Hello Honey, Hello Sweetie, Hello Dolly

Hello Dolly

Called Hello Dollies, this multi layered cookie bar is a winner. Layer as many as eight ingredients and you’ve made stack after stack of sweet goodness. This cookie bar is a fun and easy confection to make and will stay in your go- to recipes for a lifetime….as it has mine. Just layer or sprinkle one layer after the other…..easy-easy-easy.

Using a casserole dish, the first layer is melted butter, the second is graham cracker crumbs and then let your imagination take over: Think raisins or dried cherries, chocolate and/or white chocolate chips, coconut, butterscotch chips, pecans or almonds or walnuts or maybe all three. Any or all of these combos make a great sweet.

Whether you call them Hello Dollies, Hello Honey’s or even Hello Sweeties, I bet everybody luvs them.


  • ½ C melted butter or margarine
  • 1 ½ C graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/3 C sweetened coconut
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 C mini marshmallow
  • 1 C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 C butterscotch chips
  • 1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
  1.  Using a 9 X 13 casserole dish, melt the butter and evenly pour over the bottom of the dish.
  2. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter.
  3. Layer each ingredient separately. It is important not to mix the layers.
  4. Drizzle the condensed milk over all the ingredients.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until golden.
  6. After cooling remove the confection to the refrigerator for ingredients to harden.
  7. Cut into squares after cooling completely.



Tropical Island Chicken Salad


Island Tropical Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Imagine yourself sitting on a sun drenched deck of an uber modern five star resort overlooking the cool waters of the Caribbean. You are sipping a crisp glass of white wine, maybe Pinot Grigio and the server has set down a plate of the freshest and most colorful fruit you have seen in a long while. Topping the fruit are tender slices of chicken breasts and the server is drizzling a creamy orange dressing over all.

Wake up! Sounds good doesn’t it? It “is” extremely good and it doesn’t disappoint. I know it is just a salad; but trust me it is lite, refreshing and delicious. It is perfect for a summer afternoon or dinner entree;  when face it, you would rather be at that resort!   

Tropical Island Chicken Salad and Vinaigrette


  • Curly leaf or Romaine Lettuce
  • Grilled or roasted boneless chicken breasts strips or grilled or boiled shrimp
  • Red bell pepper julienne
  • 4 scallions chopped (white and green part)
  • ½ C sliced avocado
  • Mandarin oranges
  • ½ C fresh pineapple
  • ½ C cantaloupe or honeydew
  • ½ C watermelon
  • Dried cranberries or fresh cherries


  • ¼ C fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 3 T white wine vinegar
  • 1 ½ t dry mustard
  • 2 T sugar
  • ¼ t sesame oil
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • ¾ C canola oil
  1. Combine orange juice, vinegar, dry mustard, sugar, sesame oil, and salt in a blender until thick.  Blend until sugar is dissolved.
  2. With blender running on low, slowly drizzle in oil, mixing until just combined.
  3.  Store dressing in fridge until ready to use. It can be prepared a day or two
  4. Layer the torn lettuce with chicken or shrimp, mandarin oranges, red bell pepper, green onions, all fruit  and dried cherries or cranberries.
  5. Drizzle with dressing.

Recipe courtesy of Lynda Mahana



Savory biscuits to serve with cocktails

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuit

Looking for a tidbit to serve with cocktails this summer?  Two recipes that satisfy and stimulate the palate before dinner are both spicy and delicious. Love both over at our house.

The cheddar chili biscuit is both sweet and hot with jalapeno peppers and a hint of sugar.It is a cross between a savory cookie and a biscuit.  Caraway seeds and pecans give the next biscuit its unique flavor. Make a batch of either… or both plus some extras to freeze for the next time company drops in. Experiment with different cheeses in each recipe for variety. Either one of these recipes is excellent and is a perfect amuse bouche.

Cheddar Chili Cocktail Biscuit  

Recipe shaped into a log to pop in the fridge for an hour before cutting and baking


  • 1 C butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 2 ½ C  flour
  • 1 C grated sharp cheddar cheese at room temperature
  • 1/2 C Jalapeno chili,  seeded and minced
  1. Use an electric mixer and cream the butter and sugar together until smooth.
  2. Slowly beat in the flour until it is fully combined and is an even consistency.
  3. Mix in the cheddar cheese and minced jalapeno pepper.

    Biscuit ready to pop in the oven on parchment paper covered baking sheet.. Cut log into 16 pieces.

  4. Divide the cookie dough in thirds. Roll each portion into an 8 inch log. Chill the logs in the fridge for 2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven for 350F.
  6. Cut each log into 1/2 inch slices. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  7. Bake in oven for 12 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe courtesy of Lynda Mahana

Cheese Drops

  • 2 C flour

    Cheese Drops

  • 1 t cayenne pepper
  • ½ t salt
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • ½ lb. grated sharp cheddar, room temperature
  • 1 C chopped pecans
  • 2 t caraway seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl cream the butter and the cheese.
  3. Sift dry ingredients. Add to the cheese.
  4. Fold in the pecans and the caraway seeds.
  5. Drop by teaspoonful onto parchment covered baking sheet.
  6. Bake for 18 minutes.



Pecans Revisited

Lynda's Pecan Pie

I love anything with pecans in it. As a little girl. I spent  hours getting them out of the shell with a nut cracker and separating them from the bitter part they are encased in. Ou-e nast-ee! I remember my father’s company trucks making  detours on their  route to Morgan City, La., stopping at the  Morgan City Bakery to pick up pecan pie tarts just for me.  I wonder if the bakery is still in business. They were the best.

I don’t know if the pie  recipe that follows is the same; but it is pretty darn close. I have made this pie for  years and when you warm a slice and add a scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream on top, you are in for a real treat.

Pie recipe

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C sugar
  • ½ C Dark Karo syrup
  • 2 T butter softened
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 C pecans (1 C chopped-1 C whole)
  • 1 prepared pie crust (prefer Betty Crocker deep dish)
  1. Mix all the ingredients together using only one of the cups of chopped pecans
  2. Pour into an unbaked pie crust
  3. Cover the entire top with the whole pecans
  4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

My infatuation with pecans is peaked again every time I come across a new recipe. This one is really easy and a great pick-up dessert when friends pop in.  Freeze what you don’t use without the cream topping and pull out when needed.

    Pecan Pasties
  • 1 C sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 11 graham cracker squares crushed
  • 1 C chopped pecan
  • ½ t almond extract
  • ¾ t vanilla
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • 1 C whipping cream
  • 3 t powdered sugar
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a bowl beat eggs with baking powder.
  3. Slowly add sugar and continue beating until stiff.
  4. Carefully fold in graham cracker crumbs and pecans.
  5. Add extracts.
  6. Heavily butter mini muffin tins
  7. Pour batter in tin to ½ full.
  8. Bake tarts in the oven for 8 minutes or until tarts start to rise.
  9. Chill for 4 to 5 hours.
  10. Before serving whip cream with sugar and dollop over tarts. Without the whipped topping, the tarts freeze well



Cool Summer Corn Salad and Family Fun

Summer Corn Salad

It is too hot this summer to be in the kitchen; so we all packed up and went to a local park for a really fun outing. We barbecued chicken and grilled corn and played on the swings. Some played volleyball and others just dangled their feet in the lake.   We brought strawberry daiquiris and soda for the kids and it was truly a lazy, fun and memorable day.

Family having fun being together!


I had recently made this easy corn salad and knew it would be perfect for our barbecue; so I made the dressing at home and chopped the other ingredients needed. All that was left was to grill the corn on the park’s barbecue pit.  This delicious side accompanied some really tasty chicken, followed by cupcakes and a big juicy cold watermelon. What more can anyone ask for?  What a perfect day surrounded by family when everybody is happy!

Corn Salad

  • 2 C fresh grilled corn (frozen whole kernel corn may be used)
  • ¾ C cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
  • 1 C diced red onion
  • 3 tomatoes chopped
  • 6 scallions, chopped into 1/4-inch segments
  • 3 T sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • ¼ C red wine vinegar
  • ½ C salad oil
  • 3 T chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Combine corn, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and scallions in salad bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, blend sour cream with salt, pepper, vinegar, oil and chopped cilantro.
  3. Add sour cream mixture to corn and toss gently to coat.
  4. Chill and serve in large bowl, family style.



Comfort Food Medley

Comfort Food Medley

Who doesn’t love a fat juicy steak?  In the comfort of our home, relaxing and eating really good food is one of the pleasures of life; and that evening the pleasure was all ours.

We started with a traditional wedge salad; and for sides, we roasted tomatoes, potatoes and portabellas. We wilted fresh spinach in a wee bit of garlic butter and prepared to cook the 2 inch strip we had chosen. We seasoned it with a lot of S&P and seared it on all sides. Covered the top with a ton of fresh garlic and put it in the broiler till it was medium rare. Sound good?  When just done we removed the steak from the broiler and  let it rest for five minutes so that the meat could contract and trap all those delicious juices.

Iceberg wedge salad and dressing

  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ½ C sour cream
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • ¼ t pepper
  • ½ C blue cheese
  • ¼ of a head of iceberg lettuce per person

Roasted potato cubes

  • 6 Yukon Gold or Russet potatoes
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 t seasoned salt
  • 1 t ground black pepper
  • 1 t granulated garlic

Roasted tomato with Parmesan

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes
  • 1T EV olive oil
  • 1 T Kosher salt
  • 2 T Parmesan grated

Garlic kissed spinach

  • 2 bags fresh baby spinach
  • 2 T butter
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped
  • Salt and pepper 

 Baby portobella mushrooms

  • Salt and pepper
  • EV olive oil



Explore all your senses

It is not food that I write about today. It is just something I wish to share: it is something good and something to make you feel good, as it does me. My husband introduced me to the music of Gato Barbieri many years ago; but my head was somewhere else at the time. Maybe it was rearing my children, or the thousands of hours I spent volunteering or working at my store or maybe I just didn’t take the time to just sit back and just be. To enjoy the really simple things in life that had been there all along and I just didn’t see; because I was way too busy being…. me.

Is it age? Is it the wisdom gained from the experiences of life? Of course I know it is all that. And now, simply sitting with my husband in a movie, sitting on a beach and gazing at the ocean, relishing the antics of my beautiful grandchildren, eating a snow ball and yes listening to this music and letting it take me to a million places in my head….is exactly where I want to.. be.

I have rarely thought about how music made me feel. This song has had that effect on me and I hope it will for you. The song written by Santana and performed on this video by Gato Barbieri is from the album Europa and the song’s title is Caliente. And if nothing else this song is… hot!!! Listen and feel…it is sensual, it should move you. It’s uplifting and it is downright sexy! Have a glass of wine and listen and if it doesn’t do it for you the first time…just listen again. Enjoy. Click the link below.

Caliente by Gato Barbieri

Leandro Barbieri, known as Gato Barbieri, is an Argentinean jazz tenor saxophonist and composer who rose to fame during the free jazz movement in the 1960s and is known for his Latin jazz recordings in the 1970s.



The Casino on my Mind

I had been looking forward to a break from reality?  We had been working six days a week for the last six months and my recurring thought was,” if I have to go back to work  tomorrow, I’ll go crazy.” I wasn’t looking for an escape… I was looking to “es”CAPE”! After a little thought, I found the answer. My  pleasure would be to enter the world that never sleeps:  a world where the mind doesn’t have to think., and all you have to do is push a little button and with a wee bit of luck all your monetary dreams can come true.

Hold on, don’t get too excited:  I exaggerate; but in the scheme of things, if you are looking for a place to really unwind this is a place to consider. Tunica Mississippi is such a place.

This small city, located by car a short hours from our home or an hour by plane, offered multiple places to unwind and rejuvenate the mind.  And as you might have guessed, the places are called casinos. A couple of weeks ago that is exactly where we went.

The trip was an adventure. On the way we stopped to fill-up the car at this quaint little gas station. Not only did they sell gas, chips, candy. Lottery tickets and sodas; but somebody in this little town made individual pies in every flavor imaginable.  Then I spied homemade ice cream while I kept eying those mini pies that looked so good. I wanted to buy every one of them.  I decided on a scoop of black walnut ice cream and a coconut pie. Heaven in my mouth!

Gamble! I luv it…Slots, love them!  Couldn’t wait to waste those $100 dollar bills, I had worked so hard to make. What a wonderful addiction!  Kidding again!… My cousin from Memphis used his influence and got our hotel room “compted” and we dropped off our bags and ran down to the casino just in time for my husband to sign up for the Texas Hold em tournament .He settled in for a night of poker and I walked through the casino like a kid in a candy store deciding which beautiful machine would grab me first. I put a nice crisp bill into a slot and when I had twenty dollars left I stood up. Walking the casino again, I walked into another area that called to me. The problem was, I didn’t notice the big sign that read “high rollers only”!

So I walked up to a machine and put my twenty dollars in and punched what I thought would be a three quarter bet. Nothing happened! I pushed again…nothing happened. I pushed the light on the machine for an attendant who quickly came over He  listened to what I had to say and promptly called the floor manager. That’s when I got worried. The manager explained that I had put my money into a twenty dollar minimum bet machine and that my only option was to make the bet. I told him that I had made a legitimate mistake and I wanted to get my money back.  He told me he was sorry and that I had to make the bet. That’s when I started crying…..and that’s when he said, “Hold on lady, it’s not that bad…we’ll work it out!

He instructed me again to just push the button. I said no. He said, “PUSH THE BUTTON!” I realized I had two options at this point. Push the button and lose twenty dollars or push the button and win. I pushed the button…….and guess what? Door number one opened. I lost! That’s when this very nice man took me over to the courtesy desk and told them to issue me $20 dollars in free play script.

OK, OK that was a little dramatic, but after playing penny and nickel machines the whole night, I was a wee bit overwhelmed. I quickly left his area and looked to see how my husband was doing in the tournament. Lo and behold, he had made the final table and ended up coming in the money. He definitely made more money then I that night. I went to bed happy though looking forward to the next day.

My cousin and his beautiful wife drove from Memphis to meet us for lunch. Loved being with them.  Thanked them for getting us our room and for a delicious lunch and they left after spending a little time at the dice table. I really love this cousin. He is a real “mensch”. For those not familiar with the word, it is from the Yiddish language  and means a very good person: a person of integrity and honor. The whole family luvs him!

That night a couple from high school that I had not seen in over forty years also drove in from Memphis to have dinner with us. We had reconnected on Facebook a couple of years earlier.  Before the trip she said to me, “Remember we are old now “. I told her that old is just a state of mind and that physical beauty is fleeting and attitude is all that counts.We dined at the hotel’s steak house. They were, simply put, a totally beautiful couple and it was a wonderful evening catching up and reminiscing.

The next morning we drove home doing our own reminiscing on the past few days and agreeing we had had lots of fun. It had turned out to be everything we had wanted. It was not a glamorous getaway… yet it served its purpose; in fact, we started  planning our next “escape”. Stay tuned…..











Who doesn’t love strudel? Everyone enjoys it, but how many make it?  The process is easier then you can imagine and it tastes out of this world.

An invitation to a friend’s dinner party, introduced me to this recipe. Her dessert menu included; brownies, lemon squares, banana pudding and the most delicious strudel I had ever tasted. I asked her at which bakery she purchased it and she told me she made it. I should have known as she is an excellent cook and a gracious hostess.

She knew I was a cook  as well and wanted to know if I would be interested in baking with her for Rosh Hashanah. Of course I said yes; and on the chosen day we made brownies,  chocolate chip meringues, sour cream as well as  chocolate pound cakes and of course some very delicious strudel.

Here is a step by step pictorial on how to make this delicious pastry. Although the base is apricot, some who taste it will think it is apple strudel. Won’t they be surprised when they find out its apricot? Apple or apricot, it is so good.


  • 1 C creamed small curd cottage cheese
  • 2 sticks butter softened
  • 2 c all-purpose flour

Mix all ingredients together in a mixer. Divide into three balls and wrap and refrigerate for 24 hours.


  • 1 jar apricot preserves (or your favorite)
  • 1 ½ C sugar/cinnamon mixture
  • 1 ½ C chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 ½ c raisins

Take dough out of refrigerator to soften and begin by flouring a work surface. Roll out the first ball into a rectangle. Layer the filling in the order given in filling recipe. Don’t make each layer too heavy and leave 1 ½ inches around the perimeter to seal edges.  Roll as tightly as possible. Sprinkle rolled loaf with a heavy layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Bake on a tray lined with parchment paper at 375 degrees for 50 minutes. Three loaves will fit on one baking tray.  Slice each loaf with a sharp straight edged knife or electric knife while still warm. Cool for an additional 20 minutes. Strudel keeps best when kept in a tin. Strudel can be frozen. Enjoy.

Recipe courtesy of Helaine Sugarman

All the ingredients you will need to make this delicious pastry.


Praline Carrot Soufflé

Your guests will think its sweet potato…gosh; it looks like sweet potato… even tastes similar to sweet potato.   Does “it is good for your eyes” ring a bell?  No kidding, this recipe is indeed a winner. It covers all the basics: it is healthy; it is sweet; your guests will complement you, and visually, it has a great presentation.


  • 2 C peeled cooked Carrots
  • ½ stick butter or margarine
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1C milk or non dairy creamer
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2 heaping T flour
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • Topping
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 1/3 c flour
  • 1 C pecans chopped
  • 1/3 C Butter or margarine


  1. Scrape skin from carrots and boil until soft.
  2. Mash carrots with butter.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat eggs and mix in sugar, milk, flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Use a whisk to incorporate all.
  4. Add carrots to wet mixture and mix.
  5. Pour into a greased 9×13 Pyrex dish.
  6. Cook at 325 degrees until casserole is almost firm, approximately 35 to 40 minute or until set.
  7. Remove from oven, layer topping and return to oven for 15 minutes. This dish can be served as a casserole or spooned into a phyllo crisp for a beautiful presentation.

Phyllo Crisps- layer 3 sheets of phyllo together spreading melted butter between each sheet. Cut phyllo into 3×3 sheets.  Using a muffin tin, spray with Pam and position the three-ply squares into each muffin mold. Bake at 350 till crisp.  Cool crisps, remove and spoon carrot mixture into crisps.