Baked Apples

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.
~~Helen Keller~~

baked apples 2I’ve had a lot of people contact me in the last few weeks…wondering where I’ve been.   I know.  I’ve been a little quiet….

What’s Been Going On:

Back in October, we found out that we were having the third RIF (reduction in force) within two years at work, and that we would find out who would be affected by the first of November. A whole month to wait. Needless to say, it was a very stressful month. The tension was tremendous… I had a lot of people stop by my desk for some of “Prudy’s sunshine” over the course of October. So by the time I got home from work every night, I was pretty much good for nothing.

I am sure that some of you have been through this, so you know that both the people who are laid off, and the survivors of an event as large as this, experience a shock, even though they knew that it was coming, and think they are prepared…

I, for one, thought I was mentally prepared. I kept telling people that I had flipped the switch in my mind, and I was ready for whatever came my way. I honestly thought that I was going to be one of the people affected…I actually started preparing for it a month ago. I started cleaning out my desk, taking personal items home.

I can tell you now, that you are never truly prepared.
You’re never really prepared to leave….
And you’re never really prepared to stay….

When it finally happened a couple of weeks ago, those of us who were left standing there in the aftermath were struck with an overwhelming sense of guilt, and profound sadness for the friends we had just lost.

Things change…

How I Handled It:

The job that you once knew, is now that same job, plus two more…and there is no training available…so you pick up the pieces as best you can… you brush yourself off the best you can….and learn new things that pop up on a daily basis. There is a range of emotions that everyone goes through…some people can handle it better than others.

As we were walking out of the building the evening of the RIF, one of the girls who also survived asked me if I had some of Prudy’s sunshine to spare…and for the first time throughout this whole thing… I didn’t have any sunshine.

Let’s just say that I found myself rather weepy that week.
Yep, little Miss Sunshine couldn’t cope.
It got to the point in which my friends would walk by my desk, roll their eyes, and say: “Again??!!”

I don’t know if all of that tension had finally come to a head… or if it was the shock of losing so many friends…or if it was the shock of surviving… or a combination of all. Some people were angry, which I found out later… that anger is really a reaction. It isn’t an emotion. So those who were angry, were reacting to an emotion that they didn’t want to feel. I think that because I wear my heart on my sleeve, and let my tears and feelings flow… the anger part didn’t really hit me.

Believe me… I know that there are worse things in the world. I do. But you can’t measure sadness, especially when you are feeling sad.

How My Friends Handled It:

And because we didn’t have the chance to say our goodbyes before they left, I reached out to a couple of my friends a day or two later…. And I was struck by their strength, their resilience, and their ability to face a new day….

Where I expected tears and sadness… I was instead met with:

“Oh, I just baked a batch of cookies last night…”
“I was just out raking leaves…”
“I’m cleaning my house from top to bottom…”
“I’m starting to prepare for Christmas…”

Honestly…The strength of the human spirit never fails to amaze me.

I miss them every day. I walk by offices that were once lit up with laughter…that are now dark and quiet, and I’m sad. I miss their personal items in their offices… photos of kids on the walls… candy dishes… silly stuffed cows… and just things. Their things. But most of all, their laughter. We are a close knit group here, my co-workers and I.

Friends. A family. My little work family.

But I want them to know that I’m proud of them. Proud of that strength and resilience that they’ve shown in the last couple of weeks…and their ability to move on, because you know what? The sun does come up the next day. Life truly does go on…

So Now What?

And learning from their strength, I’m beginning to get back into my groove… I feel like cooking again. I feel like writing again… although now I’m working ten hour days, and by the time I get home, I make dinner (sometimes), I do the dishes (sometimes) and my fat rump hits the couch (most of the time).

So now, most of my cooking and recipes will be done on the weekends… and I have a few that are in the works right now…all prepared, photographed, and just waiting for some silly story to be written for them…

I just need to get me, my blog, my work life, and my home life into a routine that works for all.

Bear With Me…

Please bear with me while I adjust to this change, and I promise that there will be a lot more recipes and a lot more stories to come!

So enough of this sad stuff…. Because Christmas is right around the corner, and it’s time to start preparing for what is my most favorite time of year! I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve that I can’t wait to start sharing with you!!

Baked apples 1In the meantime, I’ll share this quick and easy baked apple recipe with you, which seriously.. I baked it in the oven, but I used to make this in the microwave for Katie when she was little, and it came out beautifully. It was one of her most favorite bedtime snacks.

I love them, because they’re just like a quick apple pie without the crust, but laden with nuts and raisins and crunchy goodness instead. Like I said, I used to make this for Katie as a snack, but it would make a beautiful dessert too! Make a few of these alongside your pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and let your guests choose between apple or pumpkin… or if they’re like me… a sliver of both please…

You’ll notice a ring sliced around the apple, and that is to keep the apple from exploding. Yes, I can confirm that it does, in fact, explode if you don’t slice that ring of skin off. It’s funny, because I honestly thought that because a hole is cut through the center of the apple, that it would be enough for the steam to escape, or whatever it is that makes the apple explode….but that is truly not the case. So, yeah, slice that skin. You’ll be glad you did, especially if you’re making some of these on a day that you need that oven to be running continuously without having to stop and clean up a sticky mess!


Baked Apples
Recipe type: Desserts and Snacks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

  • 4 large apples, any variety
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup oats
  • ½ cup pecans
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup butter, softened
  • ½ to 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan, and set aside.
  3. Core the apples to about ¼” from the bottom. You don’t want to core all the way through the apple, so that the brown sugar mixture doesn’t leak out during baking.
  4. Peel a strip of skin all the way around the apple.
  5. In a medium bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oats, pecans, raisins, butter, cinnamon, and salt.
  6. Spoon the brown sugar mixture filling into the middle of the apple, mounding it generously on top of the apple too.
  7. Place the apples in the prepared pan, and place in preheated oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the apple is tender.

baked apples 2
I’ll be sharing this recipe with the following link parties:

Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener…with Angie as your host, and her wonderful co-hosts, Tracy from Scratch It  and Stephanie from The Cozy Cook!  This is one of my most favorite link parties, that hosts a lot of wonderful bloggers sharing their fabulous ideas and recipes.  I hope you stop by to visit, or participate!  It’s a great party, and I know they’ll welcome you with open arms…

Pasta Fagioli

pasta fagioli 6Ok, so I’m going to admit something that is very hard for me to swallow…

Not everybody likes me.
I said it.
But that doesn’t mean I accept it.

Have you ever (or possibly still do)…had a friend (can we call them friends?) who you know just doesn’t like you?

And when you run into them, you can see right through their façade…and that they are acting friendly enough for social graces…but you can see how hard it is for them to talk to you, that they’d rather be getting their teeth pulled out, than standing there talking to you at that particular moment?

I do. I have a friend who I know just doesn’t care for me. She has never really come out and said that she doesn’t like me. But I can see it. It is written all over her face, in the way that she talks, right to her body language.. and I guess we’ve been thrown together, and she really has no way out of this so-called friendship…

So, she pretends….
She pretends to like me.
And I pretend….
I pretend to not notice that she’s pretending.
pasta fagioli 1
It’s a shame really… because I like her. I see no reason why I shouldn’t like her… well…except for the fact that she doesn’t like me, which, I guess makes it that I don’t like her in the usual way I would like a friend. So, my question is, why doesn’t she like me? I’ve never given her a reason to not like me…. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to be friendly to her when we do run into each other.

But I can see… yeah…I can see her eyes darting about…searching for an escape route… looking at a watch that isn’t even on her wrist… “Oh, will you look at the time…it’s great to see you Prudy, but I have to run…I have to get to that place to do that thing…”

Sure you do…

And then I get the “Mom, not everyone has to like you…” pity speech from my family after I sit there whining about it…

Yes they do have to like me.
I’m a freaking likable person.
Aren’t I? I don’t know…maybe not…
pasta fagioli 3
And if you’re familiar with the sitcom Seinfeld…it kind of reminds me of Elaine Benes and Sue Ellen Mischke …who were fake friendly when they met on the street, but it was very clear that it was quite the opposite.

And the crazy thing about it? If for some insane reason, there is the highly unlikely possibility that someday she decides she does like me? While I’d like to think that I’d be all blasé about it…you know….standoffish…the truth of the matter is, I’d be more like a little puppy…wagging my tail and jumping around because she finally decided that she does, in fact, like me!

It’s craziness, I tell you.
I definitely have a screw loose to even think that I could be blasé.
And even if I acted standoffish…I can promise you that I’d either be calling her, or running back to her the next day to apologize.
Heart on sleeve.

In the end, my fake friend doesn’t have to like me at all….but I dare her to try and not like my pasta fagioli. I don’t know how she couldn’t, with the beans, tubetti, tomatoes, and spinach soaking up that deep rich flavor from the Italian sausage… and a pop of heat with every bite…and then I tend to throw a little extra cheese in the bowl when it’s still piping hot, so that the cheese melts and there is that gooey cheesy gloriousness in every spoonful…
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The beauty of this pasta fagioli is that it can be a 30 minute meal and be hearty and delicious, or you can let it simmer for an hour or two, and really let those flavors marry. The next day is even better, because the pasta soaks up the broth and makes it more stew like, which is how I really love to eat it. If you don’t like it thick like stew, just throw in a can of chicken broth and let it simmer for 20 minutes, and you’re all set.

This is such a delicious meal to make for dinner or lunch…or if you’re like me at 9am in the morning just because it sounded good…hey, I’m not proud of that…but I’m not sorry either!

Oh, and if you’re wondering how I could possibly write this about my fake friend, without worrying about her seeing this? Well, silly… she doesn’t read my blog. She doesn’t like me, remember?

But it definitely makes me happy that you do!

Life is good. It’s a “For all of you fake friends out there…we can see right through your facade, and just know that we are pretending right back at you…and it’s pretty much your loss…because we’re pretty darn likable…  kind of good.
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Pasta Fagioli
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 


A delicious version of a classic..
  • 1½ lb bulk Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 15.5oz cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 2 – 14.5 oz cans fire roasted diced tomatoes (or plain diced, if you can’t find fire roasted)
  • 32oz carton chicken stock
  • 10oz bag fresh baby spinach, stems removed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1¼ cups tubetti pasta
  • Grated parmesan for garnish

  1. In a large saucepan, fry the Italian sausage until fully cooked. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon, reserving the grease in the pan.
  2. Saute the onion in the grease until translucent, and add the garlic. Saute for a couple of minutes more.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, and add the cannelloni beans, sausage, and salt back to the pan. Simmer for about ½ hour, up to an hour or so.
  5. Add the spinach and cook just until wilted.
  6. While the soup is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil, and cook the tubetti to al dente, according to directions on the package.
  7. Add the pasta to the prepared soup.
  8. Top with grated parmesan, and serve immediately.


I’ll be sharing this Pasta Fagioli with the following link parties:

Angie’s Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, co-hosted this week by two lovely bloggers: Tracy from Scratch It, and Stephanie from The Cozy Cook. This is one of my most favorite parties…all of my highly talented peeps are there, and sharing the things that they love the most. I hope that you stop by, they’ll welcome you with open arms, and you’ll feel right at home immediately…

pasta fagioli 4

Cinnamon Applesauce

applesauce 4Last night,  I decided that I needed to trim some split ends from my hair. I trim my hair often, so this isn’t something new….and I’m not sure how it happened, but somehow a big chunk of the ends were folded up between my fingers, so that when I snipped, I ended up cutting off about three inches of hair, instead of just the ends.

I stood there for a few minutes holding the chunk of hair in my hand, staring at it…and then looking at the uneven mess in the mirror until I could wrap my brain around what had just happened… And then… I did the next logical thing. I tried to cut it to make it even.

Yes. Me.
I tried to fix it myself.
Big mistake.

Seriously. I can’t make this stuff up.

Needless to say, I butchered it. Panic set in. It was Sunday night at 7pm for goodness sake… I couldn’t possibly call Karen, my hair stylist, to fix it, so I went to the next best person….my daughter Jessica.

I opened her bedroom door, and said: “I need your help…”
She took one look at me, and said: “What. Did. You. Do.”

I mean, I’ve cut my hair before. An inch here, and inch there… but never this magnitude. It shocked me. It shocked Jessica. She combed my hair straight to examine the aftermath.. It wasn’t good.

“Mom, I need to cut a few inches to fix it…” she said.
“Your hair was here…” she explained as she drew a line across the middle of my back…
“And I need to cut it to here….” she explained as she drew a line just below my shoulders.

I took a deep breath…
…and braced myself.

I sat there as she tried to fix the mess that I made…and with every snip, I could hear her mumbling under her breath…and making very loud and very heavy exasperated sounds, like the sounds a mother would make if the roles were reversed…


The scissors pulled a little with every cut she made… and I should mention now, that except for the day in nursery school when she cut off one of her pigtails… she’s never cut hair a day in her life. She is an esthetician and a make-up artist, not a hair stylist. So needless to say, as nervous as she was cutting my hair, I was ten times as nervous. It felt as though she was cutting for a long time, and I could feel those scissors up way up higher than my comfort level permitted. Probably higher than Jessica’s comfort level too, based on the sounds I heard coming from her..

But in the end…She did a really good job…and I finished it up by throwing a few layers in. Well… what I call layers, a hair stylist would call disaster! But it works… or at least I can curl it and no-one will be the wiser. Except for Jess. And of course… now all of you… So now, in the blink of an eye…or the snip of the scissors… I’ve gone from long hair, to shoulder length hair.

I’m just glad that Jess was home to help me. I can only imagine the disaster it could have been if I was left to do it myself!

applesauce 3Anyway…Jess loves applesauce. I mean LOVES applesauce…so much so, that I have to have it in the house all the time…and I couldn’t think of a better “thank you” that I could do for her, than some homemade applesauce.

Isn’t that sweet?
The love and gratitude from a mother to her daughter…
Yeah…not really.
Do you remember the loud mumbling and heavy exasperated sighs?

If you ask her, she could probably think of a better “thank you” such as cash or expensive make-up….
She gets applesauce.

Not to mention that I had some apples that needed some attention, or they were going to end up in the trash! Honestly… I’m joking. Of course I’m made it for Jess because she loves it… (and because the apples were seriously going to go bad…)
applesauce 5I actually love to make applesauce. The scent of the cinnamon and apples throughout the house is the reward for the nuisance work of peeling the apples. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but once I start, it goes pretty fast, and is never as bad as I thought it was going to be..

….And I know that most of you already know how to make applesauce. The thought even went through my mind to not post this, but then I decided that applesauce has as much right to be on this blog as any other recipe… We’ll just call this one “The basics”…

Life is good. It’s a “If you try to cut your own hair, you’re going to end up with applesauce..” kind of good.

applesauce 6

Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1½ qts

A basic, yet delicious applesauce!
  • 1 dozen apples (any variety), peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup apple cider, apple juice, or water
  • ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar (based on your desired sweetness)
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt

  1. Add the apples, cider (water or apple juice), brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a large heavy saucepan.
  2. Cook on low, covered, for about an hour..or until the apples have broken down and softened.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. For chunky applesauce: Using a potato masher or wooden spoon, mash the cooked apples until they’re semi smooth with apple chunks.
  5. For smooth applesauce: Carefully transfer the cooked apples to a food processor in small batches, and holding the lid on the processor tightly, process until smooth. Repeat with the remaining cooked apples.
  6. Refrigerate in a covered container such as a canning jar or plastic container with a lid.
  7. Applesauce will keep refrigerated for about one week.


applesauce 5

Little Monster Donuts

Happy Halloween!

Little Monster Donuts 2

You know that I’m all about quick and easy.  You also know that I’m all about simple, yet beautiful desserts.  Well, I’m also all about letting your hair down, and being silly once in a while too…. Here is a fun / quick and easy / last minute treat to take to a Halloween Party this weekend!

Little Monster Donuts!

I was reading the news on MSN the other day, and came across some cute breakfast ideas for Halloween. And while I found these on MSN, they were actually from three sisters Jamie, Jodie, and Jennifer’s blog eighteen25, which is an awesome blog, and I’m so happy I came across them!!  These girls are freaking adorable…

I’m not much of a Halloween fan…I’m sorry to all of you who are…but it’s just not my bag.

I tend to be a chicken little…
Halloween just makes me a little jittery.
Okay, downright scared.

My brain goes into overtime just thinking of every scary movie I’ve ever seen. And you’re probably thinking “Why does she even watch scary movies then?”… Well, because I love to watch scary movies. And for some reason, my delusional little mind has this crazy notion that if I watch the movie during the day when it’s still light outside (morning is even better), then the movie isn’t so scary…and it really isn’t all that scary, as long as it’s still daylight. But as soon as it gets dark out, the scariest scenes from the movie start playing over and over in my head, and I’m certain that every single noise I hear in the house is a ghost, a demon, a vampire, zombie, or whatever it happened to be in that particular movie from that morning.

Forget going outside.
Forget going down to the basement.
Yep. I’m afraid of the dark. I believe that I’ve mentioned that before.

Prudence, you’re 52, almost 53 years old…

I know. And I bet you a million dollars that there are a lot of people my age who are afraid of the dark, but they just won’t admit it. We all have fears. It’s a natural thing, and it doesn’t matter how old you are… a fear is a fear. Mine just happens to be the dark.

I was actually hinting around to Jessica and Mike the other day, asking them if they were going to be home on Halloween…

“Why? Are you scared?”… Jessica asked me.
“Yes…Yes I am..” I answered her, not caring if I looked like a big wimp in my daughter’s eyes.
I have no pride when it comes to fear.
Little Monster Donuts 1a
But anyway…while I’m not a fan of Halloween, I still celebrate…even if it’s on a much smaller scale… and I thought these would be so cute to take to work this morning for everyone. My BFF Cindy and I went shopping on our lunch hour the same day I found these for the fangs and candy eyes…I picked the spiders up on a whim…but I think they look really cute with the monsters…   I called ahead and ordered six dozen donuts for this morning….picked the donuts up… and sat for about a half hour in the kitchen at work, adding the fangs, candy eyes, and spiders.

Yep, 72 donuts decorated in about 1/2 hour! Unbelievably easy…unbelievably quick…and it doesn’t matter if they’re not perfect! That’s what makes them so darn cute! While I used glazed donuts, you can use pretty much any type of donut you’d like (Katie mentioned pumpkin spice, which I thought was genius, but it was already too late for me..).

And for those of you who love the gory kind of Halloween… my friend Megan suggested to use a jelly donut so that it looks like blood is coming out of his mouth.. That’s just BRILLIANT, Megan!! She’s such a smart little cookie…

Here is what you’ll need to make these donuts:
(Adapted from eighteen25)
1 dozen donuts, any variety will do.
1 small tube prepared decorators icing
1 dozen plastic fangs
1 dozen pairs of candy eyes
1 dozen plastic spiders for garnish (optional)

Fold the fangs closed, and press deep into the center of the donut. They will open on their own, some will stay partially closed, and others will open wide. Dab a dot of decorator’s icing on the back of two of the candy eyes, and place them just above the fangs. Add the spider.

Double, triple, quadruple, or whatever-uple the recipe for the amount of donuts you want to serve.


Little Monster Donuts 2I’m sharing these cute little donuts with the following parties:

Fiesta Friday, at Angie’s blog, The Novice Gardener  and her co-hosts Jhuls, from The Not So Creative Cook, and Margy from La Petite Casserole.  This is always a wonderful party, filled with some really lovely people showing off their outstanding talents! I hope to see you there!

Wedding Cake Icing

Wedding Cake Icing 1When I posted my crazy cake a week or so ago, a few of you asked me what type of icing I used. It’s the icing that my mom used for her wedding cake business…so I asked her if I could share it with you…

“Of course you can…I think I told you to use that recipe months ago…”… she said. And of course, I’m saying that in the way a kid mimics his/her mom…so imagine a high screechy voice as you’re reading that..

You know, she doesn’t really have a high screechy voice, but that’s what we tend to do when we’re mimicking.

At least that’s what I tend to do.
And I’ve passed that on to my kids…
Michael tends to give me a high screeched British accent when he’s mimicking me…

And although it’s lovely, I don’t talk with a British accent… at least I don’t think I do. Well, shoot…maybe I tend to pick up other peoples accents too, like the way I copy their walk.

Is there anything that I have of my own??

But seriously, from what people have told me, I tend to have a heavy Western NY accent. I really accentuate words like can, and, sand, ham…. I’ll emphasize the “a” part by saying ceeyan (can), ee-and (and), see-and (sand), hee-am (ham)…. Or even eggs….I’ve been careful to pronounce them the right way for years now, but once in a while, if I’m not paying attention, I’ll come out with aags…

You know, it’s like when I’m on the phone with someone from another part of the country, they’ll say “Oh yeah, you’re from Upstate NY…I can tell from your accent”..

What accent?
I don’t have an accent.

Wedding Cake icing 6One time, I was on the phone with a lady from an advertising agency…when she finally interrupted me and said in a very deep, and very slow southern accent…”I’m sorry, Prudence…I just cannot understand a word you’re saying, you talk too fast for me…”

I was honestly surprised at that…. I don’t talk fast… and I never thought I had an accent. I always thought that everyone else had the accent, and that we were the base accent of the world, right here in Niagara Falls, NY.

You know, the blank canvas of accents.
Apparently not.
We all have accents.
Even families have their own accents on top of their geographical accents.

…and that’s what makes the world go round.

How boring would we be if we were all the same?
Very boring.
Variety is the spice of life. Right?

Wedding Cake Icing 2

But anyway, about the frosting… Marsh gave me the thumbs up to share it with you…and you’ll be surprised at how easy it really is with just a few ingredients. It’s so light and fluffy, and it has a really delicious flavor.

Now this single batch was enough to frost a 7” two layer cake (the crazy cake) or 24 of these cupcakes shown here. If you’re planning on doing a larger layer cake, with all of the bells and whistles, I’d suggest making a double batch for sure, or even a triple batch if making flowers and all that fun stuff.

It will keep for up to a week in a sealed Tupperware type container right in your cupboard. Nobody will be the wiser when you hide that spoon in your pocket and slip a couple of tastes out of the container now and then. I certainly won’t tell anyone…

Life is good. It’s a “We might all be different, but there is one thing that pretty much everyone has in common…and that’s the icing on the cake…” kind of good.

Wedding Cake Icing 3

Wedding Cake Icing
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Total time: 


A fluffy white frosting, perfect for decorating cakes.
  • 1 – 2lb bag powdered sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
  • ½ cup water (maybe a tablespoon more, depending on your desired consistency)
  • 2 tsp clear butter flavoring
  • 2 tsp clear vanilla flavoring

  1. Combine the powdered sugar, vegetable shortening, water, butter flavoring, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Beat on low for about 3 minutes or until all of the ingredients are combined.
  3. Turn the speed to high, and beat for about 10 minutes, or until the frosting is light and fluffy, adding more water to reach your desired consistency.
  4. **Note** I said to use a stand mixer, just because of the time it takes to beat the frosting. If you want to use a hand mixer, that’s fine! It will have no effect on the frosting at all..but your wrist will get tired!


Wedding Cake Icing 4

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

butter pecan ice cream 1aSo here is the scoop about this delicious scoop of ice cream…

I met the lovely people from Plugra on Twitter a month or so ago…and they sent me a couple of coupons to try their butter. Of course, I thanked them, and told them that I’d definitely bake something and post it on the blog.

Now, let me be clear about this. Plugra did not pay me to post this, nor did they expect me to bake something to post on the blog. They were kind enough to send me coupons to try their butter, and that’s where it ended. I have never been obligated to bake anything or post anything on their behalf, or their butter’s behalf.

I do, however, like to share things with my readers when I truly love something…and that now includes their butter.

My intention was to take a taste of the butter, and then to come up with something to bake with it. Just a little taste. I had bought a fresh baguette that day too…and I said to Sophie (my black lab)… “Let’s give Plugra a try…”

She was more than happy to participate in the taste test… and…well…half a baguette later… and lots of butter gone… LOTS of butter gone…I was in a state of bliss…Sophie was in a state of bliss.. I’m not exactly sure which one of us decided that we had to stop. I think it was Sophie, she tends to be more level headed when it comes to eating delicious foods…and she’s a dog, so that should speak volumes when I say that I have no willpower…so yeah, I’m sure it was Sophie who decided that we’d had enough…I would have kept on eating..

I’m not sorry for not having willpower.
It’s a weakness that I’ve come to accept over the years.
I’ve embraced it. IMG_6039Ok, so you know when you think of how good different foods used to taste when you were younger…and then over the years, either your taste buds change…or the companies change up their recipes to make them healthier…or use cheaper ingredients…or whatever… well, this butter took me back to when I was a little girl…and the true butter taste that I remember from then.

This is the real thing, people.
I’ve said this over and over again…
You truly do get what you pay for.

Plugra butter is sweet, yet with just enough saltiness in it to give it that “Mmmm” factor with every bite. And creamy? Oh yeah… pure cream bliss… And when I asked them why I should try their butter… I was given the answer: “82% butterfat, less moisture. Great for baking, or just everyday use!”

Yep. Perfect for everyday use.

And then I had to check out the baking part of it…. I could have easily baked a cake, or cookies or something else.. but you know when you bake a cake or cookies, the butter flavor really isn’t there. I mean, it’s there…but it really isn’t, and at that point, I wanted to highlight what I believe to be the most important aspect of this butter…. The flavor. So I decided to do something different, and made butter pecan ice cream. IMG_6029If you are a lover of butter pecan ice cream, then you know it’s the butter flavor that truly makes the ice cream…. the chopped pecans are just a bonus. I honestly have to say that using this particular butter was a delight in the ice cream. Not only did that “82% butterfat and less moisture” make it so very rich and creamy…but that true butter taste came out with every bite. I served it with a pumpkin cake, which, was not necessary at all. Just a little dish of this ice cream is all you need. Perfect for dessert, perfect for that 8pm “I need something sweet” ..or just a fun time snack time.

What’s really fun is that once you’ve made ice cream a few times…you really don’t even need a recipe.  A couple of cups of heavy cream, a couple of cups of milk, about a 1/2 cup of white or brown sugar, some egg yolks, and vanilla are pretty much all you need!  Change up the flavor by adding your favorite ingredients!!  The one thing that I didn’t do is brown the butter before I added the cream. I tend to not like browned butter. I know, I’m probably that 1% of the population that doesn’t… but I can’t help it, and I never like the color of the ice cream with the darker butter either…it’s unappetizing. But that is just me. If you prefer a browned butter flavor, and don’t mind the look of the ice cream, then by all means, brown the butter!!

Honestly? I’m totally making this ice cream again.
Plugra is now my most favorite butter.
It’s perfect for everything.

Life is good. It’s a “Grab a spoon and eat this ice cream right out of the pretty little pink ice cream container that I bought for myself, and I don’t care if it’s morning or not, because I’ve already embraced my lack of willpower, which makes eating butter pecan ice cream in the morning perfectly natural and normal…” kind of good.


Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Recipe type: Ice Cream, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1½ quarts

A buttery ice cream filled with pecans…perfect for dessert, or that “I need something sweet” craving!
  • 1 1-2 cups chopped pecans
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup butter
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • Pecans for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Arrange the chopped pecans on a baking sheet, and place in preheated oven for about five minutes. You’ll know when the pecans are perfectly roasted, because you will smell their heavenly nutty scent! Remove from oven, and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks until they’re well blended. Set aside until ready to use.
  4. In a large saucepan with high sides, melt the butter over low heat. (If you like your butter browned, cook it for a couple of minutes, stirring it constantly until it just begins to brown).
  5. Add the light brown sugar, and the salt.. cook until the sugar has melted.
  6. Add the milk. A couple of things are going to happen. It’s going to bubble up, which is why I suggested a pan with high sides. And the melted sugar mixture is going to harden, because of the cold milk added. Just keep stirring it until the sugar melts again. It will happen. Be patient, and just don’t let it boil.
  7. Grab the bowl of egg yolks and give them one more whisk. Slowly add ⅓ of the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. When fully incorporated, add the milk and egg mixture back to the saucepan.
  8. Stir constantly over medium to low heat until the mixture thickens… make sure that you scrape the bottom of the pan, otherwise you’re going to end up with lovely black specs throughout the ice cream! This takes about five minutes or so of stirring time. You will know when the custard is ready, because you’ll be able to run your finger along the back of the spoon, and the custard will stay parted.
  9. Pour the custard through a sieve into a large bowl.
  10. Add the vanilla and heavy cream to the custard. Whisk until fully combined. Chill thoroughly. I like to chill the custard in the freezer for about two to three hours, or just until it starts to ice up a little. Doing that gives the custard a nice head start for when you start to churn it.
  11. When the custard is fully chilled, add it to your ice cream maker, and begin to churn according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  12. When the ice cream has fully churned, stir in the chopped pecans. If you have made ice cream before, then you know that it will be soft enough to easily stir the pecans in.
  13. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer container, and freeze until hardened, about 2 hours.
  14. Serve frozen, and garnish with pecans.
  15. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this with my friends at the following parties:

Fiesta Friday, with the Birthday Girl, Angie…from The Novice Gardener….and her lovely co-hosts, Suzanne from A Pug in the Kitchen, and Sue, from Birgerbird…two of my most very favorite people!  This is a lovely party, and everyone is always welcome!  I hope to see you there!!  Happy Birthday Angie…I hope your day is beautiful…

FoodieFridays with Michelle at A Dish of Daily Life, along with Shari from Pure Grace Farms, Mila from Girl and the Kitchen, Christie from A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures, Petro from The Seaman Mom, and Christine from Curried Cantaloupe! It’s a great party, and I hope to see you there!


KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Welcome to the KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway event!  We’re giving away a truly awesome prize today – a KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield!  What’s not to love about that?

I’m so excited to be a part of this awesome giveaway….and so excited for all of you, too!   Thank you to all of my faithful readers..for just being here.  It means so much to me…  it truly does.  I wish that each and everyone of you could win!   Good luck to all of you!!  Much love to you…

KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Giveaway organized by Juggling Act Mama

ABOUT THE PRIZE: KitchenAid 5 Qt. Artisan Series with Pouring Shield

  • Winner chooses color – Empire Red, Ice (blue), Contour Silver or White on White
  • Multipurpose attachment hub, over 15 optional attachments
  • 5-quart stainless steel bowl, dishwasher safe
  • Tilt-head design
  • Includes coated flat beater, coated dough hook, wire whip and 1-piece pouring shield, 1-year warranty
  • 2-piece pouring shield with large chute for adding ingredients
  • 325-watt mixer with 10 speeds; 5-quart stainless steel bowl

Enter the KitchenAid Mixer Giveaway

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  Some entries, such as tweeting can be done daily so be sure to check back.

RULES: Open to US/CAN Residents only. 1 winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize is valued at $300 USD. Winner may choose a $300 USD Amazon gift card in lieu of prize if desired. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with KitchenAid, Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

pumpkin pie cocktail 1Have you ever worked with someone who kind of annoyed the heck out of you, but you politely put up with him/her? I used to work with a guy who… for the sake of this conversation…. I’m going to call “Punkin”

… and he annoyed the heck out of me…on a daily basis…

Punkin stopped by my desk pretty much every day to chat. And once he found out that I loved to cook….well…then the conversation was always about cooking. I must have mentioned that I was baking pumpkin pie one day, or for that matter, I might have brought a pumpkin pie into work for one of our parties.  Either way, it was after that, that I heard every single day: Hey Prudy..are you making “punkin” pie? ~or~ How’s that “punkin” pie?

It’s pumpkin, Punkin… not punkin.

Please forgive me. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Especially when a grown man mispronounces words to make himself look cute. It’s not cute. Well, that’s not entirely true. It depends on the conversation…if we are in “funny” mode…then go for it, but even then….be careful….because nine times out of ten, it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Is that mean? Probably. But I can’t help it. It drives me nuts.

pumpkin pie cocktail…And Punkin always said what was on his mind… good, bad, or indifferent….

“Prudy, are you doing the Biggest Loser contest?” he asked me one day.
“No, I don’t want to get on the scale in front of everybody…” I answered.
“Why not?” he asked.
“I don’t want people to know how much I weigh”… I answered.

…and his response???

“Prudy, you’re not fat….” He said..
And I thought to myself….Well, that’s very nice of you.

…but then he continued on with:
“I mean, you’re chubby….But you’re not fat….”

I’ll pause here for those words to sink in.
“I mean, you’re chubby…But you’re not fat…”

“Thank you, Punkin. I think.”

pumpkin pie cocktail 2Anyway…I don’t work with Punkin anymore….and I never did correct him on his pronunciation of the word pumpkin… and he never did find out that I was ready to dive over my desk and wring his neck when he let me know that I wasn’t fat…but that I was instead, chubby….

I’m sure he meant well..
I mean, I think he did.

With some things…you just have to bite your tongue… you know…for the sake of humanity, or for your own sake of sanity…. insanity… whichever works for you.

If anything…he must have left his mark on me…good, bad, or indifferent…. Because I thought of him as I was making this pumpkin pie cocktail…. And I could just hear him as he was walking down the hall…

“Hey Prudy! How’s that punkin pie cocktail?”

“It’s pretty darn delicious, Punkin…it’s pretty darn delicious…”

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail 4It’s just that pumpkin time of year, when everyone has pumpkin on the brain.   We want pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cake, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin milkshakes… pretty much pumpkin everything….

What is it about Fall that makes us want pumpkin?
I just don’t know.
And this cocktail?
Well, it falls right into that category…
It just tastes just like a frozen pumpkin pie!

You just can’t go wrong with a cocktail that is made with vanilla ice cream, pumpkin, cinnamon, a little pumpkin liquor, and Cointreau.  Yes. Cointreau…which brings a slight citrus flavor at the end..not too much, but just enough to make you say hmmm…

This is such a great dessert drink for Thanksgiving..or anytime during the upcoming holiday for that matter…a novelty if anything…fun to make, fun to serve, and fun to drink!

Life is good. It’s a “I can’t believe that I’m talking about the upcoming holidays already…” kind of good..

pumpkin pie cocktail 6

5.0 from 2 reviews

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
Recipe type: Frozen Cocktail, Frozen Beverage

A deliciously frozen slice of pumpkin pie in a glass.. Just a quick note: You’re probably wondering why I’m using ice, when there’s ice cream as ingredient… the ice cream tends to want to become creamy after it has been blended with the pumpkin, and the ice just helps to make it more slushy… more icy. If you think you’d prefer the drink creamy, then by all means, leave the ice out, it’s not going to make a difference to the taste at all!
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 oz pumpkin cordial (such as Pumpkin King Cordial, by Roundhouse Spirits)
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • Cinnamon for garnish
  • Cinnamon Stick for garnish
  • Chopped Pecans for garnish
  • Combine the vanilla ice cream, canned pumpkin, ice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pumpkin cordial, and Cointreau into a blender. Blend until all of the ingredients are fully combined, and the ice is crushed. Add more ice to make it thicker if you prefer.

  1. Combine the vanilla ice cream, canned pumpkin, ice, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, pumpkin cordial, and Cointreau into a blender.
  2. Blend until all of the ingredients are fully combined, and the ice is crushed.
  3. Add more ice to make it thicker if you prefer.
  4. Garnish with cinnamon, cinnamon stick, and chopped pecans.
  5. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this cocktail with the following link parties:

Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener with Angie as the lovely host, and Julianna from Foodie on Board, and Hilda from Along the Grapevine as the wonderful co-hosts! It should be a lovely time…I hope to see you there!

Crazy Cake

Crazy Cake 1I grew up in a cake household. My mom (Marsh) baked and decorated wedding cakes….well…truth be told, she made them for all occasions. So there was always cake in the house….usually a plate that was filled with a variety of cake scraps…always sitting on the stove. And if you hit it just right, those scraps could still be fresh out of the oven, so they’d be gloriously melt-in-your-mouth hot. Needless to say, my friends always liked to come to my house…not for me, but for the endless cake. Whenever I see my friend Roxanne, she still talks about that plate of cake!

crazy cake 6And… Marsh always had a great big tub of freshly made frosting sitting in the cupboard. She also had a full unfrosted wedding cake sitting in the freezer for emergencies, like the time a cat ran out in front of my parents car as they were delivering a fully decorated cake to a reception hall. A quick slam on the brakes brought the cake flying towards the front of their then station wagon… and then a very quick stop of the car sent it flying back.

Yep. Total destruction…
…of the cake…
The cat was fine.

I remember my parents flying into the house… grabbing the cakes out of the freezer…and her shouting orders to both me and my father as she quickly began to frost them. She did it. She got that cake decorated, and they were back on the road to deliver it in plenty of time. I can’t remember all of the details, because it was so long ago…but I’m sure she made good with the bride and groom.

And while she made all of these gorgeous cakes with fountains and pillars and ribbons for others… once in a while, Marsh would make a simple crazy cake just for us. Crazy cake, also called wacky cake… originated sometime in the 1930s or 1940s when staples like butter, milk, and eggs were difficult to come by.

crazy cake 2I love crazy cake…I think it has to be the moistest chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten. Pure comfort food.

One of the best crazy cakes my mom ever made was about four years ago at Easter. She had just been diagnosed with cancer a few months before in December… and had a rough few months of it, and I wasn’t sure that she would ever be the mom I knew before her diagnosis….. I was sad, I was angry, and I was scared.

That Easter morning, as I walked into her kitchen, there sat a crazy cake sitting on her stove. I looked at Marsh, and asked where the cake came from. “I made it” she said. And at that very moment, I knew that she was still the same mom that I knew from before… and that she would always be as I have always known her to be.

My mom.
Pure comfort.
It was the most delicious crazy cake I have ever eaten.

Now, don’t get me wrong…. She still drives me crazy. I mean, she’s a mother. That’s what we do. Right? We drive our children nuts…. And Marsh is especially good at that!

But I still love her.
She’s my mom.

crazy cake 4So…this is how this particular crazy cake came to be…. A fork. A simple little fork that I found on Etsy and fell in love with. As soon as I opened the package and held it in my hand, I knew exactly what I was going to do. This little fork had “cake” written all over it…so why not do a crazy cake?

Since I’m all about changing things up a bit…and did just the opposite of what I did to the molten lava cakes this past Saturday…. I thought it would be fitting to take something as simple as a crazy cake, and dress it up a little. I did not inherit Marsh’s decorating talents and skills, but I do my best….and of course…sprinkles are mandatory! They cover up even the worst icing job!!

This little cake is perfect to make for any occasion…or even if you don’t have an occasion! Pretend there’s an occasion! Or just make it… “just because”…and then serve it on a pretty little plate with a pretty little fork.

crazy cake 3

With very few ingredients, it’s super easy to prepare… super simple to decorate… and everyone will think you worked for hours and hours, when in reality, you can have it baked and decorated in very little time!! The perfect little cake to “wow” your friends and family… and no one will be the wiser that there are no eggs, no milk, and no butter in this cake at all!

While the original recipe calls for just a half cup of cocoa powder, but I up the ante and double that with one full cup, and two tablespoons of espresso to give it a deep chocolate flavor. And, while I did the whole “grease and flour the pan” and decorate routine… this is truly a cake that can be prepared in its own baking pan, simply by throwing all of the ingredients in the pan and stirring until they’re all combined! No frosting required… leave it plain, or a dust it with some powdered sugar! It just doesn’t get any easier.

Just a quick note: If you decide to do a small layer cake like this, you’re going to have scraps.  I used three 7″ round cake pans,  but only used two of the cakes.  The third, I double wrapped in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the freezer for one of those “I need chocolate” days. Otherwise this cake can be baked in an ungreased 9 x 13″ cake pan.

crazy cake 6

Life is good. It’s a “simple cakes and crazy moms and pretty little forks make for pure comfort” kind of good.

5.0 from 1 reviews

Crazy Cake
Recipe type: Dessert

A simple chocolate cake made with no eggs, butter, or milk! Dress it up…or dress it down. It’s delicious either way..
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp espresso or instant coffee (optional)
  • 2 cups water

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Grease and flour three 7″ round cake pans.
  3. Cut three 7″ round circles of waxed paper, and place in the bottom of each pan.
  4. Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl, and whisk until combined.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, vinegar, coffee and water into the well.
  7. Whisk until all of the wet and dry ingredients are fully combined.
  8. Divide the cake batter among the three cake pans.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool completely, remove from pans by inverting on a cooling rack, or leave in pan to frost or sprinkle with powdered sugar as desired.
  11. Enjoy!

 I’ll be sharing this recipe with:

Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party with Kim, Jessica, Cassie, and Amber.  This party is huge…with a variety of wonderful bloggers sharing their talents and their loves.  I hope to see you there!!

crazy cake 7

Cinnamon Apple Chips

cinnamon apple chips 1

I really find myself getting excited for tonight’s season premier of the Walking Dead.

Yep. It’s true.

My name is Prudy, and I’m a Dead Head (not the Jerry Garcia kind…but I do love his ties…)…
I watch the Walking Dead.
And love it.

cinnamon apple chips 2

I find myself in good company with all of those other girls ranging from 10 years old to 95 years old who are in love with Daryl Dixon… although I’m not so sure I could handle his dark mood…I think he’d be on my last nerve by the end of the day with all of his grumpy negativity….but let me stress the fact that I do realize that living amongst zombies who are trying to eat you could darken even the lightest of heart’s mood after a day or so of running, hiding, or shoving a sharp object into the brain of said pesky dead.

I know.
Forgive me all of you who tend to be squeamish…
…for I used to be squeamish too.
Until I became one of those people who like to watch TWD..

cinnamon apple chips 3

Seriously though..I think the biggest reason I love that show is because it gives me a full hour of Mike (and sometimes Jessica) time….He’s the one who made me start watching it a couple of years ago…and sat with me for one full weekend as I watched episode after episode… early morning to late night….catching up to that current season, so that he and I could watch it together. I remember how stressful it was… sitting on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding…and biting my nails down to nothing…wondering what kind of nightmares I was going to have that night…

Now, I look forward to Sunday night all week long, and I love watching it with Mike (and sometimes Jess), the surprises (because there are many), disappointments (because there are many more), and then I love the discussion afterward, and trying to figure out what’s going to happen next…

…And… now I love the darn show… and I’m looking forward with excitement to the stress, pounding heart, and crazy nightmares!

cinnamon apple chips 5Once in a while, Jessica will watch it with Mike and me…and I’m hoping that she will tonight.  She tends to like anything apple and cinnamon…so I’m hoping that these apple chips will entice her to join us.

I know, you must be thinking…why would Prudy pair these pretty cinnamon apple chips with a gory zombie show?  Well, to be honest, it’s quality time with my grown kids…and the fact that Mike approached me to watch it with him…and that Jessica is still willing to come and sit and watch it with us… well, that’s reason enough for me.   We are all so busy with our lives now… that if a few zombies are what brings us together, then you have to know that I’ll jump at that chance…and I’m going to make something sweet and delicious for them….

For the kids.
Not the zombies.
Zombies don’t like apples.

Anyway…these pretty little apple chips are so easy to make.. it takes nothing to slice them thin, and bake them in the oven for a few hours until they’re crispy.  Toss them with some sugar and cinnamon, and you have a lovely snack to watch the horrifying life with zombies!

Now, please excuse me while I prepare myself mentally for tonight’s show… It’s going to be a good one!

cinnamon apple chips 4

 Life is good… “It’s a “zombies and apple chips… the perfect combination in my book…” kind of good.

Cinnamon Apple Chips
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 


Easy to make, these apple chips are so delicious with sugar and cinnamon.
  • 3 apples (your favorite variety…I used Jonamac)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F
  2. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl, set aside until ready to use.
  4. Leaving the skin on, thinly slice the apples with a mandolin, or very sharp knife to about ⅛” thick.
  5. Place the apple slices in a single layer on the parchment paper. You can put them as close as you’d like, just don’t overlap them.
  6. Bake the apple slices until they’re crispy, about three or four hours.
  7. Remove from oven, and immediately toss with sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Enjoy!

I’m sharing this recipe with:

Treasure Box Tuesdays with Wanda Ann from Memories by the Mile, and Joy from Yesterfood.  I’m so happy to have found them…this is a lovely party filled with so many bloggers sharing their wonderful talents, and I hope to see you there!

Create Link Inspire with Gina from Kleinworth & Co., Emily from Nap-Time Creations, Katie from The Crafty Blog Stalker, and Amy from Marvelous Mommy.   I’m loving this party…and know you will too!  I hope to see you there!


cinnamon apple chips 1