Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Pie Cake

Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Pie Sheetcake

  • Servings: 8+
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: Kp Clark


  • 1 Box Yellow Cake Mix
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Cup Whole Milk
  • 1 15oz Can Pumpkin
  • 1 Tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice

Caramel Glaze

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Half and Half (or milk)
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Pecans(optional)


  1. Preheat Oven to 350°
  2. Grease and Flour a 9 x 13 cake pan.
  3. Prepare Caramel Glaze in a Saucepan. Melt butter and add rest of ingredients. Bring to a boil.
  4. Let the Caramel boil for 3 minutes and then remove from heat. If adding pecans do so now.
  5. In a large bowl or mixer prepare cake mix according to box instructions using milk instead of water.
  6. Add the can of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice(may substitute 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg); mix until combined.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes until cake rises and feels firm. (Do not over cook!)
  8. Pour the Caramel glaze over the warm sheet cake, spread and let cool.
  9. Serve warm or cold topped with whipped cream. Enjoy!

This is a very moist cake and I usually keep it in the refrigerator. My kids love this topped with whipped cream.

Crispy Onion and Swiss Half Sliders

I came upon this concoction purely by accident. They are quite delicious and there are so many variations that you could do depending on your own likes (Add ham or bacon bits—delicious!!). And no they are not  healthy but everything in moderation—right? You could use light mayo if you can tolerate it—more power to ya! The beauty of these gems are in the sweet slider buns. By all means you could do the larger version if you so choose. I prefer things in bite size fashion.


Crispy Onion and Swiss Half Sliders

12 ct  Sweet and Soft Slider Buns

1 Pkg  Swiss Cheese Slices

1Pkg  Crispy Onions

1c. Mayonnaise

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

1/2 c. Sliced Green Onions

Honey Mustard (optional)

On a large cookie sheet lay slider buns split open.  In a small bowl mix 1c. Mayo, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 c. Green onions.  Spread Mayo mixture on to all the buns. Top each with crispy onions and then the swiss cheese slices. Place under broiler  for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.   I like to drizzle a little honey mustard on top. Voila! Easy appetizer for a crowd.

Five Seconds of 50 Songs

So I can’t take credit for the title of this post. My brother in law coined the phrase in response to my husband’s issue of only being able to listen to a few seconds of a song before changing it.  At the time I said, ” There it is! Our billion dollar idea!”  “Only play the best parts of your favorite songs!”  Ofcourse, we were just laughing and joking listening to music and maybe karaoking here and there. Our garage party nights at their house are some of my favorite nights.

Fast forward a couple weeks to the Sugar Grove Corn Boil. This is one of my favorite weekends of the summer. If you knew me that might surprise you! I am not a fan of crowds, I detest them.  But somehow at this event no matter how packed it is I am totally chill.  I can’t explain it. Maybe it’s the people who all feel like me…that you have stepped back into a simpler time when people were more kind and easy going.  I am not sure what it is but I truly look forward to the kids riding the rides, food, drinks and good music.

The year that hooked us on the music was the year that Hairbangers Ball was playing the Saturday night show. It was the best thing I had heard in a long time! We were hoping the next year they would be back but no luck. Hairbangers Ball seemed to take off and began traveling all over the state. Which if you have the chance, and you like 80’s hair bands, you must go see them!!

So this particular Saturday I wasn’t quite sure who was playing the 7pm time slot but I can’t say I was too excited about it. That is until they started playing. It was upbeat, fast paced and the crowd was eating it up!!! The group was called Semple Band.  In a gist, they were doing what my husband was doing a few weeks before, playing the best parts of many favorite songs. Although, Semple was much better at blending it all together believe me.  They were so fantastic, that we  were already trying to plot when we could see them again.

So once again, a day late and a dollar short on the billion dollar idea thing, but if you like music like we do go check out these bands. You won’t regret it!

Cleatless with Blisters

Here goes my rant. Normally this is not in my nature but I am so frustrated trying to find football cleats for my son. I have searched the internet high and low to no avail. About a month ago we stopped at a large sporting goods store hoping and praying, that they might have something that would fit. This is ofcourse nothing new to us, my son just might have the widest paddles(saw someone post this and I loved it) in the world. We found a size 15 wide and we were ecstatic! He loved them and thought they were so comfortable…until he actually started practicing in them.

The problem is that he needs extra wide. Where are these cleats? I mean come on…what do those large lineman wear in college or the NFL. Is there some secret cleat shop that caters only to them? My son now has the most painful blisters…which aren’t just blisters…they are blisters on top of blisters! I really wasn’t sure that was possible but trust me it is! I ofcourse said, “No pain, No gain.”  Which made him wince more. The truth is that he shouldn’t have to suffer. I spent all morning searching all the big footed shops I could find on the internet and found nothing. I would love to hear from some wide paddled people out there… where do you find these cleats?

Saying goodbye to handwritten letters.

Last night my son, Drew, was finishing up a journal entry for school and wanted us to read it.  My older son grabs it and begins to read out loud in a voice and manner that only a big brother knows how to do. He had us all cracking up and I wondered if my journal entries from school would be as entertaining.  There began my hunt in the basement for the box that Mom and Dad had given me years ago with all my stuff from school. Amazingly I didn’t have to dig to deep for it. There it was my 5th grade journal. Covered in smelly stickers and declarations of my love for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  I was shockingly surprised that a Mead spiral notebook hasn’t changed much in 30 years.

I began to read what I had written and it was like I time warped back to 1985. Everything I wrote about I had forgotten, but still remembered? How cool it was to imagine me sitting at my desk looking at the chalkboard for our daily journal prompts. All the kids in the room quiet and reflecting on a topic and what it meant to them. I was surprised at how adult some of my thoughts were. Who knew adults like to drink “Gin Atomics,” (which was on my list of items for the best Thanksgiving meal ever). It had me thinking about my own kids and how I just couldn’t imagine those thoughts in their little brains. It was definitely eye opening for me to realize they pay attention to way more than I thought they did. Albeit, there were a lot of childish thoughts too…more age appropriate and naive.  I can only imagine what a treat all those journals were to read for our teacher.

The kids of course wanted to see my handwriting and how horrible it was. So I handed it over to them and much to their dismay not only was the handwriting great but it was in cursive. They couldn’t read it very well! What a shame they don’t learn the beauty of writing in cursive. It is an art, and I guess as the handwritten word slowly disappears so does the need to learn it. I still deep down wish it wasn’t this way. There is something so special about reading a handwritten letter that they will never know. I am so happy the schools have not taught typing early so I can treasure their handwritten stories. Imagine if the Declaration of Independence was on a typed piece of paper; wouldn’t it seem cold and unfeeling? Handwriting has a way of connecting you to the person who wrote it. It truly is something to be treasured.

I have saved several things people have written to me over the years. I enjoy reading them again and again. I still have the letter my father wrote to me when I was homesick at college, the “poems” my friend Mendy sent me which always made me smile, birthday cards galore, the sweet letters my husband wrote me while we were dating. The list goes on and on. Maybe I am a pack rat but I am so happy that I saved these things. I wish my kids knew what it was like to see a letter to them in the mailbox. It is definitely a different feeling than getting a text or email. I think my generation may be one of the last to know. Thinking back I wish I would have done something cool like written my kids letters every year on their birthday and mailed it to them. Well, I guess I will save that one for my grandkids if we still have mail service. It sure has me wondering what our methods of communication will be by then, hard to imagine.

Burlap Christmas Wreath

I have just discovered I have a new skill! We can add wreath-maker to my list of accomplishments. Truth is that I absolutely hate buying wreaths. They are always expensive and they are never what I like. I just knew there had to be something out there I would like so as usual I went to pinterest to check it out. I absolutely fell in love with a burlap version I saw on there.  Simple, natural, rustic…all the things I love in a wreath. Well I had kept that wreath in the back of my mind for a good month thinking I would finally get my act together and attempt one before the holidays.

As football season drew to a close and we prepared for our end of season party I was trying to think of something really nice to give to all our team moms. I wanted to give them something more heartfelt than just a gift card— I wanted them to know how much I appreciated all that they did for our team–and they did alot! I thought what could be better than something homemade?  Of course 1 day before the party I remember the burlap wreath. I hurried out and bought all the supplies I would need at Michaels and raced home to begin my marathon wreath making session.

Once home I pulled up the you tube video on how to make the darn thing and as usual my phone dies. I go get the computer and it is uploading new updates…so I turn to the ipad and it too was not working. That’s my life. I ended up watching one video and so I thought how hard could it be? After several attempts at trying and frustrated I just decided to give it a go…just make the damn thing!  Well after about 30 minutes of weaving burlap in and out of the wire form I decided it didn’t look half bad! I whipped out 2 wreaths in about 3 hours…it was a miracle. Beside sore fingers (who knew burlap was so rough) I was just thrilled!

I decorated each one with Christmas greenery and berries and a letter monogram. Now this is something I would hang on my door. I have yet to make myself one because I just can’t wait to make these as Christmas gifts for my family. I now just might have a new profession! Wreaths anyone? I am now taking orders!


Apple Graham Bette

Apple Graham Bette

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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A traditional apple dessert with a graham twist, named after my grandmother

Credit: Kp Clark


  • 5 Cups Sliced Apples ( I like Granny Smith)
  • 1/4 Cup Orange Juice
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tsp. Salt
  • 1 Stick of Butter cut in to squares.


  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
  • Caramel Sauce
  • Vanilla Ice Cream


  1. Preheat Oven to 350°
  2. Peel and slice 4 cups of apples and mound in a deep dish pie plate.
  3. Pour 1/4 cup of orange juice over the apples.
  4. In a stand mixer add the flour, graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and butter(add pecans if using), mix till it becomes crumbly.
  5. Pour crumble mixture over the top of apples. Spread out evenly. Place pie plate on cookie sheet.
  6. 6. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes depending on oven(less for convection). Bette should be done when the topping is brown and the apples are bubbling.

Serve warm with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a scoop of ice Cream.

Jack’s Hot Corn Dip

Jack's Hot Corn Dip

  • Servings: 8+
  • Difficulty: Easy
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You can't stop at one bite!

Credit: Kp Clark


  • 3 15 oz. Cans Corn drained
  • 1 4 oz. Can Diced Green Chiles
  • 2 Whole Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Adobo Sauce(add more if you like it spicy!)
  • 1 Tsp. Taco Seasoning or Cumin
  • 1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1 Cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 Cup Sour Cream
  • 2 Cups Cheddar Cheese grated(reserving 1/2 cup)
  • 1 Cup Monterrey Jack Cheese grated


  • 1/2c. Diced Tomatoes
  • 1/4c. Chopped Cilantro
  • 1/2c. Sliced Green Onions
  • Tortilla Chips


  1. Preheat Oven to 350°
  2. In a large bowl mix all ingredients together except for 1/2 cup of the grated Cheddar.
  3. Spread into a 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle on the remaining 1/2 cup of cheddar.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes with convection or 30 minutes regular bake; the edges will be brown and bubbly.
  5. Let Cool slightly and then top with Tomatoes, Cilantro,and Green Onions.
  6. Serve Immediately with Tortilla Chips.

If you are traveling with this dish do not put the garnish on before. Put them in Ziploc baggies and add to dish before you serve it. I learned the hard way that the cilantro will wilt and it does not look as pretty! I also freeze the Chipotle peppers I don’t use for later. Enjoy!

Chipotle Baked Bean Chili

Chipotle Baked Bean Chili

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Sweet and Smoky Twist on Traditional Chili.

Credit: Kp Clark


  • 2 lbs. Ground Beef drained
  • 1 Med. Onion diced
  • 2 Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce diced
  • 2 Tbs. Adobo Sauce
  • 1 Pkg. Chili Seasoning
  • 1/2 Pkg. AuJus Seasoning
  • 1 Lg. Can Baked Beans
  • 1 Lg 28oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 Can of Water (I use the tomato can)

Optional Toppings

  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Sliced Green Onions
  • Corn Chips


  1. In a large pot, brown the ground beef with diced onions and drain.
  2. Add the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce and seasonings.
  3. Stir until combined.
  4. Add baked beans, crushed tomatoes and can of water.
  5. Let the chili simmer on the stove for 30 minutes on med-low heat.
  6. Serve the chili with the optional toppings.

I usually end up adding more water as the chili simmers and cooks down on the stove.
I like my chili a little on the thinner side. Enjoy!

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