The Best Cookie Cutout Recipe EVER!

October 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

I cannot and will not take credit for this tasty cookie dough recipe.  It is my mom’s recipe.  Where she got it, I don’t know.  It may just be one of those secret family recipes! 🙂  If it is…SORRY MOM!  The secret is now out.

There are many different recipes for this type of sugar cookie dough.  What I know about this recipe is that it is amazingly good. REALLY!  No fool’n!

I remember making cookie cutouts with this dough as a child.  They tasted so good.  I think maybe the secret to this recipe is the orange peel.  My Suggestion: Give this recipe a try!  It may even end up being your “go to” cookie cutout recipe.  It is mine.

Nonee’s Sugar Cookie Cutouts

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
  • 1/2 teaspoon real vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups sifted flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream together the butter, sugar, orange peel and vanilla.  Add the egg and beat with mixer until light and fluffy.  Stir in the milk.  In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until incorporated.  Divide the dough into 2 halves.  Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Once the dough has chilled, unwrap and place on a light floured surface.  Roll the dough out to approx. 1/8 inch thick.  Cut in desired shapes with cookie cutters and place shapes on a lightly greased cookie sheet or silpat.  Bake for about 6-8 minutes.  Remove from oven and let the cookies sit for a minute before removing them to the cooling rack.  Letting them sit for a minute with help them not come apart when transferring to the cooking rack.

Once cool, decorate!  I love when the kids decorate them.  They love doing it and they have such great decorating ideas.  Be sure to get a lot of sprinkles.  Kids love sprinkles.

Now to my favorite part.  EATING THEM!  Some hold me back…


“Hangover” Rum Cake

August 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

The name of this cake says it all.   You could possibly get a hangover from it if you ate too much of it at one time.  All in all, it is made with 1 cup of rum.  YUM!  This just came to me…It could also be called Double Duty Rum Cake – dessert and after dinner drink all in one.

This is not one of my original recipes.  I acquired this recipe in a recipe box we received as a gift when my husband and I got married.  It came from my husband’s aunt but not sure she was the originator of this recipe.  Regardless, we need to say, “Thank You, Aunt Linda!”  This recipe has been one of our family favorites for the last 12 years and is sooo good that we needed to share it with all of you.

Rum Cake

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding mix (3.4 oz box)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup rum (dark or light)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a large bowl, add the cake mix and pudding mix and all the wet ingredients.  Mix well with a hand mixer.  Spray bunt pan with nonstick cooking spray.  Pour in the batter.  Bake for 1 hour.  Remove from oven and cool on wire rack until slightly warm.  Remove from pan and place on cake plate.  Prick the top of the cake with a toothpick to make holes for the glaze to soak into.  Pour glaze over cake until all the glaze is gone.

Rum Glaze

  • 1/4 unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup 80 proof rum (dark or light)

Melt butter in a medium size sauce pan.  Add the sugar and water.  Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and stir in rum.  It will bubble up when the rum is added.  Don’t let this alarm you.  Just keep stirring.  Drizzle as directed above over the rum cake.

Our Aunt’s recipe called for pecan nuts to be put into the bottom of the bunt pan prior to baking.  My husband isn’t a big pecan fan, so I make this cake without them.  If you like pecans, feel free to add a cup of pecans to the bottom of the pan before pouring in the cake mix.

This cake is amazing all by itself; however, you could also drizzle macerated berries over the top for a twist on shortcake!  Oh Yeah! Delish!

Be careful how much of this you eat…Remember…it’s called Hangover Rum Cake for a reason!


Freshly Squeezed Lemonade

July 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

Homegrown and Freshly Squeezed

I recently striped these lemons of their peels to make limoncello and needed to figure out what to do with the remaining lemon goodness.  I decided a delicious, non-alcoholic drink would be nice.  There truly couldn’t be a better time for lemonade than during the hot summer months. 

I enlisted Graham’s help in reaming the lemons.  He said it was kind of hard to do, but agreed, we had a blast making this recipe together.  I was even able to convert him to a lemonade liker and drinker! 

This is a super simple recipe.  It can be cut in half or doubled depending on how much lemon juice you use.


  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups super fine granulated sugar
  • 8 cups water

Juice the lemons into a container.  Strain out any pulp and seeds.  Pour into large pitcher.  Add the fine sugar and water.  Mix well.  Make sure all the sugar has dissolved before serving.  Garnish with slices of lemon.  Chill and serve.

NOTE: I use the fine sugar so it dissolves quickly.  If you don’t have fine sugar then I would suggest making a simple syrup with the 2 cups sugar and 2 cups of the water to ensure there won’t be any sugar sludge at the bottom.

Crispy and Chewy: Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

July 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

Chocolate Chip Raisin Cookies

I created this recipe after I had promised oatmeal raisin cookies to my family before I checked whether I had all the ingredients to make them.  Oops!  I was short on oatmeal, so ended up manipulating the ingredients.  This cookie is the result of my efforts.  It is crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.  My family actually likes them better than the ones I was going to make.  I don’t ask if they want oatmeal raisin cookies anymore.  I ask if they want chocolate chip raisin ones.  Their answer: YES!!!!

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter – softened
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1  1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine the softened butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar with a mixer.  Once combined add the egg and vanilla.  Mix with mixer.  In a smaller bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until all is incorporated.  Add the raisins and mini chocolate chips.  Mix.

Scoop a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a round ball.  Recipe will allow you to make approx. 30 balls (cookies).  Place 12 balls on a medium size, non-stick, cookie sheet or one lined with a silpat.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Upon removing the cookie from oven, let them sit on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before moving to the cooling rack.  If you miss this step, the cookies may want to fall apart upon removal.  If you wait those 2 minutes, it allows them to cool slightly and are easier to move to wire rack.  Let cookies cool.  EAT!

 Warning:  These seem to disappear quickly.  May want to hide some for later!

Lemons + Vodka = Limoncello

July 3, 2012 § 2 Comments

I was the lucky recipient of a grocery bag full of homegrown, organic lemons from my in-laws tree.   So my thought was…when you’re handed lemons make Limoncello.  Well maybe not everyone thinks to make limoncello but my mother-in-law planted the seed and all I can say is –  I’m glad she did.  The limoncello turned out perfectly delicious.  It was so perfectly tasty that we ended up gifting the limoncello back to them; however, not all has been gifted away.  I have 2 more batches brewing.  🙂 UmHm, I know you want some so I’ll call you when it is ready.  If you can’t seem to wait that long, here is my secret recipe so you can brew a batch (or two) at home.

  • 6 – 10 lemons (6 if they are large, 8 if medium and 10 if small)
  • 1 – 750 ml bottle of vodka (any brand)
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 3 cups water

Wash the lemons really well with a brush under cool water.  With a sharp knife, cut the peel off of the lemons.  Make sure not to include any of the white part (pith).  This will make your limoncello bitter.  Place the peel into a container with a lid.  Pour the entire bottle of vodka into the container.  Let steep for at least 4-5 weeks (longer if possible).  After at least a month of sitting, it is time to make the simple syrup.  Pour 3 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar into a sauce pan.  Heat the water to allow the sugar to dissolve.  Once dissolved, cool the water.  Strain the infused vodka to remove all the lemon peel.  Marry the lemon vodka and syrup together.  Pour into decorative bottle and chill for a few hours in the fridge.  Serve in small cordial type glasses.  This is a classic, Italian, after dinner drink to be sipped and enjoyed.  I hope you make this and enjoy it.  We certainly will! Cheers!

Now…what to do with all those naked lemons!?!  Hmmmm…I KNOW…LEMONADE.  I just happen to have the perfect recipe.  Stay tuned!

Broccoli Bites (for the kid who won’t eat his veggies)

May 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Broccoli Bites

I just bought a new baking pan from Demarle at Home and am trying it out on many of my house favorite recipes.  I usually make this Broccoli Bite recipe by cooking them like a patty in olive oil.   This new way allows for less fat which makes them more healthy.  If you don’t have a Demarle medium tartlet pan as I do, you can just bake them on a cookie sheet or cook them in a little olive oil (still a family favorite this way).  My son eats these first when they are served at dinner time and ALWAYS asks for a second helping.  Yippee!!

  • 2 cups cooked broccoli
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Emeril’s Essense (LOVE this seasoning!  You must get some.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Cook broccoli in microwave until tender (usually 3 – 5 minutes depending on microwave).  Once cooked, set aside to cool.  When cool, place broccoli into food processor.  Add all remaining ingredients except the bread crumbs.  Pulse to combine.  Turn out mixture into bowl and add the bread crumbs.  Stir to mix in bread crumbs.  Place a spoonful of mixture into each Demarle medium tartlet pan cup.

Fill each cup to the top.  Add a small sprinkle of parmesan cheese to the top of each one.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 minutes before serving.  Should be able to make 12-14 bites with this recipe.

Don’t forget – You can also make these into patties and cook them in a pan with a few tablespoons of olive oil.  Thought I had a picture of them fried up but cannot seem to find it.  Will keep looking…

Homemade Baked Beans (literally from scratch)

March 11, 2012 § 5 Comments

Homemade Baked Beans

I recently came up with this recipe for a few really good reasons.

First and above all foremost, I love baked beans. Always have. There is something incredibly good about eating a bean that has been steeped in maple syrup and brown sugar for hours. They almost taste like candy to me.

Second, I decided to BBQ up some pork spare ribs for dinner tonight.  Baked beans are the perfect side dish to any Sunday night BBQ, and are especially good with ribs.

And finally, the real reason I created this recipe…fiber. Yes, it is true.  Not a very glamorous reason; however, it really is the truth.  My family needs to eat more fiber and these beans definitely satisfy that need. One thing to note: These baked beans are some of the best tasting fiber in town – Guaranteed!

If you have any thought in your head about cooking beans from scratch you will need to start by soaking 1 lb of great northern beans in water overnight (8 hours).  What?  I know! Overnight?  Who thinks that far ahead or can remember it do it before heading off to bed when you are tired from a long day?  Not me!  Never fear, a shortcut is here:

In a large pot, add the beans, 8-10 cups of water and salt.  Bring water to a boil.  Boil for around 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 1 1/2 hours on the stove.  Now they are ready to use.

While the beans are softening, cook 3-4 slices of bacon until crisp.  Drain on a paper towel.  Chop into small pieces.

At this point, drain the beans but reserve all the cooking liquid.  You will need this liquid for cooking the beans.  Put the beans into an oven safe baking dish with a lid.  Add the prepared sauce (ingredients below), bacon, and 1 cup of reserved liquid to the beans.  Stir, cover and place in a preheated 300 degree oven.


  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Bake the beans covered for 3 1/2 – 4 hours at 300 degrees.  Check on them at least every hour and stir.  Add reserved liquid as needed to keep beans moist while cooking.  Remove and serve the crowd.  They will be pleased – very, very pleased.  Enjoy!