Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Thingies

These are at Pioneer Woman.com, and beware, once you visit her site, you will keep going back. I am making these delicious little morsels for my friend Rochelle's crazy party next week. They are true heaven, if heaven had an old west theme. I can't wait!

Click Here for yeehaw heaven.

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bundt

I make this for parties during the holidays. I'm making it today for our church Christmas party! It is rich and delicious, and just special enough, nobody guesses how easy it is.

1 CHOCOLATE MAGIC CAKE recipe, using 12 T. cocoa instead of 8 T.

Make cake batter according to directions. Grease and flour bundt pan well. Pour batter evenly into pan and bake at 350° for one hour, until toothpick inserted in highest portion of cake comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes. Slide slender spatula or knife down all edges of cake. Invert cake plate over top of bundt pan and turn whole cake pan upside down. Allow cake to gently fall onto plate, and remove bundt pan.

Chocolate Glaze:

1/2 c. chocolate chips
2 T. butter
2 T. honey
1-2 tsp. hot water

Heat chocolate chips, butter, and honey over low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Stir in water, 1 tsp. at a time, until desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake, allowing to drip over sides and down center.

Vanilla Glaze:

1/3 c. butter
2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2-4 T. hot water

Heat butter until melted. Stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir in water, 1 T. at a time, until desired consistency. Drizzle over bundt cake, over chocolate glaze, allowing to drip down side and center.

2 peppermint candy canes

Place candy canes in plastic bag and close. Finely crush candy with rolling pin. Sprinkle crushed candy over top of glazes, and serve.

New England Clam Chowder

A classic favorite of ours.

1 c. onions, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
2 c. potatoes, diced
2 tsp. vinegar
2 - 6 oz. cans chopped clams + juice
1 can corn, drained
2-3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled finely
3/4 c. butter
3/4 c. flour
1 qt. cream, or
4 c. whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Place all vegetables in med. saucepan. Pour drained clam juice and vinegar over top and add enough water to cover. Bring to simmer on MED heat until barely tender. Meanwhile, in large soup pot, melt butter over MED HI heat. Add flour and whisk to blend. Stirring constantly, add cream or milk. Stir with whisk until smooth and very thick. Add vegetables and clam juice. Add clams and bacon. Blend well and heat through on LOW heat. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.

Cheddar Broc Pot

This is my take on a recipe I found in Country Living magazine. It is perfect for cold winter days, and when the kids ask, "What's for dinner?", its fun to say.

1 lg. onion, chopped
2 T. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 med. potatoes, washed and quartered
2 c. baby carrots
3 c. chicken broth
1 c. water
1 bag frozen broccoli, florets or chopped
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. shredded sharp or medium cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. pepper

Heat oil in large heavy pot. Add garlic and stir for one minute. Add potatoes, carrots, broth, and water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to MED LO. Simmer for 1 hour. Add broccoli, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add milk, cheese, salt, sugar, and pepper. Using a potato masher, mash large chunks until soup thickens and becomes creamy, though not smooth. Add water if too thick. Add more salt or sugar to taste. Serves 6-8.


Garlic Sweet Potato Mash

This is a combination of creamy mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, seasoned with mellow, buttery garlic. The flavors are out of this world together, and the sweet potatoes bulk up the nutrition value. Great with gravy, or without.

6-8 baking potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed
2-3 large sweet potatoes or yams
3 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
1/3 c. butter
1 c. milk
2-3 t. salt, more as needed
black pepper as desired

Peel sweet potatoes. Cut all potatoes into thirds. Cover with water in large pot. Add garlic cloves. Bring to boil and cook until tender, testing with fork. Drain. Do not discard garlic pieces. Using potato masher or hand mixer, mash potatoes slightly. Add butter and milk. Stir, allowing butter to melt. Mash further until creamy, or desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper, mixing thoroughly. Taste. Adjust seasoning.

Maple Pork Roast

This is a holiday favorite. I usually make it Christmas day. We even used this once as the main dish for our church Christmas dinner and everyone raved. It doesn't taste as easy as it is, and it tastes wonderful. To make it special, I serve it with ORANGE CRANBERRY SAUCE, steamed green beans, and GARLIC SWEET POTATO MASH. Fa la la la laa.

2-4 lb. boneless pork loin roast
4 T. flour
garlic powder
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
2 c. water

Heat oven to 350°. Rinse roast and pat dry with paper towel. Sprinkle roasting pan or casserole dish with 1 T. flour. Set pork on flour in pan. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of garlic. Brush or drizzle roast with some maple syrup and place in oven. Brush or drizzle with more maple syrup every 10 minutes, for 25 minutes. Allow more time for larger roast. Juices will run clear when done. Transfer pork to platter and cover loosely with foil. Pour 1 c. water into pan and stir to loosen up juices and scrape up drippings. Pour juices from pan into a medium saucepan. As drippings settle, skim rising fat off the top with a spoon and discard. Bring to boil over MED HI. In a jar with a lid, place 3 T. flour and 1 c. water. Shake with lid on, until smooth. While stirring with a whisk, slowly add water mixture to drippings. Allow to thicken while constantly stirring. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste. Serve sliced pork with mashed potatoes and gravy.

Maple Pecan Bars

These are melt-in-your-mouth good! I found these in Family Fun magazine, tore out the recipe, then didn't make them until just 2 years ago. Good luck eating just one.... ooohhhh.


¾ c. butter, softened

1/3 c. sugar

½ tsp. salt

½ c. oats, quick or old-fashioned

1 ¾ c. flour

1 T. cold water

Heat oven to 350. Grease 9x13” pan. Cream butter, sugar, and salt. Stir in oats. Stir in flour a third at a time, making coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on water and mix briefly. Press dough into pan. Chill for 15 mins. Bake pastry in oven for 15 mins. Cool thoroughly.


½ c. real maple syrup

½ c. packed brown sugar

1/3 c. heavy cream

3 T. butter, cut into several pieces

½ t. vanilla

2 c. coarsely chopped pecans

Combine maple syrup, brown sugar, cream, and butter in saucepan. Bring mixture to full boil. Boil for 40 seconds, then remove from heat and stir in vanilla and pecans. Immediately pour over crust, spreading evenly with spatula. Bake for 15 mins. Cool thoroughly in pan. Cover and refrigerate bars for 1-2 hours before slicing.

Makes approx. 30 1 ½”x2” bars.

Peppermint Sticks

I have been making these yummy cookies nearly every Christmas since 1999, when I found the recipe in Woman's Day magazine. They are eye-catching, tasty, and inexpensive. This year, I'm bringing them to the cookie swap!

1 c. butter, softened

1 c. sugar

½ t. vanilla

2 large eggs

2 ¾ c. flour

¼ t. salt

2 tsp. mint extract

24 drops red food color

In mixer, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. On low speed, gradually add flour and salt; beat just until blended. Divide dough in half. Shape one half into a 6” disk; wrap and refrigerate.

Stir mint extract and red food coloring into other half. Divide dough in half and shape each portion into a 5” disk; wrap and refrigerate one hour until firm.

Heat oven to 350.

Cut uncolored dough in 12 equal wedges. Cut each tinted disk into 6 equal wedges. On a lightly floured surface, roll one plain wedge and 1 tinted wedge in to 15” long ropes (keep rest of dough refrigerated as you work). Place side by side. Cut crosswise in quarters. Holding ends, twist each section together. Handle gently. Place 1” apart on cookie sheet. Repeat. Bake 11-13 mins. until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.


1 ½ c. powdered sugar

1 ½ T. water

2-3 candy canes, crushed (place in sturdy plastic bag and tap with heavy rolling pin or saucepan)

Mix powdered sugar and water until smooth, adding more water if needed for a glue-like consistency. Dip ½” of both ends of cookie in glaze, then in the crushed candy canes. Place on wax paper to dry.

Store airtight at cool room temp. up to 1 week.