Sunday, January 31, 2016



Olivia found this lovely recipe at a web site called  The ingredients are few and simple, but delicious nonetheless.  With Valentine's Day just a couple of weeks away, you might consider making these lovely confections for someone close to you.  You might even consider ground hazelnuts as a garnish instead of coconut if you like.  Be creative.  Just about anyone would enjoy being surprised with these yummy confections.

Samoa Truffles

  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 11 oz. store bought soft caramels (such as Kraft)
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • dash of salt
  • 10 oz. chocolate candy melts

  • Instructions:
  1. Place a large skillet over medium high heat then add the coconut to the pan. Stir constantly for 5 to 7 minutes or until the coconut turns a golden brown color. Remove from pan and let cool.
  2. Bring a small pot, filled with an inch or two of water to a boil. Place the caramels, milk and salt in a metal or glass bowl and rest the bowl in top of the pot, so it's not touching the water. Stir until the caramels become smooth and melted. Stir in the toasted coconut (reserving ¼ cup for later) and mix to thoroughly combine. The mixture will be really thick.
  3. Pour this out onto a wax paper lined baking dish and spread into an even layer. Let cool for several minutes until it's cool enough to handle. Roll the caramel mixture into small, teaspoon size balls.
  4. Melt half of the chocolate candy melts according to the package instructions. Dip each ball in the chocolate and tap off any excess chocolate. Lay on a wax paper lined baking sheet to dry.
  5. Once all the caramel balls are dipped, heat the remaining chocolate and dip the balls again. This time sprinkle the reserved coconut on top before the chocolate dries. Let dry and enjoy!If you are not a fan of coconut, you might consider cocoa powder

Sunday, January 24, 2016


Olivia found this beautiful and yummy cake recipe in a Taste of Home magazine.  If you like coconut
and the taste of a pina colada, this cake is the one for you.  With Valentine's Day coming up soon, this could be a great treat to make for your special Valentine.  The combination of the coconut flavor with the rum and pineapple make this a special end to any meal or just a nice way to say "I love you."

If you do not have a bundt pan but do have a tube cake pan (such as you would make an angel food cake with), that will work also.  I think you will like it and be sure to share it with someone you love!

Pina Colada Bundt Cake 


  • 1 package white cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant coconut cream pudding mix
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup cream of coconut
  • 1 tablespoon rum
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut


  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 10-in. fluted tube pan.
  • 2. In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, water, eggs and rum; beat on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium 2 minutes. Stir in pineapple. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes before removing to a wire rack.
  • 3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix 1 cup confectioners' sugar and pineapple juice; brush over warm cake. Cool cake completely.
  • 4. In another bowl, mix cream of coconut, rum and remaining confectioners' sugar; drizzle over cake. Sprinkle with coconut. Yield: 12 servings.

Sunday, January 17, 2016


Olivia and her husband are big fans of sourdough bread.  I have always loved it too, especially for sandwiches or toast.  It has a tangy taste to the dough and a smooth texture that is so appealing.  Some time ago, not sure how long but I know it has been months, if not years, Olivia made a sourdough starter and has kept it going in her refrigerator.  Her husband named it Oscar and takes great care to occasionally "feed" the dough so it will keep going and provide them with great sourdough bread any time they want.  Find a sourdough starter recipe you like and try to keep it "alive."  It is great fun and homemade sourdough bread is fantastic.  There are lots of recipes for the bread, but thus far, this is the one Olivia says is the absolute best!


1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
6 cups all-purpose flour

Mix sugar, oil, salt, water, and starter in a large bowl.  Add flour.  Turn out onto floured surface and knead several times until it forms a ball.  Add four as needed.  Place the dough into a large, oiled bowl, turn once so the dough will be greased on top, too.  Cover with a clean dish towel, and let it rise overnight.  The next day, punch the dough down, turn it out onto a floured surface, knead for several minutes, divide in  half, and place in two greased bread pans.  Cover and let double in size.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn out to cool.  

Makes two loaves.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Football season is here and snacks are a required part of watching any game.  Sometimes it is hard to come up with snacks that aren't laden with sodium, carbs, calories, and a host of other things you swore you would avoid with the coming of the new year.  Olivia found this recipe at and made it her own.  The wonton wrappers add a lighter touch than traditional pizza rolls, yet the flavor is phenomenal.  These won't disappoint. 

You can use your favorite store bought marinara sauce, or like Olivia, you can use your own homemade sauce.  Either way, enjoy these the next time your sports enthusiasts gather around the television set.

•1 tablespoon olive oil
•2 cloves garlic, minced
•1/2 cup of finely chopped peperoni
•1 small onion, diced fine
•2 cups marinara sauce
•1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
•Cooking spray
•1 package wonton wrappers (about 48 wraps)
In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add in garlic, peperoni, and onion. Cook until onons are softened, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat.

Stir in marinara and mozzarella.

Preheat oven to 375°.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (or line with parchment paper).
Put two wonton wrappers at a time onto a plate.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling into the middle of each wrapper.

Using a finger dipped in water, run along the edges of each wrapper and then fold wrapper in half and press down to seal.

Continue until baking sheet is filled with pizza rolls (spaced about 1″ apart).

Spray tops with cooking spray and bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, or until rolls are golden and crispy. Repeat process with remaining wraps and filling.
4.Let cool 5-10 minutes before serving (filling will be hot).

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup
This recipe is a variation of one I saw recently on the Pioneer Woman site.  The variation came about because I didn't have some of the ingredients it called for, but honestly I think the soup is very good and my husband thought it was great.  Olivia and I like to make soup in the winter because in our part of the country, weather fluctuates drastically and nothing takes a chill off like a great bowl of soup.  This recipe was pretty easy to put together and did not take much time to cook in the slow cooker.  It is hearty and satisfying and has just a slight kick to it (that part you can control to your taste).  Hope you like it!

two boneless chicken breasts
chili powder
fresh cilantro to taste
garlic powder
one small onion
two cups frozen corn
two cans black beans
one cup chopped red and yellow peppers
one can of your favorite tomato sauce or Rotelle with green chilies
one small can of chicken broth (a bout two cups)
shredded cheese
crumbled tortilla chips

Place the two chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and season to taste with chili powder, cumin, salt, garlic powder and cilantro.  Place on top of the chicken the corn, beans, peppers, tomato sauce, and broth.  Cook on low at least four hours or until you can remove the chicken and it easily shreds.  After shredding the chicken, place it back in the slow cooker and stir.  When you are ready to serve the soup, crumble a few tortilla chips on each serving and garnish with your favorite shredded cheese.  This is really yummy!  Makes about six servings.