Peach Jam Bars

Serve cold as bars, or warm with whipped cream as a dessert.
¾ c. butter, room temp.
1 c. sugar
1 egg
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ c. chopped walnuts
1 ½ cups peach jam (other jam can be substituted)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar, then add egg, salt and vanilla. Mix again.
3. Mix in 1 cup flour, then baking powder. Add the 2nd cup flour and nuts and mix well.
4. Press two-thirds of the dough in a greased, 9×13 pan. Take your time, patting it out, wetting your fingers if it gets sticky.
5. Spread peach jam over the dough.
6. Take the remaining dough, and again with your fingers, pinch off teaspoon-sized pieces and drop onto the peach layer, being careful to deposit evenly. There will be gaps, that’s okay, this is like a crumble topping.
7. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.
8. Bake for about 35 minutes or until golden.
9. Remove from oven and cool on rack. Makes 36 bars.
10. Serve warm as a dessert, or cool as bars.


Aronia Berry Jelly

On the off-chance your jelly doesn’t fully set; no problem. You’ll have pancake syrup.
Aronia berry, also called black chokeberry, makes great jelly. here’s how to do it.

3-1/2 cups chokeberry juice from fresh picked fruit
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 oz. or 1 package of pectin (1/4 c. dry powdered)
6 cups sugar

Wash fruit, remove stems and sticks and cover with water, simmer 15 minutes. Strain the juice.

Powdered pectin method: Pour measured amount into a 6-8 quart non-reactive kettle such as enamel or stainless steel. Add lemon juice, pectin and stir. Bring to a boil, add sugar, stir, and bring to a full rolling boil. Boil exactly two minutes. Skim and pour into clean, hot jars. Seal and store refrigerated (or process in a water bath for 10-minutes and then store in a cool dry place).

If using liquid pectin, substitute a 3 oz. pouch instead of the 2 oz. pkg. of powdered pectin. Also if using liquid pectin, add it to the pot only after the juice and sugar mixture comes to a full boil. Then boil for 2 minutes, put into jars, and process.

Do not make more than a double batch. It may take a day or two to fully set up. Yields: 4 pints.

Rhubarb Orange Jam

This recipe from Ball Blue Book is a family favorite in our house.

(From Ball Blue Book of Preserving)
Yield: 7 half-pints

2 ½ lbs. rhubarb, diced
2 oranges
1 pkg powdered pectin (1.75 oz.)
6 cups sugar

Squeeze juice from oranges. Measure juice, adding water if needed, to make 1 cup; set aside. Remove white pith from one-half of orange peel. Cut peel into slivers.

Combine orange peel, orange juice, and rhubarb in a large saucepot. Simmer covered about 3 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Stir in powdered pectin. Bring to a boil. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.

Return to a rolling boil. Boil hard 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary.

Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving ¼-inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10-minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Yellow Crazy Cake with Strawberries

(No eggs or milk needed, this is a nice, easy little half-sized cake for a small household.)

1 ½ cups + 3 T all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan or glass baking dish.

Mix together all dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix together the water, oil, vinegar and vanilla. Immediately pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until relatively smooth. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps. Work quickly and pour into baking dish.

Bake for 35-37 minutes or until top springs back when pressed lightly with fingertip.

Top with your favorite frosting or serve with berries and whipped cream.

You can double this recipe for a 9×13-inch pan.


Grandma’s Banana Nut Bread

banana bread on a plate
Easy, moist, and just like Grandma used to make.

Simple, easy, fast, and fun; cannot be improved upon.

1 cup ripe smashed banana
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
12 cup water
12 cup vegetable oil
1 12 cups brown sugar
34 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 34 cups flour
1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Adjust oven rack to middle position and Pre-heat to 350°F. Grease 1 large loaf pan.

Mix wet ingredients-do not over mix. Add dry ingredients to combine-do not over mix.

Bake large loaf 60-70 minutes. Until firm and golden brown. Let stand for a few minutes before removing from pans. Cool completely. Freezes well.

Health-ier Monster Cookies

cookies with M&Ms on top
Health-ier Monster Cookies

1 c. creamy peanut butter
½ c. brown sugar
¾ c. rolled oats (the kind that cooks in 5-minutes, not instant)
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. vanilla
1 egg, large
1/3 c. chocolate chips
1/3 c. M&Ms

Makes 9 monster cookies. Recipe can be doubled.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease one large cookie sheet.

Using a mixer, blend the peanut butter and brown sugar until creamed. Mix in salt, baking soda, vanilla, oats, and egg. Stir in chocolate chips.

Using your hands, scoop up dough, squeeze, and shape into balls about the size of golf balls and place on cookie sheet. Press down with your palm to flatten slightly. Cookies can be about 2-inches apart. They don’t spread out much when baked. Gently press about 6-8 M&Ms into the top of each cookie.

Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until bottoms just start to turn brown ever so slightly. Remove from oven even if cookies don’t look done. Let cool completely. I like to wrap them individually in plastic wrap.

Options: replace a tablespoon or two of the rolled oats with ground flax seeds. Dried cherries, cranberries and golden raisins can replace the chocolate chips and you will still have a great cookie. Nuts? Sure!

Amish Cinnamon Bread

Four slices of cinnamon bread on a white plate
Amish Cinnamon Bread

A quick version of Amish Friendship Bread
without the traditional sourdough-style starter

1/2 c. butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. buttermilk (or ¼ c. buttermilk powder and 1 c. water)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon/Sugar Topping:
1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees conventional (Use convection setting if you have it.)

Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg and vanilla, mix well. Add buttermilk, flour, baking soda, salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon and mix until just combined. Spread half of the batter into a greased loaf pan.

Sprinkle about 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top and swirl with tip of knife or finger. Gently spread remaining batter over the 1st layer and swirl with another 1/3 if the cinnamon mixture again. Sprinkle top with remaining cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or longer until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 30 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert to a rack and cool. Makes 1 loaf.

Click here for a little history on this long-loved recipe tradition.