is the link for the recipe: (I halved the recipe just to make one round cake)

Yuletide Eggnog Cupcakes from the December 2013 issue of Taste of Home Magazine

And here is a tip that I will share with you…

Try not to drop your whole nutmeg onto your frosting.

That is always good advice!


Homemade Old-Time Doughnuts


There is nothing like a homemade doughnut so today, I made some. (Click link for recipe)

These are the doughnuts that my mom made for me as a kid and they are what memories are made of!


Scandinavian Almond Cake


I have not been very forthcoming with the gift ideas this month.

I know.

For all those of you who were planning to rely solely on my gallery of gift ideas to complete your shopping needs, I do apologize. What’s the point in having a blog for gift ideas only to drop the ball at the busiest shopping/creating/baking/planning time of the year? It’s just questionable I tell ya.

Alas, it is one of those holiday seasons where sickness has plagued us in so many ways and I have tended to my family and immediate duties instead of my fabulous pile of gift ideas and trying out my folder full of recipes for the season. Sad, just sad.

Frequently I pull out my folders to peruse all of my “best intentions” only to set it aside and go “clean-up on aisle 5”.

Some day…some day…

Here and there, I squeak in a moment when I can but my plans were quite lofty, as they sometimes are.

But maybe this cake will make you feel better about things. It did for me.

It was a gift. Well, the cake pan and recipe were a gift. But getting to bake the cake was a gift too I suppose since I quite thoroughly enjoyed the moment. And eating it was a gift too.

Don’t you just love gifts that keep on giving?

I am guessing that you probably do not have this long boat-shaped pan, as I did not until now, so you could make it in a loaf pan I would assume.


It is simple and it can be for breakfast, dessert, tea time or the moments that you sneak a treat just because you can. Like going into the garage to eat a couple of cherry cookies (because I can keep food in the garage now that it is cold and because no one can see me eating cherry cookies, or any cookies if I sneak into the garage).

Scandinavian Almond Cake

Goodies for Gifts

A potpourri of sickness has descended upon us and that has put a damper on my holiday prep. But I was determined to make some goodies to give as gifts.

The chocolate-covered cherries that I posted about recently have been a fun treat and I have made a few batches. I tried both recipes and found that I preferred one the best. I have a few tweaks to try but in the meantime, they are delicious!

Here is the recipe that I liked the best. The other recipe uses corn syrup which made the centers a bit chewy and tough, although it was easier to work with.


I also followed a recipe from McCormick for Spiced Nuts. Here is that link…

Wolferman’s Festive House of Treats

I love the packaging for this gift!

The breakfast treats ain’t bad either…

$29.95 for Festive House of Treats (25% discounted price)

Gifts of Food, Music & More from “Menus and Music”

I was quite taken with the “Music and Menus” collection and thought that these would make great gifts. They have recipes with a music CD to match different types of gatherings and moments…very fun and different and so many to choose from!

$26.00 for Christmas Cookies – A collection of recipes for holiday baking and a music CD from the Nutcracker Ballet


$26.00 for Chocolate Bliss – A collection of chocolate recipes and a music CD


$12.00 for Bourbon Black Tea, 28 pyramid sachets


I love this idea, especially for a new baby gift. I have to admit that anything beyond meat and veggies that I could grill or roast was too taxing for me when I was home with new babies…and often even today…but I still love the idea!

$26.00 for Home With Baby – A collection of simple recipes and a soothing lullaby CD


$29.00 for Paris Cafes – A collection of recipes and a music CD from the Heart of Paris Cafes


$38.00 for Swinging French Jazz: Favorite Parisian Bistro Recipes and a Jazz music CD


$26.00 for Invitation to Tea – A collection of tea fare recipes and a relaxing chamber music CD


$26.00 for Cooking With the Blues – A collection of comfort food recipes and a soulful blues CD


$26.00 for Cocktail Hour – A collection of party appetizer recipes and a piano jazz music CD

Bouquets Garnis from Quelobjet

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shared this gift idea in their Food section and I thought it was a unique fun gift. A package of 8 Bouquets Garnis – savory herbs rolled up in bay leaves and wrapped – perfect for stews, soups and more. What a great stocking stuffer, host/hostess gift or token gift for foodies on your gift list!

Plus, I get to practice my French when I say it…

Merci beaucoup pour ecouter…(excuse my French – and my grammar…and my spelling – it’s been a while)!

$15.00 for pkg of 8 Bouquets Garnis from Quelobjet

Host a Sprinkle Party!


To switch things up a bit, host a “Sprinkle Party” this year instead of a Cookie Exchange. It’s fun to have a variety of sprinkles but unless you do a lot of baking that involves sprinkles, no one needs 100 bottles hanging around. If everyone brings enough of one type of sprinkle, you as the host can supply some small bottles, mini-mason jars or even baggies to divvy up the sprinkles so everyone can take a variety home with them for the season’s baking moments. (But, if you are crazy you can just exchange whole bottles and then figure out where you’re going to keep them all!)

Provide gift bags so that each guest can put all of their goodies in one bag and you can add a new bottle of sprinkles as a take home gift too. Why not throw in a cookie cutter or two to make it a fabulous take-home gift!

Your event could be as simple as having some appetizers out while you chit chat and share sprinkles or you could even add cookies to the mix and decorate them…to eat them all up or take them home!

Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Thanks to Hershey for putting out a Pumpkin Spice Kiss candy, I switched up an old family favorite and made some delicious fall cookies!


Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Sweet Treats and Gifts for Gals

This may be a bit frivolous but I do have to say that the water dripping down my arm into my sleeve does get annoying. Would I actually use these? I am not sure but it seems like a good idea though.

$25.00 for Drip Not! set – absorbent bands to catch water that drips down arms when washing face and a towel to keep your hair out of the way

From Femail Creations


Check out these goodies from Miles Kimball’s Candy Shoppe

$14.99 each, gift box includes 8 spoons, flavors available: clover, lavender or honey & lemon


I love brittles and even more so when I see a flavor other than peanut!

$6.99 for 6 oz. Gingerbread Brittle

Maybe for the mail deliverer, garbage collectors or pet sitter?


$26.99 for 1 lb. collection of Penny Candy

Ahhh…good old nostalgia! 1 cent and 5 cents is what I remember.

Halloween Goodies!

I have mixed feelings about Halloween.

Happy Halloween by the way! (or almost, if you are reading this on the eve when I actually posted it).

It is a fun holiday. I love silly spooky and I get a kick out of the old time black and white movies as well as the kid shows.

But I also have to find costumes that my kids can maneuver in at school independently (they have to go to the bathroom) and no store-bought costume fits that description. I prefer homemade costumes but since we entered the social domain at schools, my kids found out that there is a larger world than a costume that mom made.


The candy negotiations begin as well and little by little, my wee ones stock dwindles (sometimes my secret stash gets bigger depending on what they scored). They do well with momma’s limits and soon they forget what they had. Then I move to close the Halloween candy deal in a few days and move on. So far, that works. As they get older, I will have to come up with something new.

This year, I was on a mission to send some healthy treats to my son’s Halloween party, in addition to my favorite Rice Krispy Treats. I saw these dressed up bananas and mandarin oranges during an online search (see the site link below) and fell in love!

Somehow though, in the translation of many back and forth emails with my son’s class party people, I ended up being assigned something else and someone got to make my bananas. Bummer!

But I wanted to share these with you in case you need some ideas. I made these at home for my kids any ways and they were a big hit. But they were supposed to be a bigger hit.

I had to tell someone, so thank you for listening.

Aren’t they great? And easy!


I did get to make my Rice Krispy Treats (and eat some)…


And because it is Halloween, I made one candy corn levitate…



Happy Halloween!

Don’t get a bellyache-


Homemade “One Cup” Mini Hot Chocolate Mix



Move over Keurig, these clever little mini hot chocolate gift jars make the perfect gift! You could use them as little token gifts or deliver a whole selection…just be sure to keep one for yourself! (I think I say that quite often…)



Plum Pudding from the Vermont Country Store

$16.90 for 2 small Plum Puddings (these would make great token gifts!)
$19.95 for 1 large Plum Pudding

add Brandy Sauce or Brandy Butter for a little extra touch of the holidays

$14.90 for 2 pkgs. of Brandy Sauce
$15.95 for Brandy Butter

Wisconsin Cheeseman Gifts

These coffee-flavored cakes are a neat treat for those who love their coffee.

$21.99 for Coffee Petits Fours


$22.99 – $27.99 for Fruit & Nut Breads & Cremes (7 or 9 bread packages available: lots of flavors!)


This looks amazing – I would probably eat way too much and then be sorry, but I know I would do it any way!

$15.99 each for Bread Cheese (browned crusty top best served warm or fried? Oh yeah…!) Original or Jalapeno flavors available


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