Baba’s Homemade Chocolate Pudding

(Somebody was recently asking me about this recipe and because it is JUST SO GOOD I decided to repost it.)

Baba's Chocolate Pudding

My cousin-in-law, Tara, gave me her grandmother’s (baba means grandmother in polish, I think she said…) recipe for homemade chocolate pudding. She was also kind enough to say that I could share this fantastic recipe with my readers.

I am so grateful that she did because, oh my, you MUST try this recipe. You will never use boxed pudding ever again! Well, I won’t for sure. Seriously, it is not much more involved than making the “cook and serve” version of boxed pudding and tastes so much better!

Baba’s Homemade Chocolate Pudding

pudding ingredients

Forgot to put salt in the picture, but make sure you add it to the pudding mixture.

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Cocoa (1/4 – 1/2 cup depending on how chocolate-y you want your pudding. I used 1/2 cup. 🙂 )
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (Tara said the Argo brand is the best cornstarch to use, but use whatever you have on hand.)
  • 1 pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • 2 3/4 cups milk
  • Dash of vanilla (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • Pat of butter (about a tablespoon)

cookingpudding

1. Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan.

2. Bring to a slow boil, stirring constantly. (USE A WHISK!)

3. Pudding will thicken as it cooks. Serve warm or cold, as you would boxed pudding.

Tara suggested pouring the warm pudding over really good pound cake. When I served the pudding, I served it cold on the side of the pound cake with some homemade whipped cream. It was so delicious and a huge hit with the family. I also use this recipe when I make chocolate pudding pie.

That’s it! See, there is no reason to waste your money or consume artificial flavorings or colorings in your pudding every again. 🙂

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Tweetable: Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Ten Meatless Meals for Lent

Note: I am reposting this with the express intention of highlighting the COMMENTS. Lots of people chimed in with their own ideas/recipes over the last couple of years, so if you haven’t checked them out, scroll down and please do! 

10 Meatless Meals for Lent

Do you find it challenging trying to come up with meatless meals each Friday of Lent that doesn’t consist of fish or pizza? I do. And for our family, we don’t eat meat on any Friday of the year, so it can be particularly difficult to not fall into a rut of eating the same thing every week.

So, to spark some ideas for you here’s a small list of our favorite meatless recipes. (Click on the recipe to go to its recipe instructions.)

1. Macaroni and Cheese. This is my sister-in-law’s recipe. Not only is tasty, it is SUPER easy to make.

2. Lentils: lentil Soup, lentils with rice or Honey Baked Lentils. (addition: As noted in the comments, this is a DELICIOUS way to eat lentils. 🙂 )

3. Egg Balls. (Yeah,  sounds weird I know, but it is delicious! You just have to try it to believe me!)

4. Peas and Macaroni. This is my mother-in-law’s recipe.

5. 5 Can Soup. I got this recipe a long time ago from some friends in Ohio.

6. Veggie Omelet. (Or any egg dish such as fried, scrambled, souffle, etc.)

7. Potato Pancakes. This is a great way to use up leftover mashed potatoes.

8. Beans and Macaroni. Another delish recipe from my mother-in-law.

9. Ratatouille. A classic French dish but easy to make.

10. Vegetarian Lasagna. Yum!

Other meal ideas would include, eggplant Parmesan; tuna casserole; cereal or other meatless breakfast food (such as pancakes, french toast, oatmeal – who says you can’t have breakfast for dinner?!); veggie burgers and vegetarian chili.

What are your favorite vegetarian and/or meatless meals for Lent?

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Tweetable: 10 Meatless Meals for Lent

(Linked to Sunday Snippets)

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

I do not post many recipes anymore; however, today I am sharing a fantastic flourless peanut butter cookie recipe. It is a perfect Christmas cookie for us gluten-free folks. This cookie is based on a recipe that I found on a now-defunct forum years ago. It has no flour or butter and yet is light and tender and delicious. 🙂

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Recipe: Peanut butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chunks

Instructions:

  1. Beat first four (4) ingredients until blended.
  2. Add chocolate chunks.*
  3. Drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheets, two (2) inches apart.
  4. Bake 6-10 minutes in preheated 350 oven until cookies are puffed and slightly golden.
  5. Let cool on baking sheet for two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to complete cooling.

Quick Notes:

*Substitute the chocolate chunks for your other favorite flavor chips/chunks.

For a printable version of this recipe go here. (Subscribers, go to your private page to access the PDF download.)

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Tweetable: Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Peanut Butter Playdough

Deviled Eggs

The Perfect Roast

10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

*I recently shared 10 must-haves for an emergency kit and since we are in the full-bloom of the Autumn season, I thought I would re-post some Fall maintenance tips for the home. Winter is fast approaching so if you haven’t thought about preparations yet, now would be a good time to start. 🙂

10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

Now that autumn is here, it’s time to prepare for the winter months by doing a little home maintenance. Here’s a check-list of some of the important things you should remember to do (or add to your husband’s “honey-do” list 😉  )

1. Say goodbye to your summer “stuff”. It is time to clean and pack away all your summer furniture, toys, wading pools, garden hoses, etc.

2. Empty and stow away any gas-powered equipment; such as lawn mowers and grills. (Unless you are a die-hard griller and grill all winter like a friend of mine does, that is!)

3. Clean the gutters. It’s not a pleasant job but you should inspect your gutters every spring and autumn. Take the time to get rid of any debris or dirt that may have gotten caught in the gutters.

4. Remove screens. Take out all window screens and door screens. Repair screens as needed so you won’t have to fix them next spring. Put in storm windows if you have them.

5. Change all air filters. It’s best to change air filters every three to six months, so you may want to set up reminders to yourself to do this.

6. Inspect vents and heating ducts. Clean, dust and repair if needed. It’s also a good idea to make sure your heater is working efficiently, too. Better to find out you need your heater fixed now then when it 10 below!

7. Cover the second floor vents. I got this tip from my father in-law. In the winter, cover the vents on the upper floors of your house and open wide the vents on your first floor and basement. Since heat rises, doing this helps to keep your first floor a little warmer without putting the thermostat up too high. *

8. Check for leaks. Inspect all windows and doors to make sure there aren’t any drafts. If so, caulk, seal or replace strippers. You can buy an insulator kit; or, cover the windows with plastic. don’t forget to check any wires or plumbing that leads to the outside to make sure they aren’t leaking any drafts into the house, too.

9. Replace those batteries! Test and replace the batteries in all smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors and flash lights.

10. Inspect your fireplace. If you have a fireplace, consider getting a chimney sweep and have a professional inspect the fireplace to make sure it is safe to use.

Just one more:

11. Check for bugs. Now that the weather is getting cold, you may want to keep an eye out for bugs, small animals and/or other critters who may be looking for a warm place to stay! The attic, kitchen cupboards and dark basements are all places they like to hide. If need be, get an exterminator.

You turn. What’s your autumn “must-do” maintenance tip? Let us know in the comments.

*Reverse this for the summer: Cover all the vents on the first floor and basement and close all the vents in the upper floors. This will keep the upper floors a little cooler in the summer.

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Here is a printable version of this list, no opt-in required: 10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

Tweetable: 10 Must-Do Autumn Maintenance Tips for the Home

Katie’s Tuna Pie

*I am reviving this recipe because I found it while I was preparing the menu for the week. I can’t believe that I haven’t made it in such a long time because it used to be one of our favorites! I have a gluten-free pie crust in the freezer so I think I will make it tonight. 🙂

This is my go-to recipe for tuna casserole (a.k.a. pie), which I owe to my friend, Katie. It is absolutely one of my family’s favorite recipes!

: Tuna Pie Casserole
  • 2 cans tuna, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/3 cup green onion (scallions), green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 uncooked deep-dish pie shell (I usually use the ones from the frozen section)
  1. Mash tuna in small bowl.
  2. Combine mayo, milk, eggs, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat until smooth.
  3. Add tuna, cheese, onion, salt and pepper to above mixture and mix to combine.
  4. Pour into an uncooked pie shell.
  5. Bake in a preheated, 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes or until browned and set.
  6. Let sit 3-5 minutes before cutting and serve.
  • To prevent contents from pie shell over-flowing into the oven, put filled pie on a cookie sheet before putting in oven.
  • Sometimes I will put this together in the morning and then refrigerate until ready to bake off for dinner.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Mango salsa

Chewy Brownies

Tostado Beef Casserole

Guest Post: How to Make an Easter Resurrection Cake

Editor’s Note: This yummy-looking guest-recipe from Alvina Lopez is a re-publish from a couple years ago. At the time, I didn’t get the recipe published in time for Easter so I am re-posting it today, several days before Easter for those who missed it. 🙂

Easter is this Sunday, and what better way to help celebrate the rising of Jesus Christ then by preparing a resurrection cake in His honor? This delicious cake, which is appropriately in the shape of a cross, is fairly easily to make. If you’re pressed for time, substitute the homemade cake batter and frosting we have listed below for a box cake mix and store bought icing. If you don’t have steady hands, you may also opt to use a cross cake mold instead.

You will need: 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan, toothpicks, spatula, electric mixer, 2 mixing bowls, and food coloring: red, yellow, blue and orange.

Cake Batter Ingredients:

• 1 cup butter
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 4 eggs
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 4 cups sifted cake flour
• 4 tsp baking powder
• 1 1/3 cups milk

Directions: Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until it is softened. Slowly add in sugar, and continue to beat until creamy mixture develops. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Add in the vanilla extract and salt, continuing to beat the mixture. Mix-in flour and baking powder. Add milk. Continuing beating until the batter is creamy. Immediately pour batter into your greased baking pan. Spread evenly to edges. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Let the cake cool for about 5 to 10 minutes before turning it over onto a rack to cool completely. Once cooled, cut the cake into a cross shape: cut out 3 inch squares from the top two corners of the cake, and then cut out 6 x 2 inch squares from the bottom corners of the cake.

Butter Cream Frosting Ingredients:

• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 cup butter
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 2 tbsp whipping cream

Directions: In a mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter together on low speed until well blended. Increase the speed to medium and beat for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add in vanilla extract and whipping cream, continuing to beat on medium for an additional one minute. Add one drop of each food coloring and stir. Frosting should now be brown.

Frost the cake with a crumb coat first—This is a thin layer of frosting that helps capture loose cake crumbs. Then frost the cake in its entirety. Using a tooth pick (or fork), make vertical lines in the frosting to mimic grain lines—this will make the cake look like it’s made of real wood.

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Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.

(P.S. Interested in guest posting here at Simple Catholic Living? I’d love to have you! Take a peek at the guest post policy and then get in touch with me. 🙂 )

A Lemon Cookie Recipe for the Busy Woman (or Man!)

(A republish of a popular post from 2010. As many times as I’ve made this recipe, I can’t believe I keep forgetting to take a picture! One of these days...)

This cookie recipe is another one that was passed on to me by my dear friend, Rita. What makes it so easy and unique is that it’s made from a cake mix!

Recipe: The Busy Woman’s (lemon) Cookie Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 box lemon cake mix
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients together until well blended.
  2. Drop by 1 tablespoon on a greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake in a 350 preheated oven for 10-12 minutes.
  4. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. Enjoy!

Quick Notes

For the sake of this recipe I used the lemon cake mix because it is one of our favorites. You can use any cake mix you want. The chocolate or the strawberry mix works well.

You can use add-ins, such as chocolate chips, caramel or butter scotch, if desired. Try mixing and matching different cake mixes/add-ins to create different flavor combinations. Have fun with it!

(This recipe is linked to Recipe Roundtable and WFMW.

Deviled Eggs Recipe

Deviled Eggs

(Note: This is a re-post.)

My hubby loves deviled eggs and has been asking me to make them for a while, so I decided to make them this weekend. I’m all about simplicity, so I use a basic recipe; but, it’s quite good! It is based on a recipe that I found on a blog years ago that no longer exists.

With this deviled egg recipe, the ingredient measurements are approximate. It depends on how solid or “oozy” you want the filling to be.

Recipe: Deviled Eggs

Ingredients

  • 12 hard-boiled eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (yellow or spicy)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 tablespoons sweet relish
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Paprika (optional)

Instructions

  1. Peel eggs and cut in half length-wise.
  2. Carefully remove yolks and put in medium bowl, reserving the whites.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to bowl.
  4. With fork, smash and combine ingredients until smooth (adding mayo if needed for moisture).
  5. Add filling to reserved egg whites.
  6. Dust tops with paprika, if desired.

Quick Notes

  • I just used a teaspoon to fill the eggs, but if you want to make the eggs pretty, you can use a pastry bag or a cut corner of a baggie to fill them.
  • To make peeling the eggs easier, don’t use fresh eggs! Use eggs that are a at least week old and then after cooking, let them cool for about 30 minutes before peeling.
  • You can easily adjust the serving size of this recipe as needed. You can make six or eight or even three or four eggs instead of the whole dozen. Just cut or add the amount of the rest of the ingredients. Do make sure you make a couple more than you need as a back up. You never know if an egg will break when peeling or you just “have” to taste one to make sure they are okay. lol!

This recipe is linked to WFMW and Recipe Roundtable.

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes

Peas and Macaroni

Corn Pone

Yummy Peas and Macaroni Recipe

(editor’s note: This is another favorite that I am re-posting. Andrew still doesn’t like peas anymore but I still make it once in a while.)

This is anopeas and macther hand-me-down recipe from my awesome mother-in-law and a favorite in my family. 🙂 We don’t eat meat on Wednesdays and Fridays year-round ( and not just during lent), and this makes a quick and easy meatless  meal.

It also makes a good recipe for the summer since you don’t have to deal with a hot oven. 🙂

Recipe: Peas and Macaroni

Ingredients

  • 1 bag frozen peas
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 box Ditalini pasta
  • olive oil salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Line bottom of heated 2 or 3 quart pot with olive oil.
  2. Add onion and sauté until golden.
  3. Add peas and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Stir and cover pot.
  5. Simmer 20-30, or until peas are cooked through.
  6. Meanwhile, cook Ditalini according to package directions.
  7. Drain and put in bowl.
  8. Add peas and mix together.

Quick Notes

  • You may want to add more olive oil and/or salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with a garden salad and/or Italian bread for a complete meal!

(Joined to Works for me Wednesday and Recipe Roundtable.)

Other recipes you might like:

Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes

Corn Pone

Peanut Butter play-dough

Delicious Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes Recipe

(Editor’s Note: Like I mentioned yesterday, this is a re-post.)

This simple and delicious recipe is a re-working of the recipe that that my mother-in-law gave me when Michael and I were married. It is so good, and so simple to make.

Sausage, Peppers and Potatoes

sausageandpeppers

(Not the greatest picture, I know, but it gives you the idea of what it looks like.)

Ingredients:

Approx. 2 lbs Italian sausage, cut into medium sized pieces

2 green bell peppers, sliced (I often substitute red or orange bell peppers for added color/taste.)

2 onions, sliced

3-4 potatoes, peeled and quartered

2-3 granny-smith apples, peeled, cored and cut in chunks (optional)

garlic powder, oregano and basil to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Toss the sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle to taste with the seasonings. Bake for 1 – 1 1/2 hours, turning occasionally so sausage browns on all sides.

If desired, toss in the cut-up apples 20-30 minutes prior to the end of the cooking time. (The apples add a bit of sweetness to the dish, so I almost always add them.) ***You want the apples to be heated through and soft, but have some texture, so don’t put them in too early or they will disintegrate. (Trust me, I learned this the hard way!)

My family loves this recipe! With some crusty bread and/or salad, you have a complete and filling meal. My son devours this whenever I make and, as a matter of fact, will request it if I don’t make it for a while!

(Linked to WFMW, Recipe Roundtable and Recipe Swap)

(P.S. Because there are only three of us, I usually cut the recipe in half, unless I want leftovers. The picture shows the halved recipe.)

Other recipes you might like:

Peas and Macaroni

Peanut butter play-dough

corn pone