For the love of Chocolate

Because there are days when it seems extra necessary to get your daily dose of antioxidants through the two most beloved foods…. chocolate and berries.

Dark Chocolate Mini Cakes (makes 18)

1)   Mix together:

1 box brownie mix (19oz)

2 eggs

2 sticks melted butter

1/3 cup very hot water

3 TBSP instant coffee (or use 1/3 c very strong brew coffee- HOT)


2)   Bake in lined muffin tin at 350 for 10 minutes.  Makes 18 mini cakes if filled a little past half way.

They will be slightly soft in the middle.  Once cooled, this makes for a semi-molten center.


3)   Mix together with electric mixer:

1/2 stick butter, melted

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp vanilla

enough powdered sugar to make a thick icing that will hold it’s shape.

4)   Place in icing bag with wide tip (or ziplock sandwich bag and cut small corner off). Squeeze out icing in a spiral(like a snake) ending in the center.  

5)   TOP with raspberries stuffed with chocolate chips (stick one or two chocolate chips in the hole of the raspberry).  

Variety- the spice of life

Feeling like sharing some yankee love in honor of Columbus Day………

Ok so I must add this initial disclaimer. If you are from the “north” this may not come as “variety” to you, I am pretty sure that narrows down the list to my sister-in-law, Michelle, our friends the Nelsons, and my immediate family. 🙂  But since most folk we know are of the mid-west or southern persuasion, we thought THIS would add some variety to your “side dish” at dinner time. 🙂

“Salt Potatoes”- an common dish eaten by salt miners in days past, now loved by many O’ New Yorkers!


  • one bag of “salt potatoes” (if you don’t live in new york, then your grocery store calls them “baby” potatoes- they used to call them “grade B” potatoes my first year I lived in MO, but then suddenly they we re-labeled with a new price tag as “baby potatoes” as if that made them sound fancier)
  • 1 cup coarse salt
  • 1 large pot boiling water
  • melted butter

Add salt to water, boil, add potatoes, cook  until fork tender. Leave the potatoes whole- they should be about bite size.

Melt butter to dunk the potatoes in. mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm a yummy yankee side dish! Seriously, I could eat this with fresh corn on the cob and be done!


Salt and Vinegar “chips”-  Since I spent most of my summer weekends pretending to be canadian with my friend Laura, I just LOVE vinegar on my “chips” which are really fried potatoes (any way you slice them is fine) Personally, I haven’t met a potato that I don’t like. 🙂


  • 1 large potato per person eating- sliced like very thick potato chips
  • 2 cups vinegar (more if you are feelin’ really northern, eh)
  • large pot boiling water
  • salt and pepper
  • olive or veggie oil

Add vinegar to water, par- boil potato slices- about 5 minutes.

Drain.  toss potatoes in oil- lightly

Lay out on greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle with salt AND pepper

Broil on high 7-10 minutes (or more for extra crunchy)

Eat and enjoy. (oh, and to be more northern you can add additional malt vinegar before eating- but NOT ketchup)

🙂 Happy Belated Columbus Day!!!

Pizza Dip

Pizza Dip:

Ok- so I found this recipe on line and it is soooooooo yummy!!!! Served with fresh flat bread. I just make dough like I am going to make pizza crust. Sprinkle it with olive oil and salt. Bake.

I altered the original recipe that I found online.  I needed it to be more big family friendly- plus who wants to run out of something so yummy.  Better to have left overs than not enough!

Pizza Dip

(The picture is not my original- it comes from the online recipe site where I found this and other fun recipes called “closet cooking”- I didn’t have time to take a pix- my kids ate it all up) 

Pizza Dip

A layered, hot cheesy dip with all of the great pizza flavours including pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, olives and green peppers.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 1 jar pizza sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
  • 6 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 small can black olives, sliced
  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, mozzarella and parmigiano reggiano and spread it across the bottom of a 9X13 pan.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the cheese, pepperoni, green pepper and olives.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the cheese has melted, bubbling and golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  4. We served ours with fresh sliced bell peppers- raw.  The kids dunked them in  the pizza sauce too. yum!


Creativity #2

Another boredom buster…..

Dandelion Jelly

It tastes just like honey, really it does.  Now I know there a just a few “bee lovers” reading this blog entry, so I challenge you to make some and do a taste test for yourself!  Let us know your thoughts.  As for us, non-bee loving folk, we think it tastes like honey!

Directions for fun:

Set children loose in dandelion infested lawn (free from little doggie piles 😉 )  Arm them with clean buckets and instruct them to attack all dandelions in sight.  Grabbing only the “head” and pluck with all your might!  Fill buckets.  Return home.

Ok, Now take them inside and cut off the little stems.  We just held on to the pedals and snipped off the stem that holds them together.  Place all the pedals in a large pot, add 5 cups boiling water. Cover and let “steep” (to make dandelion tea) over night.  Overnight is good because then it is stronger. Extra tea can be used as….tea! Just add sugar and serve over ice.

The next day, drain the tea .  We put a large coffee filter in our pasta strainer.  Discard the pedals, keep the tea. You need 3 cups of tea in the end. Proceed to making the jelly by combining tea, with 5 cups sugar, 2 Tbsp lemon juice (don’t skip this or your pectin wont work- pectin needs acid to set up), 1 box powdered pectin.  Now I doubled this recipe.  I made one big pot of tea, but then divided it to make the jelly in two batches.  For some strange reason every time I try to double jelly recipes they don’t set-up as well. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Put into jars, process ten minutes in boiling water canner.  Or stick it in your fridge and pass it out as a fun gift.

Two things.  First, I found the recipe on  they have tons of great ideas for summer fun.  Second, although they are not pictured here, the boys did participate. They ran and ran and ran and ran and ran and collected some dandelions along the way 🙂










Some days need a little spice… spice.  Around here when the temperature rises our children begin to melt!  They loose all ability to enjoy things and begin to moan… “It’s hot and sticky”

After a good dousing with the hose or sprinkler, comes CREATIVITY to the rescue!!!


Could they be octopus? A squid? Tails of some odd creature? How did they get there? How did she do that? Oh, I love to watch their wheels churn.  In the end, I finally told them how it was done. Easy peasy FUN!

Here’s the creativity secret………….drum roll please……………….

spaghetti stuck through a hot dog! Not rocket science, but brilliant (I found the idea on line) Boil and enjoy.  No need for butter, the hot dog “juice” takes are of that. Adults beware- the pasta tastes like a hot dog too!!!  See my one step tutorial below 😉