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We all know what time of year it is and that means making some cookies to share with all your family and friends! Although I do bake it’s not my favorite thing to do but these sugar cookies from Taste Of Home made it simple. After reading some of the reviews of this recipe I made a few small changes. The original recipe calls for vanilla extract.  I wanted something just a little different so I used lemon extract and I also added lemon zest to the batter. This recipe can be made as a drop cookie or rolled into balls.   Flatten with the bottom of a glass that has sugar on the bottom of it so it leaves a nice light coating of sugar on top of the cookies. Needless to say, this recipe is easily adaptable and it makes a lot. This made almost five dozen!

Because it made so many I was able to send some with my husband while he was flying with the Army National Guard.  During his travels, he stopped at an Air Force base where our dear friend Adam (our niece Becky’s significant other, who we love) was working and could come out and enjoy a cookie or two! Needless to say, there were some happy military people today!

 

 

INGREDIENTS
1 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of confectioners sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or if making lemon, I used 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract)
4 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

NOTE– if making the lemon version you will need 3 small lemons.  I zested two of the lemons into the batter and zested 1 lemon into 1/2 cup of granulated sugar I used for the top.

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl beat the butter, oil, and sugars. Beat in the eggs until well blended.  Add the vanilla or lemon extract. In another large bowl, add the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Gradually add the flour mixture into the butter/sugar mixture and mix to combine. If making the lemon version add the zest of two lemons and mix until combined.
If making drop cookies simply drop about a tablespoon of the dough on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes until they are lightly browned. Mine took 8 minutes.
If you want to flatten them and add the sugar on the top, place about 1/2 cup of granulated sugar onto a plate, add the zest of one lemon into the sugar and mix. Roll the dough into balls about a tablespoon or so and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass coat the bottom of the glass lightly with the sugar mixture and lightly press the dough balls down to your desired thickness. This will leave a light coating of sugar on the top of the cookie. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

 

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I have made this cake twice in just a two-week time span, both for two groups of people. The first time I made it we were camping with family and friends and I was in charge of dessert. I actually made two desserts that night but I’ll tell you about the second one another time. Everyone loved this dish, it went fast! The second time was for a friend that works with my husband. I had a very nice message from Greg that it was enjoyed by all and an empty dish came home. so you don’t only have my thoughts, but many others!

INGREDIENTS
1 package chocolate cake mix – I used devils food cake mix
1 jar (17 ounces)butterscotch – caramel ice cream topping, I used only caramel sauce
1 carton (12 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 health bars, chopped – can also the toffee bits found in the baking aisle.

DIRECTIONS
Prepare and bake the cake according to the package directions using a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Cool on a wire rack.
Using the handle of a wooden spoon or just a fork, poke holes in the cake. Pour 3/4 cup of caramel (or a little more😉) over the top of the cake letting it soak into the cake. Top with whipped topping and sprinkle with candy bits. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Enjoy!

 

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This week I have a couple recipes for your Fourth of July barbecue or any of your summer gatherings! The first one is this berry/Lime crostini. So easy and easily can make a couple dozen depending on how thick you slice the bread. The bread can be toasted in your oven or lightly grilled. I used a combination of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries, but these would be great with strawberries too, or any combination your family likes. These take no time to make and should be served immediately.

INGREDIENTS
1 French baguette, sliced on a diagonal 1/4 – 1/2 inch
Whipped cream cheese, about 1 Tablespoon per bread slice
Raspberries, blueberries, blackberries – or your choice of berries
Honey to drizzle
Zest of 2 limes

DIRECTIONS
Place your bread slices on a baking sheet and place in the oven on broil, keeping the oven cracked open slightly, DO NOT WALK AWAY…these toast up very quickly! Or place the bread slices on your grill and lightly toast one side. Remove from oven or grill. Top each slice with about 1 Tablespoon of the whipped cream cheese covering the bread slice, top with berries, drizzle lightly with honey and zest lime over the top. Do this for each slice and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

 

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I have seen this cake floating around on Pinterest for sometime now.  I pinned it a couple weeks ago and decided to make it as it looked like the perfect summer cake with the mandarin oranges and the pineapple. This cake goes together very simply. This is perfect for any summer gathering you may be having. I shared this with my parents as well as a couple neighbors and we were all in agreement that this is a delicious cake.  I think Jim liked it the best! You all know that I’m not a baker and it’s my least favorite thing to do in the kitchen but I will make this cake again! If I can make it, I know all of you can too!

INGREDIENTS
1 package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 can (11 ounce) mandarin oranges, NOT DRAINED
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream

FROSTING
1 can crushed pineapple (8 ounce), NOT DRAINED
1 package (3.5 ounce) instant vanilla pudding
2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 3 (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans.
In a large bowl beat the cake mix, oil, oranges-not drained, eggs and sour cream until well blended.
Evenly divide the batter into the 3 prepared pans. Bake for 16-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Mine took about 18 minutes. Let cool in the cake pans for 20 minutes, then turn the cake pans upside down onto a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely.
To make the frosting beat the heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar in a bowl of a stand mixer or handheld blender until stiff peaks form.  In a separate bowl combine the crushed pineapple, not drained, and the instant pudding powder, mix until combined. Add the whipped cream into the pineapple/pudding mixture and stir to combine.
Place the first cake layer down on your serving platter frost the top of the fiRst cake, add the second frosting on top and finally add the third and final cake layer and frost the cake completely on the top and sides. Serve right away or store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

 

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This simple side dish is so easy to put together and full of great flavor. This dish is best made the day before you want to eat it so it’s perfect for parties when you have so much to do. It’s also a reasonably healthy side dish. This is one of my husbands favorite side dishes. You can change out the chopped parsley for cilantro and if you want a little more heat, add a diced and seeded jalapeño. As you can see it’s easily adaptable to the flavors you like!

INGREDIENTS
1 pound Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 can (15 ounce) black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen sweet corn, thawed
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
Chopped parsley or cilantro to top

Tortilla  chips for serving
Large Fritos for serving

DIRECTIONS
In a large bowl add the first 7 ingredients and mix. In a small bowl add the olive oil, sugar, chili powder and salt. Mix well and add to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine. Top with chopped parsley or cilantro. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Enjoy!

 

This recipe comes from tablefortwoblog.com

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