Best-Ever Caramels

(from Janet Hiemstra)

2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar

1 c. light corn syrup

1 c. heavy cream *

1 c. milk

1 c. margarine or butter

Optional - Chocolate caramels - add 3 squares unsweetened chocolate

1 t. vanilla (or 1 T., if preferred)

1 c. nuts, break by hand (nuts are optional)

* Can use 2 c. evaporated milk instead or 2 c. skim milk - the caramels just aren't as rich, but I never notice!

Range top directions - Combine sugars, corn syrup, cream, milk, and margarine (chocolate, optional); cook slowly, stirring occasionally, to firm ball (248 degrees).

Remove from heat; add vanilla and nuts (optional); stir gently to mix. Pour into generously buttered 8x8x2 pan. Cool (4 hrs. at least). Turn pan upside down and turn out caramels. Cut into squares and wrap.


Pecan Sandies

(from Better Homes and Garden Cookbook)

1 c. butter or margarine

1/3 c. sugar

2 5. water

2 t. vanilla

2 c. flour

1 c. chopped pecans

Cream butter and sugar; add water and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and pecans; chill 3 or 4 hours. Shape in balls or fingers.

Bake on ungreased cookie sheet in slow oven (325 degrees) about 20 minutes (or until lightly browned on the bottom). Cool slightly; roll in confectioners' sugar. Makes 5 dozen.


Carrot Cake

(The Picnic Basket - New Hope)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

4 eggs - Beat in a large bowl until frothy.

1 1/2 c. sugar - Beat in a little at a time and then beat mixture

until it is light and lemon colored.

1 1/2 c. vegetable oil - Beat in gradually.

Sift together in a bowl and fold into the egg mixture in batches:

2 c. flour

2 t. cinnamon

2 t. baking powder

2 t. baking soda

1 t. salt

Fold following ingredients into above mixture:

3 c. grated carrots

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Divide the batter among three (3) well-greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans; bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the layers cool in the pans on racks for 15 minutes, then turn them out onto the racks, and let them cool COMPLETELY.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. (1 stick) margarine, softened

1 lb. confectioners sugar, sifted

Cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Blend in: 1 c. WELL-DRAINED crushed pineapple

1 t. vanilla

Split each cake layer in half horizontally. Spread the layers with a thin layer of the icing, stacking them on top of one another. Spread the remaining icing on the top and sides of the cake.

Chill the cake for at least 1 hour. You can store in the refrigerator for a week or so. (The cake does freeze okay; it gets more moist but still tastes great! You can also wrap in individual slices and freeze.) ENJOY!!!

OR you can bake the batter in a 9 x 13 pan and use the following proportions for frosting: 3 oz. Cream cheese, 1/2 c. margarine, 1 t. vanilla, & 2 c. powdered sugar. Frost cake when cool.

Janet Hiemstra


Spinach/Ricotta Cheese Shells

Great served with a salad for lunch or dinner.

1 T. plus 1 t. margarine

1 T. plus 1 t. flour

1 c. skim milk

1/4 c. canned ready-to-serve chicken broth

1/4 t. salt

Dash of white pepper

Dash of ground nutmeg

2 c. part-skim ricotta cheese

1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained

(about 1 cup)

2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 t. garlic powder

1/2 t. salt

1/8 t. pepper

Dash of ground nutmeg (omit of using tomato sauce rather than

white sauce)

15 uncooked jumbo shells or 8 uncooked manicotti shells, cooked

according to package directions and drained

2 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded

In small saucepan heat margarine over medium heat until bubbly and hot; add flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Reduce heat to low; gradually stir in milk and broth. Continue to stir and cook until mixture is smooth; add salt, white pepper, and nutmeg; let simmer on low, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened, 5 to 10 minutes.

While mixture is simmering, in medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, spinach, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, mixing well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In bottom of 13x9x2-inch flameproof baking dish spread 1/3 cup sauce. Fill jumbo shells or stuff manicotti shells. Arrange shells in dish; top with remaining sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella.

Cover dish and bake until shells are heated through, 20 to 25 minutes. Turn oven control to broil, uncover pan, and broil until cheese is melted and lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Variation: Prepare stuffed shells as directed. Rather than making white sauce, use spaghetti sauce. Put 1/3 cup spaghetti sauce in bottom of pan. Fill with stuffed shells. Top each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake until shells are heated through and cheese is melted.

Enjoy! Janet Hiemstra


Egg-Cheese Strata

(Company Strata)

Assemble the night before use.

12 slices bread (white or Italian)

1-10 oz. package chopped broccoli, thawed and drained

1 c. cured ham, cubed

12 oz. medium or sharp Cheddar cheese, cubed

Mix together in blender:

6 eggs

3 c. milk

1/2 c. chopped onion

1/4 t. dry mustard

1/2 t. salt (I omit when I use ham)

1/2 t. pepper (optional)

Cut crusts off 6 slices of bread, slice diagonally, and set aside for the top of the casserole. Save crusts. Cube the other 6 slices and tear up crusts. Place evenly in greased 9" by 13" pan.

Evenly layer the broccoli, ham and cheese.

Place the 6 remaining slices of diagonally sliced bread in two rows on top of other ingredients.

Pour the milk mixture over the contents, being sure to soak each piece of bread on the top. Cover with aluminum foil and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, 55 minutes or until set and lightly browned. (It bakes like a souffle; be sure it is done in the middle). Cut in squares and serve. Serves 8-12.

Variations: You can use bulk sausage, fried and drained, instead of ham. Use your imagination for other variations.


Omit the ham and use two packages of chopped broccoli. You can also increase the onion. Add sliced mushrooms.

ENJOY! This is a wonderful breakfast, brunch, or main meal casserole.

Janet Hiemstra


Mrs. Schultz' Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup margarine or shortening

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup white sugar

2 eggs

1 t. vanilla

1 t. soda

1/2 t. salt (optional)

1.5 cups flour

2 cups oatmeal

1 cup chocolate chips or M & M's (or less)

1 cup corn flakes (or chopped nuts)

mix ingredients, drop desired amounts on cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 7 minutes

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