Cherry Chip Candy

fullsizerender-13 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

Mom and Dad both remember their mothers making this candy around Christmas time when they were younger. Mom likes this candy because it adds color to snack tray, and dad likes it because it has chocolate. The most challenging part of this recipe has been finding the cherry chips. They can be difficult to find as it gets closer to Christmas.


Mom has a few tips to help with this recipe:

  • Stir constantly while the mixture is boiling
  • Make sure chocolate is not too warm as it is spread over the cherry layer, or the cherry layer could melt.








Easy Microwave Peanut Brittle


Last minute Christmas shopping and Christmas baking are in full swing at our house. If that is the case for you too, then you might be looking for a fast and easy last minute holiday recipe. My grandma got this Peanut Brittle recipe from one of her neighbor ladies almost 25 years ago and it stood the test of time.



Love, Emily

* Picture from


A Night of Father/Daughter Bonding & Trying Out an Old Family Recipe


Butter Crunch

Tonight mom is busy doing end of the year book work before the tax appointment. Guess when the tax appointment is… it’s tomorrow. (If you know my mom at all, you are probably not surprised by this one bit.) While mom is busy doing getting ready for the tax appointment, dad took over the kitchen with me tonight. First, we made Grandma Van Manen’s Savory Potato Cheese Soup, which is delicious and hits the spot – especially on a cold winter evening. After supper, dad really wanted to try out an old candy recipe that his grandma use to make. So, we (mainly dad) set to work making Butter Crunch candy. This candy resembles a Heath bar. We were pleased with how the recipe turned out, but did a few tweaks along the way.



Dad cooling off the candy and making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan.

Throughout the course of the evening mom could be found doing book work, which she will continue to do into the wee hours of the morning.


Love, Emily


Aunt Kelli’s Taco Dip


A week from today, we will be wrapping up our last family Christmas celebration of the year. Traditionally, we have had Christmas at Grandpa and Grandma Van Manen’s on Christmas Eve Day. Part of that tradition would always include a “coffee time” (a dutch tradition) full of lots of goodies and munchies. One of the savory munchies that is always present is Aunt Kelli’s Taco Dip. This dip is a delicious chip dip that includes both pork and beef. Beef and pork both have a large presence on our farm, so when we find a recipe that includes both, that’s just perfect!



Love, Emily

The Melt in Your Mouth Cookies: Sandwich Cremes


For years I did not know the name of this delicious cookie, so I just called it the melt in your mouth cookie. These cookies are dainty and delicious. Grandma Van Manen is the person that I remember baking these the most. They could be served on many different occasions, but if you add a little red or green frosting to them, they become very festive looking!



Love, Emily

A Day of Milestones & Puff Pillows


Today two of my close friends are reaching important milestones in their lives. My best friend, Kelly, is getting married. Kelly and Chris are both from my high school, so I am so excited to see them get married today! The only thing I am a little nervous about is the speech that I’ll give tonight. Also, my college friend and roommate, Jenny, graduates from Iowa State today. Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to Jenny’s graduation, but she’ll do great. One year, I gave Jenny a platter of Christmas goodies for her to take home to her family, and one of her favorite treats on the platter was Puff Pillows. We had plans on baking Puff Pillows together before we both left Ames;  but we never got around to it. (So hopefully this posts helps you, Jenny!)





*A couple of hints for the filling after visiting with Grandma Van this a.m.  Use all butter for filling and beat butter and sugar together for 4 minutes before adding cooled milk/flour mixture.  Add milk/flour mixture and beat another 4 minutes.  Finally, add flavorings and beat 2 minutes.


The pastries ready to be covered with egg wash and rock sugar.


Pastries about ready to go in the oven.


Pastries fresh form the oven – ready to be filled.


Slice pastries in half with a serrated bread knife and fill with filling using a pastry bag.  I prefer to use the Pampered Chef Easy Accent Decorator.


Ready to eat!  Puff Pillows freeze well too.

Congratulations Kelly & Chris and Jenny!


Love, Emily

Puppy Chow – Yum!

9 DAYS UNTIL CHRISTMAS! We are officially down to single digits in the Christmas countdown… can you believe it?

Throughout the Christmas Goodies countdown, we have already shared two snack mixes – both savory. Today I am excited to share with you a sweet snack mix – puppy chow! This puppy chow recipe is very easy and fast, so if you are like me and wait until the last minute to do things, this is the perfect recipe to throw together right before the holiday guests arrive!


snickersSnickers is a spoiled pupppy!


Love, Emily