Monday, June 1, 2020

Best Brownies

 Today I've made  Best Brownies, which I have been making since the 1970's, but have never shared the recipe on my blog before now.   We can sit in front of my little waterfall, and enjoy some peace. 

 My neighbor gifted me with this  stack-able tea for one set several years ago.  Isn't it sweet?

 This is one of my birdhouses that I have in my backyard. 

 I guess I have a thing for birdhouses!

 My son, Mike, painted this picture and gave it to me for my February birthday.  It has all the birds that visit my backyard, and represent family members.  My granddaughter, Ella, asked Mike, "Where's Nana?"  Mike said that I wasn't in it, and she thoughtfully said, "Oh... Nana is the branch".  Wasn't that the sweetest?

 I have the painting hanging in my living room, and I love it!

Yield: 16
Best Brownies

Best Brownies

These truly are wonderful brownies, and are made with common pantry ingredients. I adapted the recipe to make in just one bowl, for easier cleanup.


  • For the Brownies:
  • 1/2 cup oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional), but I like to put them on top of the frosting
  • For the Frosting (if using)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup or honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk


  1. For the Brownies:  Blend oil (or melted butter), sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Add eggs, and beat well with a spoon.  Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt and mix until well blended.  Stir in nuts, if using (or save for topping).
  2. Spread in a greased 9" square pan (an 8" pan works, too).  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Cool in pan.  Frost if desired.
  3. For the Frosting:  Cream butter, cocoa powder, corn syrup and vanilla in small mixing bowl.  Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency.  About 1 cup of frosting.
  4. Top with chopped nuts, if desired.
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Monday, May 25, 2020

Cake Balls

 My granddaughter spent the night with me, and we made some patriotic cake ball treats to have with a cup of tea, to have for Memorial Day.   The lavender topiary was a Mother's Day gift from my daughter.

A friend mailed this Poppy teacup to me after my beloved husband passed away back in 2013.  Isn't it beautiful, and such a loving remembrance of loved ones and perfect for Memorial Day.  

 Cissy loves having breakfast in bed at Nana's house.  She has her tea for one set filled with her favorite Vanilla Chai tea.  Of course, she likes to top it with whipped cream.

Yield: 3-4 dozen

Cake Balls

Cake Balls

These are fun little treats and are varied by flavor of cake choice and sprinkles used.


  • 1 box of cake mix (we used red velvet) + ingredients to make the cake
  • 1 cup of prepared frosting (we used vanilla, but cream cheese would be good)
  • Almond Bark (we used vanilla)
  • Sprinkles of your choice


  1. Prepare and bake cake according to package directions, but using a 9 x 13" pan.
  2. Let the cake cool on a cooling rack.
  3. After the cake is cool, crumble it up into a large bowl.
  4. Add the 1 cup of prepared frosting and mix well.  Refrigerate the mixture for about 30 minutes to make it easier to form the balls.
  5. Form the balls and place on parchment or waxed paper lined baking sheets.  At this point you could freeze the balls and dip them later, if you  wish.
  6. Melt the Almond Bark according to package directions. 
  7. Dip the balls into the melted almond bark.  We found that using a fork worked well.  Place the cake balls onto the sheets, and immediately sprinkle with your choice of sprinkles. 
  8. Let the cake balls harden, and then refrigerate them.  I even freeze them for longer storage. 
  9. Enjoy!
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Monday, May 18, 2020

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

 How about taking a little vacation by eating some Key Lime Pie?  This one is a little different because of the pretzel crust, which complements the sweet/tart flavor of the filling. My little frog planter has been with me since 1985, when neighbors gave it to me when we left Ohio.  My shamrock plant survived being outside for over a year. 

 This pretty teacup was another one of my beloved Mom's.  The saucer has the same pretty bouquet underneath the cup.  

This teacup is Cissy's favorite, and was a gifted to me in a teacup exchange.  One day, Cissy will be gifted it.

You only need a small slice of this pie to satsify your sweet tooth.

My grandson, Caiden, celebrated his 15th birthday this week.  He's taller than my daughter and I now!

Just look at this cake that Riley, Cissy, and my daughter, Molly, made for him!!  Isn't it clever with the candy pouring down on top of the cake?  Caiden LOVES candy!  When he cut into it, candy poured out of it! 

My granddaughter, Avery, turned 13, and I was able to pick her up for a birthday dinner date. We did takeout from Chick Fil A (her choice).   Avery loves cannolis, so I made her a cannoli cake.

Here we are with her little sister, Ella, who joined us.

Yield: Depends on how big the slices are cut

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

Key Lime Pie with Pretzel Crust

This pretzel crust goes perfect with the sweet/tart flavor of the filling.


  • Crust
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons  very finely ground salted pretzel crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons  sugar
  • 7 tablespoons  butter, melted
  • Filling
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • two 14-ounce cans sweetened
  • 3/4 cup Key Lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons  fresh-squeezed lime juice (from standard limes)
  • zest of 1 lime (about 2 teaspoons), optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" pie pan with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Crush the pretzels until very fine; processing in a food processor for about 30 seconds works well. 
  3. Add the sugar and melted butter, mixing to combine; you can do this right in the food processor. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes; the crust won't change color much, but will firm up. Remove from the oven and make the filling.
  5. Whisk together the egg yolks and condensed milk.
  6. Add the lime juice (and zest, if you're using it). The mixture will thicken almost immediately.
  7. Pour into the crust and smooth with a spatula.
  8. Bake the pie for 28 to 32 minutes, until the filling is set, with a small spot in the middle still soft-looking. Cool for several hours (or overnight) before serving.
  9. To serve, top with slightly sweetened whipped cream and a garnish of crumbled pretzels.
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