Five Cup Fruit Salad

4c391cc83fafcb1d6a3a6e1e9470feac3fada179Five Cup Fruit Salad

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

So easy. Keep this ingredient list in your head so you can grab the items quickly in the grocery store.


1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup mini marshmallows

1, 8-ounce can pineapple tidbits, drained

1, 8-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained

1 cup sour cream

  1. In a large bowl, combine coconut, marshmallows, pineapple tidbits, and mandarin oranges. Gently stir in sour cream.
  2. Refrigerate several hours.

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread
Pull Apart Cinnamon Monkey Bread

Gooey Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

3, 10-ounce cans flaky refrigerated biscuits (such as Hungry Jack)

2 sticks butter

1 ½ cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 cup chopped pecan

1-Preheat oven to 300º.

2-Remove biscuits from cans and cut into quarters.* In a saucepan, heat butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until  butter is melted. Place half the biscuits in the bottom of a tube pan or bundt pan. Top with half the melted butter mixture. Repeat layers.

3-Bake 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

*Cutting the biscuits into quarters is easy if you take a third of the roll at a time, lay it on its side and use a serrated knife to slice first in half and then slice each half in half.

One secret of having a very moist and gooey cake is to not over bake. Be sure to take this cake out of the oven after just 45 minutes!


Basket Weave Cake

Basket Weave Cake
Basket Weave Cake

Basket Cakes are a fun mix of delicious cake and colorful centerpiece. The top of the cake can be “filled” with chocolate bunnies and Easter candies, or fresh flowers. The cake shown here is a 10-inch round, baked in two Wilton cake pans that measure 1 ½ inches high. Each pan holds one whole cake recipe or one whole cake mix.  This gives a nice, high cake so the basket weave has room to show and the cake doesn’t look “squatty.” Basket weave can also be done on a square cake.

Remember that your basket weave doesn’t need to be perfect. We’re after a hand-made, artistic look – not a plastic, machine-made look. Your basket cake is an expression of your love and joy and your family and friends will get a kick out of it even if it’s lopsided or the weaving isn’t connected. Besides, you can always say you are “just learning!”

Here are the instructions.

Bake a two-layer cake. Level the top of each layer by using a long serrated knife to cut off the rounded top of the layers. This will give your finished cake a neat, flat top.

Frost the top of one layer and top with the second layer. Frost the cake completely. This layer of frosting doesn’t need to be thick or perfect. The weaving will cover this layer.

You’ll need a pastry bag and a basket weave tip. I like to use a 10” or 12” bag. The basket weave tip comes in several sizes. One is Wilton’s #45. This tip fits inside a standard coupler. I like to use the Wilton #2B, which is much wider. It is too large for a coupler, so I place it directly into the bag without using a coupler.

Fill the pastry bag with frosting and follow the illustration at the right.

 Closeup of basket weave technique
Closeup of basket weave technique

Starting at the top of the cake, make one vertical line (keep the serrated side of the tip facing up) down the side of the cake. Then pipe several horizontal lines across the vertical line (extending about 1 inch past the vertical line), leaving space between each line the same width as the tip you are using.

Pipe a second vertical line, just covering the ends of the horizontal lines. Again, pipe horizontal lines, crossing over the vertical line and extending about 1 inch past it. This is the beginning of the basket weave look.

Continue the vertical and horizontal lines around the sides of the cake. When you get completely around the cake, it may not finish up evenly to make the one last proper weave. Don’t worry about this. You can cover up this imperfection with ivy leaves – it will be the back or side of your cake. Here is a photo of the back of my cake where it didn’t end up evenly. It’s disguised with ivy.

If there are other uneven line connections around the cake, you can cover them with ivy leaves, flowers, or candy – if you desire. But remember that this is a hand-crafted basket.

Use a wire hanger to make a handle. Cut off the hook and bend the remaining wire into a handle shape. Cover with florist tape (available at craft stores). Cover the handle with long pieces of fresh ivy or other non-poisonous vines. If you use something that can’t be wound around the wire, you can use florist wire to wire it in place.


Field Greens with Bacon, Sugared Pecans, and Goat Cheese

f37948ae6eb9b579b2bfd141a90244dc9312e5fbField Greens with Bacon, Sugared Pecans, and Goat Cheese

Yield: 6 servings

8 to 10 cups baby field greens or torn leaf lettuce

6 to 8 pieces bacon, fried crisp and crumbled

1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta)

1 recipe Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette

1 recipe sugared pecans (below)

  1. In a large bowl, toss together field greens, bacon and goat cheese.
  2. Drizzle with salad dressing and toss to coat evenly. Add sugared pecans and toss again.


Sugared Pecans:

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons water

1 cup pecan halves

  1. Place brown sugar and water in a heavy skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Add pecans and cook, stirring constantly, until all water evaporates, about 5 minutes.
  2. Spread pecans on parchment paper to cool. Store in airtight container.


Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette

Yield: about 2 1/4 cups

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 large shallot, minced

3/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Place all ingredients in a large jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to mix well. Refrigerate until needed; shake before using.




Chocolate Chip Cookies

choc chips

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: 8 dozen cookies

1 cup butter

1 cup vegetable shortening (Crisco)

1 1/2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

4 eggs

4 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2, 12-ounce packages chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick coating.

2. In a mixing bowl, beat together butter, shortening, white and brown sugars and vanilla, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs.  Stir together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls (about 1-inch wide plops) onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Gingered Pear Chutney

Gingered Pear Chutney

Yield: about 5 pints


10 cups peeled, chopped pears

4 cups sugar

3 cups cider vinegar

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup raisins

¼ cup finely chopped fresh ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cloves


  1. Place all ingredients in a heavy kettle or Dutch oven and stir to combing. Set kettle over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until thick, about 1 – 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, wash jars, lids, and rings in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. Place in a kettle of boiling water. Keep at a low simmer until needed.
  3. Use tongs to remove jars, one at a time, from simmering water and fill with simmering chutney mixture, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Add lids and rings, tightening to “finger tight.” Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.