Homemade Turtle Candy using ROLOs


Like a lot of people I’m counting down the days to Valentine’s Day, and I’m testing recipes in the kitchen which I think might make good gifts for coworkers, friends, and family. During the Christmas season, my sister-in-law makes homemade turtle candy, but I don’t consider this recipe to be seasonal – turtle candy is good any time!

To make homemade turtle candy you’ll need:

  • a bag of ROLO Chewy Caramels in Milk Chocolate
  • small pretzels (I like the small squares.)
  • pecan halves

On a cookie sheet, line the pretzels and then place a ROLO on top of each. Top each ROLO with a pecan.

(You can choose to add the pecans after the ROLOs spend time in the oven, but I chose to place them prior to the heating process. Keeps me from rushing in the assembly process and it allows the pecans to disburse oils which add flavor. The pecans I used came straight out of the freezer too.)

Bake at 220-degrees F for 2 minutes. Gently squish pecans into the ROLOs. Remove turtle candy from the cookie sheet to a piece of wax paper on the counter top to cool.

After the candy is cool, you can package the treats. Don’t forget to taste test. You’ll want to know what everyone is sure to enjoy!

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Easy Dill Biscuits

These easy to make dill biscuits are tasty and a good bread to serve with salads, but I think you’ll like them enough to serve them with any meal. They are buttery and don’t need additional butter when served, but who doesn’t like extra butter?

Bake easy dill biscuits



  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands Homestyle Buttermilk biscuits
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 tsp. dehydrated onion flakes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped finely (I use scissors and cut the dill.)


In a microwave-safe glass container, add butter and onion flakes. Melt butter. Add fresh dill. Open the can of biscuits, roll each biscuit in the butter-onion-dill mixture, covering both sides of the biscuit. Place biscuits on an ungreased cookie sheet / baking pan. Bake according to the instructions on the can (350-degrees for 13-18 minutes).

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Cranberry Cake Recipe

Cranberry Walnut Cake
This is a very good cranberry cake recipe. I especially like that it is not overly sweet. That fact makes sweet whipped cream or ice cream the perfect sides. Not only is this tasty, it’s super easy!


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease/butter a 9-inch pie pan.
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the cranberries and the walnuts, and toss to coat. Stir in the butter, beaten eggs, and almond extract. If you are using frozen cranberries, the mixture will be very thick. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake at for 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

The cake is good warm, but I actually think it tasted better the next day (I did not refrigerate it – I wrapped the top with plastic wrap and kept it on the counter).

Make this while you can still find fresh cranberries. I haven’t tried the recipe with frozen cranberries, but the friend who turned me on to the recipe says they work very well.

Note: this recipe was originally posted at allrecipes.com under the name Crustless Cranberry Pie.

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Creamy Baked Acorn Squash

Baked Acorn SquashThis is a very tasty and easy recipe for baked acorn squash. I will make only one change when making it again. I’ll add a pat of butter to each acorn squash along with the cream.


  • 2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and bottoms trimmed to lie flat if necessary
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place squash halves cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Divide cream and thyme among halves.
  2. Bake until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife – 35 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan and bake until cheese is melted and golden. – 10 to 15 minutes.

Source: Everyday Food December 2012

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Homemade Mulling Spices

This year family members will receive a gift of homemade mulling spices in hand-crafted tea bags paired with apple cider.

mulling spices for hot apple cider

I found the recipe for the mulling spices at the Cooking Channel.

Here is the simple recipe:

  • 2 inches of cinnamon stick (not that found in the craft store – see spices in grocery store)
  • 4 cardamon pods
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 3 whole allspice berries
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons dried orange zest

Combine all in a heavy-duty, plastic, zip close bag. Crush the spices with a mallet or heavy object. Divide the spices evenly between 6 ready-to-fill tea bags or sachets. Store in an airtight container, and include the recipe for using in hot cider.


  • The recipe says it will fill 6 tea bags. I did not find that to be the case. Being a tea drinker, I believe this recipe only makes enough for 4 tea bags.
  • Dried orange peel is the equivalent of dried orange zest.
  • I used one whole anise star – I did not break pods off of stars.
  • I made my own tea bags, which you can do too. The instructions are below.

Make Tea Bags Using Coffee Filters

Use coffee filters to make tea bagsDIY tea bags for mulling spices

I used Melitta filters to construct the tea bags because they provided two sides that were already seamed. Per my notes above, one recipe for the mulling spices equals 4 servings. I equally divided servings between whole Melitta filters, made sure the spices filled the bottom of the filters, and then I ran a straight stitch above the pockets holding the ingredients. I trimmed excess filter fiber away using pinking shears.

Packaging the Mulling Spices

I placed 8 tea bags in quart-size, zip freezer bags (the number of tea bags was determined by the number of 8 oz. servings per jug of cider). I then made a tag (which I’ve included here for you) with instructions for making mulled apple cider. I’ve taste tested this combination and I give it two thumbs up.

Button to download bag labelMake Mulling Spices

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Gluten-Free, Layered, Vegetable Enchiladas

Gluten-free, Vegetable Enchiladas

I found the recipe for these gluten-free, layered, vegetable enchiladas on Whole Foods’ Facebook page. The recipe made me salivate, so I had to try it.

Original Recipe

  • 2 cups frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 cup frozen bell pepper strips, thawed
  • 3 tablestoons lime juice (keep some wedges for garnish)
  • 1.5 tablespoons salt-free chili powder, divided
  • 1 (15-oz.) can no salt added pinto or black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, divided
  • 1 (15 oz.) can no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 8 oz. frozen leafy greens, thawed
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400-degrees F. In a large pot, combine corn, bell peppers, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon chili powder, tomatoes, and greens and cook over medium-high heat until liquid is almost evaporated (about 10 minutes). Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mash beans with 2 tablespoons cilantro and remaining 1/2 tablespoon chili powder and 1 tablespoon lime juice.

Arrange four tortillas on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Spread bean mixture evenly on tortillas. Top each with about 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture and some cheese. Top with remaining tortillas, vegetables and cheese and bake until hot throughout and cheese is melted (about 15 minutes). Transfer to plate, garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges and serve.

My Changes to the Recipe

  • In the corn mixture, I used 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder, 1 tsp. of cayenne, and 1 tsp. of onion powder (rather than the full tablespoon of chili powder). I also used 1 fresh, red bell pepper (rather than frozen). Additionally, I left out the frozen greens.
  • In the bean mixture (I used black beans), I added 1 tsp. of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of picante sauce.
  • I did the tortillas New Mexico style. I heated a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and lightly sauteed each tortilla (both sides). This adds moisture and taste to the dish. I hate dry, bland corn tortillas. This is the remedy. I went through this process as I constructed the layers. Note: I purchased 100% corn tortillas – no wheat gluten.

The outcome was yummy. I will definitely make this again.

Vegetable Enchiladas


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Anise Tea Cookies Recipe

Recipe for Anise Tea Cookies
Well, I’ve finished another batch of cookies. Anise tea cookies are very good with coffee or tea because they have an almost scone-like texture (good for dunking) and they are not horribly sweet, even with the icing. The anise adds an interesting taste which reminds me of my very favorite cookies – biscochitos (a traditional New Mexican Christmas cookie).

Anise Tea Cookies Recipe:

  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon anise flavoring/extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and sugar. Make a well in the center and add the oil, milk, anise flavoring, and eggs. Mix together until dough clings and takes the shape of a ball. (I use my hands to knead everything after all the wet ingredients are mixed in well.)
  3. Pinch off dough (approximately one heaping teaspoon) and roll it into a ball. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet one inch apart. Flatten slightly.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes. This will vary depending on your oven.
  5. Let cool for about five minutes and then spoon on icing.


I like a lot of icing so I made this up 3 times.

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise flavoring/extract

Mix all together. If the icing is too thin add more sugar. If the icing is too thick add a bit more water. Use a teaspoon and let icing drop from spoon on to cookies.

This recipe is based on the recipe for Italian Anisette Cookies.

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Coconut Snowball Crisps Recipe

Coconut Crisps
Ah success! These coconut crisps are easy to make and they taste great. I’ve provided the recipe below. You can also find it in its original format at EveryDay with Rachel Ray.

  • 3 large egg whites (see note below)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  1. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 200°. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using an electric mixer fitted with a whisk, beat the egg whites and salt on medium speed until thick and foamy. Sprinkle in the confectioners’ sugar and, once incorporated, beat at high speed until firm and glossy, about 5 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the coconut, rice cereal and cornstarch. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into the egg mixture until combined.
  3. Drop rounded teaspoons of the mixture about 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake until firm and dry to the touch, about 1 hour. Let cool completely.

Note: Separate eggs when they’re cold, but wait until they’re at room temperature for most volume when whipping.

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