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Grandma’s favorite…

One of the lovely things about the holidays, for me, is remembering traditions from childhood and passing them on.  A favorite Christmas treat around my house are my Grandma’s favorite, Chow Mein Chocolates.  Growing up, my Grandma lived just up the road from us on a dairy farm.  I remember her and I making these before the holidays most years. Then, whenever I would go visit her she would say, “go get the Chocolates!”.  I always knew right where they were, in the cold stairway leading upstairs.  I would open the door and feel the blast of freezing air come into the room.  I would fumble for the right freezing cold, tin can (there were many) and close the door fast!  Then Gramma  and I would sit playing Chinese checkers, chatting, eating and laughing.

My children, like all children I think, love to hear stories about my childhood.  Today, I told my son Michael the above story while we made Grandma’s chocolates.  Another story I love to tell  is how she would always ask me, “What is the first rule of baking?”  I would come up with all sorts of silly answers for her and she would say, “No, the first rule is to wash your hands”.  And so I would.  Now, I ask my children the same question and if they come to me with unwashed hands I say in a lilting tone, “Grandma would be mad…”  My son Michael knows just what I mean and runs to wash.



My beautiful Grandmother on the left, long before I knew her.


Chow Mein Candy

12 oz Chocolate Chips

12 oz butterscotch chips

4 T peanut butter

Large Can Chow Mein Noodles (or half or so of a bag)

Spanish Peanuts

Melt in a double boiler.  Add large can of Chow Mein Noodles and 2 cups of Spanish Peanuts.  Stir.  Drop on wax paper & cool in the fridge or freezer.



They make a beautiful & tasty gift as well.  This year I’ll be sending my Gramma a tin can full.  I hope they will bring back the same fond memories for her.



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Make it Yourself: Homemade Organic Nutella

My mom seldom bought Nutella; it was (and still is) quite expensive and not very healthy (beside what they claim in their ads). We only had it when in was on sale and it was a real treat! When I started living by myself and buying what I wanted I often bought a jar; I loved it on my bagels…But soon I found that eating that often made me grumpy and weird…Too much sugar and fat intake, so I stopped buying it and said goodbye to chocolate spread, until I was at my mom and stumble upon a TV show about dessert. Here’s the recipe the guy proposed:

What you need:

  • 2 cups of Hazelnuts*
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • ½ cup of cocoa
  • 2 table spoon of hazelnut oil (sunflower, canola, even olive oil could work)
  • 1 table spoon of vanilla extract

What you do:

  1. On a cookie sheet, evenly spread hazelnuts and put them in the oven to roast at 400F for about 8 min. Check them often it roast fast!
  2. Let them cool and take out the shells by scrubbing them together.
  3. Place them in a robot and crush them for 5 min, until it start to look like butter.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredient and mix them for as long as it takes for you to like the texture. Some like it more crunchy, some like it more smooth.
  5. Slice a piece of bread and spread your newly made butter on it.
  6. Enjoy!

There are variation of this recipe that contains milk or dried powder milk products to make it more like the store-bought thing but I tend to make the recipe more simple. We tend to use organic ingredients.

* I had a friend make it by replacing the hazelnut by almond for her allergic daughter and they found it very good as well.  I guess any kind of nuts would work.

I suggest keeping it in your fridge since they’re no preservative. I usually double the recipe and it last us about a week.

It is SO good on toast, untoasted bread, fruits. It relatively takes no time to make and is so easy to offer in a pretty jar. The kids can help measuring and dumping the ingredients in the robot and will lick the spoon afterwards.


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No Sugar Carob Fudge

What a chalenge to find a great little ” sugary tasting”  treat for you and your family ! Well lately a friend of mine introduced me to  this special caroub fudge and what a suprise for me to find that it is Deliiiiciouuss !! I thought that  sharing this  with you would be a great idea… it is a creative recipe and soOoo easy to make !!



What you will need:

~ 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

~ 2 cups of unsweetened carob chips

~2/3 cup of peanut butter

~1/2 cup of coconut

~1/3 cup of walnuts

~1/2 cup of dry raisins

~1 tsp. of vanilla



Place the carob, peanut butter and oil in a pan at  low temperature, stirring constantly just until smooth. This will give you a great “chocolate” color…it already looks delicious !!
Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spread out in a greased  8 x 8 square pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. Then cut in squares or as you desire.
Keep them in the refrigerator or you could also freeze the balance for unexpected sweet cravings…
**  I do find that the fudge is hard to cut in perfect square…but it is still as good 🙂 **
Note:  With the basic recipe (carob, peanut butter and oil) you can create so many different variations of this recipe…why not use your favorite nuts, some popped quinoa, cranberry or even some spices..the sky is the limit 🙂
Enjoy !!!!
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The Spinach Cupcake

I love Pinterest and have used to find great recipes like the one  you will see here. For more great recipes check out my FAB FOOD board.

My boys are in Scouts and sadly they have been missing out on the snacks because of all the food coloring and unhealthy treats. Yes I am one of those moms who make my kids say, “ no thank you” to un-healthy snacks every time. Once I heard about them missing out I made it my mission to show the Pack that snacks can be healthy and still feel like a treat. Here is my variation on the recipe linked to above.

What you will need:
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (homemade if you make it)
1 1/2 cups of organic sugar
1large bag of spinach, you need 1 cup puree (you can use frozen)
3/4 cup of veg. oil of your choose
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Your favorite icing
Veggie based sanding sugar

Steam or cook spinach. Puree spinach it should look like baby food. Let cool.
Beat together eggs and sugar, oil, lemon juice and 1 cup pureed spinach.
In a separate bowl mixture together dry ingredients. Pour into cupcake papers.
Bake at 350 for about 20 and 30 minutes check with toothpick. Let cool then add toppings.

Option: use any 1 cup of veggie or fruit puree to change these cupcakes up.

Looking for natural sanding sugar? I buy mine for Realistic Mermaid on Etsy.

Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight you eyes to see all the magical things she creates.

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German Style Applecake

The other day I was feeling quite chilled in our drafty old house. Snow outside. Ice had formed on the windows inside. Kids and husband had left for the day. The fire in the wood stove from the morning had gone out while I was sewing. So I decided to get an “early” start on my dinner. You can read about my cooking up a storm here.

Since that day I made the German Style Apfelkuchen (Apple Cake) a second time for this season. This time I followed the German recipe a bit more closely. I take everything back I said in the post on my blog: This cake is really better if you use chopped apples and invest in the slivered almonds! Maybe I was also more patient kneading the dough the second time around. I added only two extra Tablespoons of milk to the original recipe. Last time I had to add a lot more to get the dough to stick together.

  •   350 g flour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • milk (recipe called for 4 Tablespoons but I added quite a bit more because the air was very dry
  • 150 g butter
  • 1 packet of vanilla sugar

3 pounds of apples, cored, and chopped into small pieces, sauteed in butter


almond slivers

You will find all the steps to make this delicious recipe on my blog. I don’t want t rehash the whole recipe. So come on over to my blog. All I can say is: The almonds on top make it so much more delicious and everyone will ask you where you found that recipe…It’s a total crowd pleaser.

Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.

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Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Cream

A Ballad of the Pumpkin Roulade

October month is here,
The crispy autumn air,
The falling golden leaves,
And pumpkins in the fields…


A pumpkin muffin in the morning,
A pumpkin soup for lunch,
And in the evening, after dinner
Our spicy ginger Roulade!

Liza and Daniel

My kids love pumpkin in all forms and especially this wonderfully rich pumpkin roulade. Recently, after making it for a small family celebration, they have written this ballad of a pumpkin roulade. Please enjoy the recipe.

Pumpkin Roulade Ingredients:

1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 cup organic ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of sea salt
3 organic extra large eggs
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
3/4 cup roasted pumpkin (or squash) puree
1/4 ground hazelnuts for dusting

For the filling:

1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup minced dried crystallized ginger

To roast fresh pumpkin/squash:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and remove seeds. Place pumpkin on a lightly greased baking pan and roast for about one hour, until it is very tender. Remove skin. Using a blender or food processor puree pumpkin meat.

To make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12 by 17 inches pan with parchment paper.

Mix the flour, ground hazelnuts, orange rind, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spice together.

In a separate bowl, blend the eggs and brown sugar until thickened. Add the pumpkin puree.

Then slowly add the flour mixture, whisking with a spoon until just combined.

Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake the cake for about 12 minutes, until the top springs back when touched.

While the cake is in the oven, put a thin cotton cloth on a flat surface and sift the entire 1/4 cup of ground hazelnuts evenly over it. When cake is done, carefully turn it out on the prepared cloth. Peel off the parchment paper. Then roll the warm cake with the cloth and allow to cool completely.

To make the filling:

Whisk the cream in a bowl until it just holds its shape. Add sugar and minced ginger.


Unroll the cake and remove the cloth. Spread the cake with the cream, right up to the edges, and carefully roll it up again.




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Delicious Upcycled Cake Recipe: Rotweinkuchen

I am sorry but this recipe is not chock-full of natural or healthy ingredients. In fact, everything in it is probably quite bad for you. Isn’t that the problem with a lot of good food to begin with? But life is tough at times and we must indulge ourselves once in a while…=)

Are you a fan of dark chocolate? Love the taste of red wine? I love both, but have found that, as I am getting older, I am prone to bad headaches caused by red wine. The only way I can consume it these days is in cooked or baked fashion. Luckily, I have a recipe combining these two wonderful flavors into one amazing dessert.

When asked what birthday cake to make for friends or a family member, they will always shout: Rotweinkuchen (translation: Red Wine Cake)!

This recipe was given to me by a friend in college many years ago. So, thank you, Nanette! I will always fondly remember those afternoons hanging out together in your Berlin kitchen and baking this delicious cakes.


250 g butter
250 g sugar
4 eggs
1 packet Vanilla sugar, or if you can’t find it in grocery store some vanilla flavoring
250 g flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking cocoa
125 g dark chocolate chips chopped into smaller pieces
1 scant cup of red wine

(Here is a conversion calculator for baking, should you need it.)


1. Cut up butter in small pieces and cream it together with the sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl.

2. Using a hand mixer, incorporate the eggs one egg at a time, blending for about a minute per egg.

3. Mix together the remaining dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon.

4. Incorporate dry ingredients into the egg butter mix adding a little at a time.

5. Add chopped chocolate chips.

6. Mix in the cup of red wine.

Bake in well-greased Bundt pan or loaf pan in preheated oven at 375 Fahrenheit or 180. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

No reason to polish off the rest of the red wine after a dinner party! Tell your guests you are up-cycling it and for them to come back the next day for cake! =)

Happy Baking!