Best Ever Cherry Bars


Whenever we have unexpected company, or just want a last-minute dessert for a meal, we pull out this never-fail recipe. I first found it in a Quick Cooking magazine when I was probably ten, and over time and much use I’ve adapted it by changing the fruit filling. Besides the classic cherry, we like peach and blueberry flavors best. Sometimes we use store-bought cherry pie filling, like the right side of the pan in the photo above, but what puts this recipe over the top is when we make the filling from scratch. We pulled the peach version from our favorite peach cobbler recipe, and the blueberry version is an adaption of a cherry pie filling that we sometimes make for it, too. Each of the filling recipes below will make enough filling for half of a 15″ x 10″ pan, so be sure to choose two fillings, or double one of them.

If that makes sense to you, please explain it to me. Thank you.

Cherry Bars

Cherry Filling:
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 cups fresh or frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed, halved
1/8 tsp. almond extract

In a large saucepan, combine sugar, water, cornstarch, and lemon juice until smooth. Add cherries. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in extract. Set aside to cool.

Blueberry Filling:

Follow ingredients and directions for Cherry Filling, substituting blueberries for the cherries, and vanilla extract for the almond extract.

Peach Filling:
2 cans (15 oz. each) sliced peaches, with syrup
1/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. cornstarch

Combine peaches, sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in saucepan. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. Boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat; set aside to cool.

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 to 3 Tbsp. milk

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the extracts. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture just until combined. Spread 3 cups of batter into a greased or parchment-lined 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread with fillings of your choice, half on one side and half on the other. Drop the remaining batter by teasponfuls over the filling. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 30-35 minutes, or until dough tests done with a toothpick. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: 5 dozen.


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Toad in A Hole (Cooking Challenge: Eggs)


Gabrielle’s chickens are laying really well right now, and we girls decided to do a cooking challenge that includes either using as many eggs as possible, or making an egg dish. We have done cooking challenges before, but they have been about cookies or cakes, not an ingredient.

The guidelines are simple, and flexible, because we are sisters 🙂

(1) There is no prize, although we do vote for the best dish.

(2) We must use new recipes, or a recipe that none of us have tried.

(3) If the dish doesn’t turn out as planned (if it is a total flop, for example) then we usually let the  person either try it again, or choose a new recipe.

Usually the challenge lasts from 1-2 weeks, or until we all get around to making our food.

I chose to make a Toad in a Hole for my entry in the challenge. Toad in the Hole is a form of Yorkshire pudding, which is generally served as a side dish; but they can also be used as a dessert.  The Toad in a Hole has sausage pieces in it, making it sweet and savory combination for a light breakfast.

I served the Toad in a Hole with butter, syrup, and blueberries for toppings. Next time I make it, I think I will make muffins or a large bowl of yogurt for a side dish since the pudding disappears really fast!

The egg part tastes rather like french toast, and the sausage is sooo good. This dish doesn’t take long to make, and it could probably be even faster if you cook the sausage beforehand.  The hardest part was definitely washing dishes!


This recipe is from the December 2015 issue of Taste of Home. Because it is only available to subscribers at tasteofhome.com, I am not sure that I should be sharing the recipe on our blog. (It is worth subscribing for though 😉 )


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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins for Breakfast


Muffins are an excellent breakfast, especially when you boil up some eggs to go alongside them : ) A long while ago I made banana chocolate chip muffins to use up some over ripe bananas. (Isn’t that the reason everyone makes banana muffins or bread?!)  I nearly burnt the underside of the muffins because the oven temperature wasn’t adjusted right. But, thankfully, I caught them in time, and we didn’t need to destroy the evidence too fast. hehe.

I love how muffins can be served as a breakfast or a dessert : )

Here is the recipe, in case the bananas sitting on your counter are getting over ripe too

Banana Chip Muffins

3 ½ cups flour

1 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup chocolate chips

2 eggs

½ cup oil

½ cup milk

2 cups mashed banana

1 large spoonful sour cream
Combine first five ingredients in large bowl. Make well in center. In a medium sized bowl, mix oil, milk, and bananas. Pour into well. Stir only to moisten. Batter will be lumpy. Fill greased muffin tins ¾ full. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes, then lower temperature to 375° and bake for 15-20 minutes.   Yield: 1 dozen jumbo muffins



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Reuben Cabbage Soup


After St. Patrick’s Day, Mom made a delicious Reuben cabbage soup to use up the corn beef that was left from sandwiches. It was amazing soup, and definitely one of our favorites now. I want to share the recipe with you even though it has been two months since St. Patrick’s Day! But you don’t need to wait until next year to make this soup, especially if you are of Irish heritage 😉

We have only made the soup once so the ingredient list isn’t perfect. At least it will give you a faint idea of how we made it though.


Reuben Cabbage Soup

1 small cabbage, chopped

1/2 pound corned beef, chopped

4 red potatoes, quartered

Chopped green-tail onion

Add chicken broth until you reach a soupy consistency (maybe 6 cups)

Season to taste with salt and pepper


Mix together and cook until the potatoes are tender.  Serve with crackers and swiss cheese.



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St. Patrick’s Day Cake and Spinach Frosting


I always get excited about a holiday the day it is here.  Although this week I knew I wanted to make something for St. Patrick’s  Day, I didn’t decide what to make until yesterday afternoon 🙂 I made a white cake from our cookbook, and the spinach frosting I found on Pinterest, of course!  The spinach juice was really easy to make, but I used our own cream cheese frosting recipe instead of using Sally’s. You know how it is, everyone has their frosting recipe!

I did add too much spinach juice to the frosting, so it turned out to be a glaze. You really can’t tell that there is spinach in the frosting, and it makes such a pretty green color.


Dinette Cake

2 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups milk

2/3 cup shortening

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

In large mixing bowl, blend all ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat 3 minutes high speed. Pour into greased and floured 13”x 9” pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350º or until tests done.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 Tablespoon soft butter

2-3 Tablespoons of spinach juice

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine cream cheese, and 2 tablespoons of juice.  Mix well; stir in powdered sugar and add extra juice if necessary.


The spring chevron napkins used in this photoshoot are available on our Etsy shop, the Country Bluebird!


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