Tag Archives: sugar

Seven Layer Salad


This is FOR SURE a favorite salad in this house. Feel free to add even more veggies ~ add broccoli, red pepper or more peas. Whatever is in the fridge! (My kids don’t even SEEM to notice the veggies in this salad, so that is why I add a bit more! Bonus!) ENJOY!!!

Seven Layer Salad
1 head of lettuce torn into small pieces
1/2 c. celery, chopped
1/2 c. of chopped green pepper
1/2 c. of chopped green onion
1 c. of peas
3/4 c. mayo
1/2 c. sour cream
3 TB. sugar
1/2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Combine the mayo, sour cream and sugar ~ set aside. In a 9″ x 13″ pan layer the lettuce, green pepper, celery, onions, peas, dressing, cheese, eggs and bacon. Chill a few hours.

I hope you enjoy our families favorite lettuce salad!

Recipe adapted from Mom W’s “Salt Lick Salad” (aka Seven Layer Salad).


Caramel Sauce


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Seriously. S.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y. I really don’t want to tell you that you HAVE to make this caramel sauce, because you DON’T have to. But maybe you should. Caramel sauce has been something  I have tried and tried and tried to make. I have kinda succeeded, sorta failed, totally flopped and mostly failed my way through making caramel for a few years now. Seriously, I had given up. BUT what made me try just one. more. time (……well, two more times, more on that in a minute…….) was that fact that Aldi did not have a jar of caramel sauce. They had about 10 bijillion hot fudge sauces in the same place were there was SUPPOSED to be hot fudge AND caramel. No caramel. So I was “forced” to buy some heavy whipping cream and try again, cause I  someone “needed” caramel.  Thanks Aldi.

So here I am. Me, tho one who thinks if the weather man says it will be 70º I dress for 70º……colder or hotter, I will not change. I wanna believe he is right. The one who thinks if you tell me to boil the sugar for 5-7 minutes that it will take 5-7 minutes and it will be done. Period. The one who is blistfully ignorant to the fact that things may not always go as planned.  I guess I am gullible? Is that the right word? I try and tell my self not to be, but self just does not listen.  Anyway. Precisely 15 minutes before we were to get the kids to bed, I started. making. caramel. The girl said that in “15 minutes” you will have caramel sauce. I thought it to be true. Well……..

I heated up the sugar. 15 minutes later I was still stirring this dark brown nearly burned sugar…..thinking “those hard chunks of sugar are sure to melt away any second now.” A few minutes later my son comes to me and says it smells like burned marshmallows in the house. To which I simply said “it is the caramel I am making.” The face he gave me said it all. He had his doubts. I thought, “butter will heal this.” Cause butter is butter and it is good. Well, the butter melted. The sugar did not. It was so so hard. No caramel in sight. My pan was ruined. The pan was about to go in the garbage. But then I thought better. I filled it with water and boiled it and boiled it till the hard chunks of sugar melted off. My husband, noting that crazy boiling pot on the stove, asked if it was going to boil over. I mumbled “No, maybe, thanks, just making caramel”……..under my breath. I didn’t look at his face. We got the kids to bed and back at it I went. Cause I had to…….you know?

Round 2. I opted to add a bit of water to the sugar. I was giddy. I was pumped. Pretty sure I jumped up and down and twiddled my fingers together a time or two. BECAUSE. Before my very eyes, caramel was happening!!!! That sugar/water mixture got to a lovely caramel color, I took it off the heat and added the butter. (PS. I was able to save the butter from the above said calamity. As soon as I saw the sugar NOT melting but instead turning into a ball of rock hard, teeth ruining candy, I poured the butter off. To precious to throw away and it was fine. Just fine. Just melted.) Stirred that butter around and added the heavy cream. Well, the caramel went crazy on me at that point. BOILING like mad ~ mind you, it was OFF the heat and on the counter. Oh no, I have ruined it again. I stirred and stirred and…..there it was. Caramel. It looked good. Did it taste good? I wonder.  The vanilla and salt went in next. I did not taste yet, surprising myself with my wise choice as to not burn my tongue clear off. Oh……the suspence…….

It cooled a bit. I tasted it. It was caramel. Legit caramel. I put it in my jar and left it there on the counter. To look at a bit. Husband came into kitchen. I happily said,  “Look!!!!! Caramel.” Well, he had been the recipient of my crunchy caramel or my rock hard caramel a few to many times and the house still smelled of burnt marshmallows. So I am sure he had his doubts. He said “good” or something simple like that. Then he noticed my lovely burning fall candle, commented on the flavor (Cinnamon Vanilla). I said “thanks, that was from you.” He said “that was nice of me.” (If you know him you can appreciate this whole conversation. He is a very to the point kinda guy.)

I thought about the caramel. I actually dreamed about. Food nerds have dreams about food sometimes.  First thing in the morning I opened it up. I looked good. But was it hard? Too hard?? The spoon went right in. It was just the right caramel consistency. It worked. It was yummy.

We had the caramel a day or so later on ice cream.  I think the kids expected it to turn to candy when it hit the ice cream. It HAS happened. But noppers. It did not. Success.

Some tips about this caramel making ~

~ Have the heavy whipping cream be room temp, don’t forget this.
~ Have the butter be melted, don’t forget this.
~ Don’t leave the sugar/water mixture, just hang out by it, stirring. Laundry can wait.
~ That is all I can think of.  Just learn from my mistakes. If you burn the sugar, no worries, just add water to the nearly ruined saucepan and boil it off.

Are you thinking ~ didn’t she already share a caramel recipe?” Well, yes, thanks for asking. I did.  Right here. I have made that one a good number of times, it works half the time.  Not sure why. So this is now my new favorite one. 🙂

PLEASE let me know if you try this or any thoughts you may have concerning caramel or any food. 

PS. It’s fall! High fives alllll around! WAHOO!!!!

Caramel Sauce 
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 stick of BUTTER, melted
3/4 c. heavy whipping cream, room temp
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix together the sugar and water, bring to a boil.  Boil and stir till a caramel color. (Watch as it will go from caramel color to burned useless sugar in a few seconds flat! This is not a thing to time, as all stove tops cook differently, just watch carefully and use your best judgement. I have burned a batch or two. Sadly. Just stick by it, you will be fine.)
Take off heat, put the butter in the sugar mixture and stir till combined. Then add the heavy whipping cream, it will bubble up on you just be brave and keep stirring till all combined. Add the salt and vanilla. Do not eat right away or you will burn you tongue so very bad. When warm, serve over ice cream. Or store in fridge and heat in microwave till warm. Also very good by itself on a spoon.

Concord Grape Jelly


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This recipe must be shared. It really must. It is really cool and really good. No pectin needed AND it uses equal parts of sugar to fruit juice. Which is still a lot of sugar, but many jams/jellies we make have MORE sugar then fruit.

Have you had concord grapes before? If not, let me tell you a bit about them. They are grapes. Tho not like the grapes we buy from the grocery store. They are purple, a deep purple. The skin is a bit thicker then regular grapes, the inside is like the inside of a regular grape, sorta. Tho these guys can be crazy tart, you might just make that pucker face. Apparently you can eat the seeds, tho my throat will not let me.  Well ~ that is my non-professional explanation of them. Oh yeah, you will most likely be able to find them at farm stands and farmers markets this time of year, perhaps into October yet.

Back to the jelly. It is like the stuff we buy from the store. But so much better. I do not buy grape jelly generally (unless those fabulous meatballs that call for it are on the menu!) ~ we just don’t really like it. But this ↓ stuff is sooooo good. IF you like pb&j (ugh…) you should try this, if you like toast you should try this, if you like to eat jelly by the spoonful you should try this…….maybe you should just try it!! 🙂

~Before beginning, take the grapes off the stem and wash them.
~ A FINE mesh strainer is very important for this recipe, regular noodle strainers will let too much grape skin or seeds pass through.
~ Do make your batch bigger then 4 c. juice and 4 c. sugar, if you have more than 4 c. juice ~ just make a whole separate batch.
~ The batch I made was 3 1/3 c. juice and 3 1/3 c. sugar and it yielded me about 5 1/2 pints of jelly.

Concord Grape Jelly 

8 c. concord grapes
3-4 c. sugar

Heat the grapes in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. When the 5 minutes is up, pour the grapes into a FINE mesh strainer, over a bowl! Press the juice out, leaving the skins and seeds behind in the strainer. Measure how much juice you have and add back to the sauce pan, then add an equal amount of sugar. (example ~ 3 1/3 c. juice and 3 1/3 c. sugar! easy peasy!)

Bring the juice/sugar mixture to a boil, a full boil, and boil again for a full 1 minute. Carefully pour into jelly jars, cover with top and ring. Then process for 10 minutes. Take out and let set (without moving) for 24 hours.


Recipe adapted from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor Cookbook

Homemade Italian Dressing Mix, Olive Floret Salad & No Flour Peanut Butter Cookies


Aldi Specials for March 6 ~ 12.

(For a complete listing go here.)

* FRUIT ~ Navel Oranges ($1.49 for 4 lb. bag). Strawberries ($1.29 for a 16 oz. pkg.). Clementines ($2.49 for a 3 lb. bag). Blackberries (99¢ per pint). Cantaloupe (99¢ each). Mangoes (79¢ each).

* FROZEN FRUIT ~ Blueberries ($1.99 for 12 oz. pkg). Raspberries ($1.99 for 12 oz. pkg). Strawberries ($1.99 for 16 oz. pkg). Frozen Peaches or Mixed Fruit ($1.99 for 16 oz. pkg).    SMOOTHIES, maybe?!?!?  🙂

*Frozen Stir Fry Veggies, Oriental or Teriyaki Stir Fry ($2.99 for 37 oz. pkg). I use this quit often.

* Corned Beef Points ($1.99 per lb).

* A selection of Easter Candy. Starburst Jelly Beans ($1.79 for 14 oz. pkg). Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs ($2.85 for 7.2 oz. pkg). Hershey’s Kisses ($2.85 for 11 oz. bag). Cadbury Cream Eggs (4 pk. for $2.49). Peeps (99¢ for 3 oz. pkg.).

* YEAH!!! Honey Grahams (aka Golden Grahams!!!!!! $1.99 per box).

* DOUBLE YEAH!!!! Yogurt * I think it shows lemon, YIPPY SKIPPY!!! (oh it says Lemon Cream Pie…..will that be as good??? hummm…..!!!!!!  * (39¢ each.)

*Steel Cut Oats ( 28 oz. for $2.49).  Time to give steel – cut oats a whirl????

* Mint Sandwich Cookies (aka Mint Oreos!!!!! $1.89). A delicious dessert.

THAT was a lot of good stuff!!!

On to recipes. Really they do NOT focus on any special items. (Though I am tempted to change my mind and share different recipes NOW that I have seen the specials. BUT I really want to share these recipes, so I will stick with that. Happy Shopping. Happy Baking. Happy Cooking. Have a HAPPY DAY everyone!!!)

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I took one bite of this salad at a friend’s house and knew that I wanted the recipe. Something about the mixture that the veggies are tossed in it so very good and something about the way that the veggies soften a bit in the marinade makes it a really really good salad/side dish.  I hope you guys enjoy it as well!

* Dry Italian Dressing mix may contain wheat, so if you need a wheat free/gluten – free dressing mix, try out this recipe. Use 1 1/2 TB. of below mix for this salad recipe. OR if you don’t have a pkg. of Italian Dressing mix ~ this homemade version will work out great!

Italian Dressing Mix Recipe  

1 TB. garlic salt
1 TB. onion powder
1 TB. sugar
2 TB. dried oregano
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. celery salt
1/2 TB. salt

Mix together and store in a container.

To sub this mixture for a Dry Italian dressing mix envelope then use 1 1/2 TB. To use this mixture to make dressing then use  combine ~ 2 TB. mix, 2 TB. water, 1/4 c. vinegar, 2/3 c. oil. Whisk and use as you would Italian Dressing.

Italian Dressing Mix Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.

Olive Floret Salad 

1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch of broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
2 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered
2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
sliced black olives, about 1/2 c.
1 c. Italian salad dressing
1 env. Italian dressing mix
1 c. crumbled Feta cheese

Whisk together the dressing and the dressing mix.

Combine the veggies and olives in a large bowl, toss with the dressing mix. Cover and chill overnight to develop the flavors.

Add the Feta cheese just before serving and toss gently.

Serve and Enjoy.

Thanks Jenn for the recipe, she got it from a Taste of Home Magazine.

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When I am looking for  a quick cookie (they are really quick to mix together), I like to bake these. It only makes about 2 dozen cookies, which just means I get to bake sooner!!!! (Cause they disappear fast and then I get to bake again!)  Or I double and make some of all three variations. This cookie is sorta crunchy, and it literally melts in your mouth.

No Flour Peanut Butter Cookies
1 c. peanut butter
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Mix the above ingredients together till combined well.  (Use your mixer for thorough mixing.) I let it chill for just a bit, not too long cause the dough will be harder to work with that way. Now…..to make Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies OR Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies OR just plain Peanut Butter Cookies??? Good question.

* For Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies, add 1 c. chocolate chips. Roll into a ball.  Bake @ 350* for 12-14 minutes.
* For Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, Roll into balls…..bake @ 350* for about 12-15 minutes, then press a kiss in. Cool. You can also roll the dough AROUND the kiss….I like it that way!!
* OR leave out the chocolate all together and just enjoy a peanut butter cookie. Roll in a ball and smoosh down ever so gently with a fork (may need to dip fork in sugar to avoid sticking) to make the lovely criss-cross marks that you see on Peanut Butter Cookies. Bake @ same temp for about 12 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Prized Recipes to Cook and Savor, page 142.

Raspberry Jam


Two things. 
1. I have found COLOR!!! Brace yourselves…….
2. A few of my friends have said they had trouble “following” favoritefamilyfoods, they signed up ~ but never received the e-mail updates. Sad. If this has happened to you, sorry. You can also “like” here on Facebook ~ and there I will give a notification of a new recipe posted….that way you do not have to miss any recipes! 
3. I know I said two…..3. THANKS as always for reading. 

My favorite jam is raspberry jam. I would pick seedless, IF I can pick. So when I saw this recipe in an old church cookbook  (sorry, no clue the name of it) ~ I knew I had HAD to try it!!! My curiosity was 100 times increased when I saw the main ingredient….green tomatoes!!! WHAT else are you gonna do with those babies at the end of the season?!?!?

* Don’t expect the taste to be “smuckers” or anything, I mean we are talking about raspberry jello here….but it got 2 thumbs up from those I shared it with!! AND passed the kid test when they had it for breakfast on english muffins. 

* The jam will NOT thicken up till 100% cool, don’t be nervous that it failed….just give it time. (This jam is NOT super thick, it just “THICKENS”…..) *UPDATE* A few days later I took the jar out that was in my fridge and it had thickened more!! Yeah!

* I liked this on English Muffins.  I will NEVER try it with PB&J, not my thing….ugh.  It might not be thick enough for that….but PLEASE if someone does try it, let me know how it is!!!! (Thanks.)

* I doubled this recipe and it  yielded me ~ 3 cleaned  sanitized peanut butter jars full and 1 cleaned sanitized maraschino cherry jar full. IN CASE you choose to store yours another way….though I have no IDEA why you would 😉 ….. I would guesstimate this DOUBLE batch equaling about 8 cups.

* This recipe can also be canned. Just put in your canning jars, twist on the lids and process for 15 minutes. 

Raspberry Jam 
2 c. pureed green tomatoes
2 c. sugar (can use 1 1/2 c. for less sugar)
1 pkg. raspberry jello (the 4 serving size box)
Combine the pureed tomatoes and sugar and bring to a full boil, add the dry jello powder and bring BACK to a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes. Put in your freezer safe jars of choice (not glass..I used one glass jar cause I wanted it RIGHT in the fridge to eat RIGHT away). Let cool all the way. It will set with cooled. Freeze. Spread on toast or english muffins or those things called PB&J’s. Enjoy.

Recipe from a delightfully old church cookbook.

Pepper Jelly


THIS STUFF IS FANTASTIC.  It makes for delish sandwich spreads, makes for delish appetizers (when poured over cream cheese and served with crackers), it makes for delish main dishes ( a recipe or 2 to follow….some day), it makes for a delish dip with crackers or pretzels. PROMISE me you will make this or buy some next time you are in Shipshewana, please? I do not think you will regret it!!

* IF your jelly does not set up, just put the sealed jars in your pantry. You can still use it, it will just be a bit more liquidy, still having a delicious flavor. I had a batch that did not set, I put it away and a few weeks later ~ they had SET up!! (This recipe makes more of a “thickened “jelly” then a “firm” jelly, which makes for good dipping.) Fun.

* Yields about 3 1/2 pint size jars.

Pepper Jelly     
1 1/2 c. red bell pepper, chopped finely
1 1/2 c. green bell pepper, chopped finely
1 c. jalapenos, chopped finely
1 c. apple cider vinegar
1 box of Sure Jell
1/2 tsp. butter
5 c. sugar
Combine the peppers, vinegar and sure jell. Add the butter too, this will help it not to foam up. Bring to a full  boil, stirring always. Add the sugar and stir well, bring back to a FULL boil, stirring always. Boil for a solid minute. Stirring constantly or it may burn. (Skim off any foam there might be.) Put into pint size jars. Process 15 minutes.

Recipe from Kelly.

Here it our favorite way to serve pepper jelly, with cream cheese and crackers.

Fresh From the Garden Salad & Artichoke Fish


Another garden recipe comin’ your way! Thanks to my mom for this one. I new favorite around here! (My favorite part is the olives…….) Oh, add any veggie you want too, I am SURE it will be fantastic!

Fresh From the Garden Salad
1 cucumber, sliced
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
1/4 – 1/3 c. red onion, sliced
3/4 c. black olives, cut up a bit
2 TB. vinegar
2 TB. sugar
1/4 c. oil
salt & pepper
Combine all the veggies in a bowl….and the olives too. Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over. Stir and cover and place in the fridge to meld those flavors together. Enjoy!

Recipe from Mom W.

I know that fish is fantastic for you, I know this and I try to make it often. Tho my often my be every other month or so…if THAT. I need to fix this. I need to learn to eat more fish, flared nostrils or not. I want my kids to like fish. SO that is my goal, to make more fish for the health of my family.  With recipes like this one it should NOT be a problem, it was fantastically good! Does anyone have a favorite way that they prepare fish???

Artichoke Fish
5-6 Tilapia fillets
1/4 c. butter
1 lemon
2/3 c. stuffing mix, crushed up a little
6 oz. can of artichoke hearts, cut up a bit
cheddar cheese or parmesan cheese, for topping
Lay the tilapia fillets on a greased cookie sheet WITH sides. Drizzle the fish with the melted butter, drizzle with the fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Mix together the artichokes with the stuffing mix. Sprinkle of top of the fish and press down a bit. Top with the cheese of your choice (I used cheddar but thought that parmesan sounded FANTASTIC too.) Bake @ 425* for about 10-15 minutes or till the fish is nice and flakey. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from food.com.