Pizza Focaccia Bread – Ready in 1 Hour

This is a new favorite in our house.  A fresh and flavorful pizza bread that can be made and ready to serve in an hour.  Yes, you heard me correctly, 1 hour!   And if you’re intimidated by making bread have no fear…  Seriously, this recipe is great for beginner bread makers.

Pizza Focaccia Bread

3/4 c. warm water

1/2 tsp. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. yeast

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour


1/4 c. pizza sauce

1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

8 slices pepperoni, cut into small pieces

2 dashes of Italian seasoning

Spray a 9” pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, add water, sugar, salt, and yeast.  Let sit for a couple minutes.  Add oil and flour; mix thoroughly.  On a lightly floured surface knead dough for about 1-2 minutes.  Place dough in the prepared pie plate and press out.  Poke holes in the dough (as shown below).

Top dough with pizza sauce, pepperoni, and cheese (as shown below).  Sprinkle Italian seasoning on top.

Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for 20 minutes;  bake for 20 minutes.  Serve warm.

I like to dip this bread in fresh pizza sauce.  It makes a great appetizer, compliments a fresh salad, and can be served with a meal.

Either way, it won’t last long – I guarantee it!

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

Last week I shared a post for homemade black raspberry jelly.  We have berries are out behind our house that are free for the picking – and boy are they plentiful this year.  I think all of the rain we had this spring has helped them grow.   It’s hard for me to rationalize leaving these  berries unpicked because they are loaded with healthy antioxidants and are super delicious.  My only problem is that my stomach doesn’t tolerate seeds well so I have to be a little crafty and work around them.

I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to making seedless preserves and sauces before now but all I can say is better late than never.

Seedless Black Raspberry Sauce

3 c. of berries

1 1/2 c. water

Put berries and water in a large saucepan and bring a full boil for 5 minutes over medium heat – stirring often.  Mash the berries in the pan as they soften while cooking them.  (This will yield about 2 cups of juice).

Once the berries have boiled for 5 minutes remove from heat.  Strain the juice through a doubled piece of cheese cloth and discard the seeds and pulp.

2 c. juice

2 tbsp. butter

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. corn starch, plus 1 tbsp. water (mixed together)

1/8 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

In a clean saucepan, melt the butter.  Add juice, sugar, salt, and cornstarch; bring to a boil on slow heat – stirring constantly.  Cook until liquid thickens.  Remove from the heat and stir in vanilla.  Pour into container. Makes 1 pint.  Serve warm or cool.   Store in the refrigerator (stir thoroughly before serving, or warm for a few seconds in the microwave).

Use this as a topping on ICE CREAM, MILKSHAKES, PANCAKES, or vanilla YOGURT (like pictured).  One of these days I’m going to experiment and make a homemade black raspberry vinaigrette salad dressing using this sauce and when I do, I’ll share the recipe.

Imagine how happy you’d make a friend, neighbor, or co-worker if you presented them with a small jar of this.  Think Christmas…  I have froze bags of these berries so I can make fresh batches of sauce and jam throughout the cold winter months when ripe berries are hard to come by.

Pick berries and get into the sauce!

Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie–A Summer Treat!

Grab a fork and a plate for a taste of this Blueberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie.

With the 4th of July weekend here don’t pass up the chance to make one of these deliciously rich and creamy pies.  This pie is easy (no-cook) to make and will wow just about any hungry crowd.  I made a pie for a gathering of six and we didn’t leave as much as a crumb.

Bluberry White Chocolate Cheesecake Pie (Recipe adapted from Jamie Cookies It Up)


1 package (not the entire box) of honey graham crackers, crushed fine

5 tbsp. butter, melted

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

Put all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix completely.  Press into a pie plate and bake at 375 degrees for about 7 minutes.


12 oz.  cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. white chocolate chips, melted

2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. milk

2 c. whipped topping

1 pint of fresh blueberries ( add an extra half a pint of berries if you LOVE fruit)

dash of salt

In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat cream cheese and melted chips together.  Add milk, vanilla, and salt.  Mix in powdered sugar and whipped topping one cup at a time until smooth and creamy.  Fold in blueberries.  Pour into prepared pie crust.  Refrigerate for two hours before serving.

Do you have plans for the  4th of July?  What are you making for dessert?

Homemade Wild Black Raspberry Jelly

This weekend hubby and I put on our work boots and followed a wet muddy path out behind our house until we got to the wild black raspberry plants.  I have been wanting to make some homemade jelly for a while now and it just didn’t seem right to let these plump juicy berries go to waste.

Of course we had to battle mosquitos, a couple Daddy Long Legs, and some noisy birds that warned us to leave their berries alone.    But in the end – it was all worth it.

I followed this recipe for  Blackberry Jelly that I found posted by Kathy in Florida on  If you follow the instructions just as I did, then I think you’ll be eating homemade jelly too!

When I have fruit that has a lot of seeds like these berries do I prefer to make jelly over jam because I can avoid the seeds all together.

This recipe was easy to follow and the jelly making went fairly quickly.  I used a box of SUREJELL for the pectin.  I have always had good luck with this brand and it’s what my mom used long before I started making jams and jellies.  *Cooks note: Remember to skim the foam off the top before putting the jelly in jars.

And did you know there is no written rule that says you only have to eat jelly on toast or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  Try it on a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

I am now officially in the jam and jelly making mood.  My next adventure?  To pick cherries and make homemade cherry jam.

Have you ever made homemade jams and jellies?  What’s your favorite flavor?

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

I was ready to experiment in the kitchen yesterday.  I planned on making something with some Granny Smith apples I had on hand.  I considered making a pie, muffins, bread, and apple crisp, but I couldn’t shake the idea of creating a deliciously moist apple cake.

I started out with a big bowl and worked my way into this delicious cake.  I promise you this cake is super moist (thanks to the sour cream) and will quench any hankering you have for the combination of apples and cinnamon.   What’s even better?  You can don’t need an electric mixer to whip this cake up; simply mix by hand.

I decided to title this recipe as Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake because it is the type of dessert my mother or grandmother would have whipped up to serve following one of their delicious home cooked meals. 

Old-Fashioned Apple Sour Cream Cake

1 c. granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 stick of butter, softened

1/2 c. sour cream

1/4  tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 Granny Smith apple peeled, cored, and sliced very thin

Cinnamon and sugar mixture – 1/2 c. granulated sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon;  add prepared apple slices and set aside

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8”x8” glass baking dish

In a large bowl mix by hand the sugar, egg, softened butter, and sour cream.  Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla, and flour; mix until all ingredients are combined.  Don’t over mix.  Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan.  Layer half of the apple slices on top of the batter.  Repeat with remaining cake batter and apple slices.  The apples will be the top layer.

Bake for approximately 30 – 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean after being submitted into the center of the cake.

Cool slightly and serve warm with your favorite vanilla ice cream, or allow to cool and serve later. 

Delicious Apple Sour Cream Cake - From Scratch


Old-Fashioned Apple Cake - Serve Warm or Cold

What is your favorite fruit to bake with?

Supermarket Deli Pistachio Salad

This pistachio salad  is one of my summer picnic favorites.   And while it’s usually a popular item at most supermarket deli’s there is no reason not to make it yourself at home.  The ingredients and the making of this salad are so simple that you’ll wonder (like me) why you didn’t make it sooner, or more often.

Here is what you will need.

(1) 8 oz. tub of light whipped topping

(1) 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple (drained)

(1) 3 oz. package of instant pistachio pudding

2 c. mini marshmallows

2-3 drops of green food coloring (optional)

In a large mixing bowl mix the pudding and drained pineapple together.  Add the whipped topping and mix until everything is combined.  Add the food coloring if desired.  Fold in the mini marshmallows.  Refrigerate a couple hours before serving.

I didn’t use the food coloring in this salad.  If you decide to use it in your salad it will be much more greener.

Easy to make pistachio salad - a picnic favorite

What’s one of your favorite picnic salads?

It’s Not About The Cake

I was originally going to share a recipe for these little dark chocolate cupcakes, but when I realized that they weren’t the star of the show I shifted gears.  The frosting is the true star here!

And no, this isn’t a sponsored post.  It’s just about me being adventurous in my kitchen.

Love making homemade buttercream frosting?   Then I have a new trick for you.  Try substituting Black Velvet Toasted Caramel Whisky in place of vanilla extract.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a huge frosting fan.  For me it’s more about the cake.  But I have to tell you that I COULD NOT STOP TASTING THIS FROSTING the entire time I was taking the photo’s for this post.  Seriously, it is that good!  And don’t you love how the alcohol didn’t tint the frosting?  It stayed bright white. 

I used about 1 tablespoon of Black Velvet Toasted Caramel in place of the 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract my recipe calls for and I didn’t think it tasted boozy.  However,  there is no reason that you couldn’t start out by adding one teaspoon of the BV at a time until you reach the desired flavor you’re looking for. 


Help From Betty Crocker and Jell-O = French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes

Every now and then I call upon Betty (Crocker) to lend me a hand in the kitchen.  While I typically bake from scratch, there are times when I just don’t feel like dragging out all of the ingredients to whip up a batch of cupcakes.  Can you say lazy?  Can you relate?

Now, just because I’m a little lazy and decide to use a cake mix doesn’t mean I can’t be creative.  Take these French Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes for example,  I decided they would create a perfect ending to a delicious home cooked Valentine’s Day dinner we have planned for this evening.

And if you’re like me, there are also times when you’re looking for a flavored cake that is nearly impossible to find.  When this happens I find myself in the Jell-O isle at the grocery store.  Cake mix + Jell-O pudding or gelatin = endless possibilities. (This is not a sponsored post.  I just happen to like both of these products.)

To make these cupcakes you will need:

1 Super Moist Betty Crocker French Vanilla Cake Mix

1 Box of Jell-O Coconut Cream Cook & Serve Pudding

A batch of your favorite homemade vanilla buttercream frosting

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line cupcake tins with cupcake papers (makes 24)

In a large bowl, add cake mix, pudding mix, 1 1/4 c. water, 1/4 c. olive oil, and 3 large eggs.  Mix until all ingredients are combined.  Fill cupcake papers about 1/2 full.  Bake for about 19 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center.

Remove from oven and let cool before frosting.

I decorated these with some finely grated dark chocolate.

What would your favorite flavor combo be if I asked you to pick a cake mix and a box of Jell-O?

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Create and Share! Best of the Weekend Party at

A Skinnier Version of Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

My mother always made a mean batch of rice pudding – the stove top version of course.   In fact, I would ask for it every year for my birthday in lieu of a cake – even though she filled the pudding with raisins that I would inevitably pick out one by one.

In my later years, I have come to two conclusions where rice pudding is concerned.  One, the raisins really do give it a unique flavor even if you have to pick them out like I do, and two, making rice pudding takes more patience than I sometimes have.  Why patience you ask?  Because if you don’t temper the eggs into the hot milk mixture you will end up with a disaster like I have done a few times before.  I almost had given up on making stove top rice pudding but after one more sigh, and a small self pep talk, I gave it one more shot.  And this my folks is what sweet victory tastes like.

If you are at all like me and patience aren’t your virtue on some God given days then maybe you’ll wait like I did – until a day when you feel invincible and time is on your side.

This a skinnier and lower sugar version of my mom’s original rice pudding.

Skinnier Creamy Stove Top Rice Pudding

1 1/2 c. skim milk

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 c. prepared instant rice (follow the directions on the package for two servings)

1 egg, beaten (in a separate bowl)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

1 c.  light whipped topping (Cool Whip or the like)

Prepare the rice in advance by following the directions on the box of any instant rice (cooks in the microwave in 5 minutes).  In a medium sized saucepan, add milk, sugar, and salt.  Bring to a boil; stirring constantly.  Add cooked rice and remove from heat and cool for a ten minutes.  Slowly ladle about 1 cup of the  milk mixture into the beaten egg until completely mixed.  Place milk mixture back on the stove and on the lowest heat possible add egg mixture to it; mixing as you pour.  Stir constantly until pudding thickens.  The starch in the rice will help achieve this.  Once thickened, remove from heat and add vanilla and nutmeg.  Refrigerate until cool.  Once pudding has cooled fold in one cup of whipped topping before serving.

I took pictures of this pudding while it was still fairly warm.  That’s why you see the whipped cream melting.  Again, it’s a patience thing…  And I was losing  the optimal natural light I had to take pictures of my creation.

A while ago Libbey Glass sent me these cute little glasses/dishes that are perfect for  watching for portion control or feeding a crowd where you want to serve small tastes of everything sinful!

I shared this recipe over at the blog The Country Cook – Weekend Potluck #162.  Check out all of the other great links that shared there with me.

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

There is nothing more enticing than a pan of homemade cinnamon rolls waiting to be dug into. Is there? 

Gooey Cinnamon Rolls

1/4 c. butter

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. milk

1 tsp. salt

4 tsp. instant yeast

1 c. warm water

1 egg, beaten

4 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading

Cinnamon & Sugar Mixture

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 stick of butter, softened


1/2 c. powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. milk

In a medium sized saucepan, add butter, milk, salt, and sugar.  Heat until butter has melted.  Remove from the burner and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, add 2 cups of flour, yeast, and water.  Add egg and milk mixture to the flour; mix thoroughly.  Add remaining flour ensuring all ingredients are mixed completely.

Place the dough on a moderately floured surface.  Knead until dough is no longer sticky – use more flour if necessary by adding about a tablespoon or two at a time.  Place dough into a large greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Allow dough to double in size; about 1 hour.

Once dough has risen, place on a lightly floured piece of parchment paper about 15”x20” in size.   Punch dough down and roll into a rectangular shape – the size of the paper.  Brush softened butter on dough, sprinkle with prepared sugar & cinnamon mixture.  Roll dough into a log starting on the longest side of the rectangle.  Cut 1” slices and place in a greased 8”x13” baking pan.  

Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise for about 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool before drizzling icing on top.