Three Cheers for Strawberry Sauce!

This easy Strawberry Sauce will be your basic go-to sauce for sweet and sassy desserts!

Strawberry Sauce

Three Cheers for Strawberry Sauce!

This versatile sauce recipe can be used with peaches, blackberries, apricots, raspberries or blueberries.  If you are making a peach or apricot sauce, just wash and peel the fruit and cut it in to chunks.  Small berries can be left whole.  You can also mix and match different fruits and add flavorings or extracts too.

This dessert sauce is great on pancakes, waffles, ice cream, cheesecake or my Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower!

I like the sauce to be smooth so I give it some extra time in the blender.  You may want to strain the sauce to remove the seeds if your are using blackberries or raspberries.  No fresh fruit?  No worries!  You can substitute frozen fruit and just defrost it in the microwave before you make the sauce.

 

Easy Strawberry Sauce
 
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This will be your "go-to" sauce recipe for all of your desserts!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of fruit puree as described in the directions below
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring such as vanilla, rum extract or almond extract
Instructions
Puree
  1. Wash and prep the fruit. For strawberries, cut off the tops; then halve or quarter. Leave small berries such as blackberries or raspberries whole. For peaches or apricots, peel ad pit the fruits, then cut into chunks. Put the fruit into a blender or food processor and process until the fruit is smooth. Note: For blackberries or raspberries, you may want to strain at this point to remove the seeds.
Directions
  1. Pour the puree into a small pan and add the sugar. Stir to mix.
  2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently so the fruit does not stick to the bottom of the pan. DO NOT BOIL.
  3. At the end of cooking time, turn off the heat and stir in the flavorings or extracts of your choice.
Notes
If the sauce is thicker than you like, you can thin it with either water.
This sauce freezes well in either small glass jars or plastic freezer containers.
You can use either fresh or frozen fruit in this recipe. If using frozen fruit, thaw before using. You can defrost the fruit in the microwave for a couple of minutes.
You can serve this sauce either warm or cold.

 

Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower Is Sure to Please!

Dazzle your friends and family with a Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower!

Fresh Strawberry Dessert

Strawberry Dessert Flower

I love to celebrate strawberry season by making strawberry desserts as often as I can!  I still like to go to Strawberry Farms every May and pick my own berries. However, even after the strawberry season has passed in Illinois, we can still find an abundance of beautiful, juicy berries in our local grocery stores and farmer’s markets.  Whether you serve my Fresh Sugared Strawberries, my Best Ever Strawberry Shortcake or create this Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower… you will not be disappointed!  This Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower is impressive enough for company but is super simple to make.  It starts with a creamy and sweet base made of just three ingredients and then the “flower” is assembled on top of the base.  I like to add some fresh blueberries for color and then top it off with my Easy Strawberry Sauce.

Fresh Strawberry Dessert Flower
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
Base:
  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 7 oz. marshmallow topping
  • 1 Tbs. mayonnaise
Strawberry Flower:
  • Fresh Strawberries, cut in half
  • Fresh blueberries
One recipe of Vickie's Easy Strawberry Sauce
Instructions
  1. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, marshmallow cream and mayonnaise.
  2. Mound the cream cheese mixture onto the center of a serving plate.
  3. Slice the strawberries in half as shown in the picture, from the tip of the berry to the stem.
  4. Beginning on the outside edge to the cream cheese mound, place the strawberries around the outside edge of the mound.
  5. Continue placing the strawberries around the circle to resemble petals. Leave a small circle in the center open and sprinkle fresh blueberries in the center.
  6. Sprinkle additional fresh blueberries over the petals.
  7. Drizzle the Easy Strawberry Sauce over the Strawberry Flower.
  8. If desired, decorate the outside edge of the plate by making dots with the Strawberry Sauce and connecting the dots using a toothpick.



If you have any of the cream cheese mixture leftover, you can use it as a yummy dip for any fresh fruit. The Strawberry Sauce is also great served on pancakes, waffles, crepes or on top of ice cream.  You can also use it to make Strawberry Milk.

On the fun side of things, I often have trivia questions in my Culinary Arts classes.  One of the trivia questions I ask is, “What fruit wears it’s seeds on the outside?”.  The answer is “Strawberries!”  Here are some more Strawberry Fun Facts!

If you want to check out some other great desserts, my friends at Positive Health Wellness have posted   “9 Cheap and Healthy Desserts For Your Family” that includes recipes such as Chocolate Panini, Oatmeal Cookie Bars and Cherry and Berry Smoothies!

Remember, “Let’s Make Life Special by Sharing Great Food With Our Family and Friends!”  Enjoy!

Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones

Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones make serving a dessert bar a snap!

Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones make serving a dessert bar a snap!

Dress these Sugar Ice Cream Cones up before the party starts and your dessert bar will be a snap to serve!

Set out a selection of ice cream flavors chilled in a tub of ice and dessert is done!

 Summer is in full swing and so is our summertime entertaining.  I love to serve an ice cream bar for dessert and my guests can help themselves.  Set out various flavors of ice cream chilled in a tub of ice along with a plate of brownies and these cute Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones.  Also offer various toppings for the ice cream such as

  • Chopped nuts
  • Shredded coconut
  • Additional decor sprinkles
  • Various flavors of syrup such as chocolate or butterscotch

These Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones are so quick and easy to make!  All you need is a package of sugar cones, some vanilla almond bark or white chocolate and sprinkles decor in whatever colors you choose.

  

Video: Sprinkled Sugar Ice Cream Cones


Kids of all ages love these cute Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones! Set out a selection of ice cream flavors chilled in a tub of ice and dessert is done!

 

 

 

Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones
 
Dressing up a dozen sugar cones before the party starts streamlines the dessert bar and kids of all ages love these!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 box of sugar ice cream cones
  • almond bark or white chocolate
  • sprinkles decor
Instructions
  1. Melt the almond bark in the microwave for 90 seconds. Stir and microwave an additional 15 seconds. Stir.
  2. Using a pastry brush, brush the melted almond bark around the top edge of the ice cream cones.
  3. Sprinkle on the decor.
  4. Set the cones on a piece of waxed paper to let the almond bark dry.

Only 3 ingredients make these Sprinkled Sugar Ice Cream Cones quick and easy!

Only 3 ingredients make these Sprinkled Sugar Ice Cream Cones quick and easy!

Melt the vanilla almond bark or white chocolate according to package directions.  I heated mine 90 seconds, strred it and heated another 15 seconds.

Melt the almond bark in a large bowl in the microwave.

Melt the almond bark in a large bowl in the microwave.

Brush the melted white chocolate onto the top edge of the ice cream cone

Brush the melted white chocolate onto the top edge of the ice cream cone

Sprinkle on the decor!

Sprinkle on the decor!

To really make the dessert bar festive, I served the Sprinkled Ice Cream Cones on a cake stand.

Serve the Sprinkled Sugar Cones on a cake stand

Serve the Sprinkled Sugar Cones on a cake stand

Remember, ” Let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gobs of Chocolate

Gobs of Chocolate

Gobs of Chocolate is one of many great chocolate desserts you can make in the crock pot!

Wouldn’t you love to make chocolate desserts like grandma used to make….but in the crock pot?

Gobs of Chocolate is just one of the many yummy chocolate desserts you can make in the crock pot!  I remember all of the great chocolate desserts my grandma used to make…and the wonderful smells that came out of the kitchen when she was cooking.  This recipe takes me back to her kitchen when I smell this gooey chocolate dessert cooking in the crock pot.  And…the best part is the crock pot does all of the work!  It cooks in only 2 hours on High so it’s also a great recipe for entertaining.  I made this last week and there wasn’t even a bite leftover!  Serve it with vanilla ice cream and get set for some WOWS!

Watch my how-to video tutorial for this recipe!

Video: Gobs of Chocolate


This chocolate dessert recipe will take you back to your Grandma’s kitchen! But..you make this in the crock pot!


 

Gobs of Chocolate
 
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Wouldn't you love to make desserts like Grandma used to make....but in the crock pot? Gobs of Chocolate is that oooey gooey chocolate dessert we all crave! So...grab you crock pot and get ready to make your chocolate dreams come true!
Author:
Recipe type: dessert
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 box Betty Crocker fudge brownie mix
  • ½ cup butter melted
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 pouch Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookie mix
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving
Instructions
  1. Spray a 4½ quart crock pot with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the brownie mix with ¼ cup melted butter and 2 of the eggs.
  3. In another large bowl, mix the chocolate chip cookie mix, remaining ¼ cup melted butter and remaining 2 eggs.
  4. Drop alternate spoonfuls of the brownie mix and chocolate chip cookie batters into the crock pot.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or until cake is set in the center.
  6. To serve, spoon cake out of the crock pot and top with big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients for Gobs of Chocolate

Gobs of Chocolate Ingredients

Mix the fudge brownie mix, 2 of the eggs and 1/4 cup butter, melted.

 

Mixing the Brownie Mix Batter

Mixing the Brownie Mix Batter

Mix the remaining 2 eggs, remaining 1/4 cup butter, melted and the chocolate chip cookie pouch.

Mixing the Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter

Mixing the Chocolate Chip Cookie Batter

Drop spoonfuls of both batters alternately into the crock pot.  

Drop spoonfuls of both batters alternately into the crock pot

Drop spoonfuls of both batters alternately into the crock pot

Cook on High for 2 hours.  Cake batter should just be set on top.  Serve by spooning the Gobs of Chocolate dessert out of the crock pot and top with big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Remember, “Let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pina Colada Fruit Dip

Serve the Pina Colada Dip in a Pineapple Boat

 

Do you like Pina Coladas?  Well, you  will LOVE this fast and easy Pina Colada Fruit Dip!

It’s summertime and everyone is starting to think about entertaining …and what a better way than with a fruit tray and this Pina Colada Dip.  Here you see my fruit tray with a Pineapple Palm Tree and this yummy dip.

Vickies Pineapple Palm Tree and Garden

Pina Colada Fruit Dip
 
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Get a taste of the tropics with this Pina Colada Fruit Dip!
Author:
Recipe type: appetizer
Ingredients
  • 1 small package instant coconut pudding mix
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 8 oz crushed pineapple with juice
  • ½ cup sour cream
Instructions
  1. whisk together the coconut instant pudding and the milk.
  2. Stir in the crushed pineapple with the juice and the sour cream.
  3. Enjoy!

Pina Colada Fruit Dip Ingredients

Pina Colada Fruit Dip Ingredients

Whisk together the coconut instant pudding and milk.  Stiur in the crushed pineapple with the juice and the sour cream.

Pina Colada Fruit Dip is fast and easy to make.

Mixing up the PIna Colada Fruit Dip

 

Fruit trays are a great way to entertain because they can be made ahead of time and and this Pineapple Palm Tree really adds some tropical whimsy to your party!  Check out my Video Tutorial on making this Pineapple Palm Tree:

This fruit tray has the pineapple from the cored pineapples I used for the Palm Tree, fresh strawberries, blueberries. and watermelon. You can use a cookie cutter to cut the watermelon into festive shapes.  I used a heart shaped cookie cutter for this fruit tray.  If you are cutting the watermelon into shapes, just cut any remaining watermelon into cubes and place at the back of the fruit tray.  Other great choices for fruit trays are honeydew melons, cantaloupes, white and red seedless grapes, and  sliced apples ( that have been dipped in orange juice).    

Remember, “Let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!” 

Vickies EASY Cream Cheese Icing

Cream Cheese Icing

Layer Cake Frosted with Vickie’s EASY Cream Cheese Icing

Whip up Vickies EASY Cream Cheese Icing for your next cake!

This is the perfect cream cheese icing!  It’s the recipe my Mom used to make.  She used it on her Red Velvet Cake, on pumpkin bread, chocolate cupcakes and more.

Be sure to use the Philadelphia Cream Cheese – regular, not fat-free.  This is important.  Some things can’t be skimped on and this is one of them in my opinion.  

Here are some of my Success Secrets for making the perfect cream cheese icing:

  • The cream cheese should be cold.  If there is any liquid in the package, drain it off.
  • The butter should be softened and at room temperature.
  •  Beat the butter with a mixer until it is super soft.  if you don’t beat it until it is creamy, you will have bits of butter clumps in your icing and you don’t want that.
  • Add the cream cheese and beat until combined – but don’t over beat.  Less is best.  Cream cheese will release liquid the more you beat it and the icing will be too runny.

Vickies EASY Cream Cheese Icing
 
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Only FOUR ingredients make up this wonderfully creamy icing.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with a mixer until creamy. Add the cream cheese and beat until combined. Mix in the powdered sugar and vanilla.

Ingredients:

Cream Cheese Icing Ingredients

Making the icing:

Whip Cream Cheese Icing Ready to Spread Cream Cheese Icing

Now you should have a perfectly spreadable cream cheese icing.

Use to frost your cake or cupcakes.

One final note:    If you have happened to over beat the icing and it is too thin or runny, just pop it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so and it should firm up again.

I wanted to show you my personalized cake plate that I absolutely LOVE!   This is etched glass and as you can see it says,” Vickie’s Bakery”  If you would be interested in ordering one for yourself,  just  email me at MakeLifeSpecial@gmail.com and I’ll be happy to send you the information.  These can be personalized with any name.

Etched Cake Stand

Etched and Personalized Cake Stand

Vickie’s Personalized Cake Stand

   

WBTV Charlotte Features Vickie

(Note:  There is a brief commercial that plays first)

WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Southern Date Pudding is a family tradition….It’s been a part of all of our family and holiday celebrations….And it’s always baked in a cast iron skillet.  This is a true Southern recipe and may not be familiar to many people.  But, the ingredients are readily available and it is so easy to make.  You can have this in the oven in less than 5 minutes.  

If you don’t have a cast iron skillet..don’t worry!  You can also make this in a baking dish.   

I visited WBTV Charlotte News Sunday Morning Show and showed how to make this easy and quick dessert.  

Southern Date Pudding in a Cast Iron Skillet

Southern Date Pudding

 

Remember, let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!! 

WBTV Charlotte


02/17/2013 6:30AM

Charlotte,
NC



Easy Apple Crisp Recipe

Looking for a quick and easy apple crisp recipe?  

This easy apple crisp recipe is YUMMY!  The typical apple crisp recipe has an oat and nut and sugar topping mixed with butter and  crumbled on top.  This Make Life Special easy version of an apple crisp recipe is topped with a Spice cake mix , nuts and melted butter to create that  crunchy sweet topping we all love. Plus, the spice cake mix really adds a great cinnamon and spice flavor to the dessert.   And, what could be easier than to use canned apple filling!  Make Life Special recipes are all about EASY so enjoy this EASY and YUMMY Apple Crisp recipe!

Apple Spice Cake Pudding Hot Out of the Oven

I recently posted my recipe for Cherry Cake Pudding.  One of my readers said she loves to make this recipe with Apple Pie Filling and Spice Cake Mix instead of using the Cherry Pie Filling and White or Yellow Cake Mix.   Thank you Victoria H. for this great idea!  Here is the recipe for an easy apple crisp recipe:

Apple Spice Cake Pudding
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cans Apple Pie Filling
  • 1 package Spice Cake Mix
  • 2 sticks of butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
Instructions
  1. Grease a 9 X 13 inch pan. Spread pie filling in bottom of pan.
  2. Sprinkle dry cake mix evenly over the top.
  3. Pour melted butter over the top.
  4. Sprinkle nuts on top.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Apple Spice Cake Pudding Ingredients 

Pour Apple Pie Filling in Pan and Top With Cake Mix

 

Pour Melted Butter over Apple Spice Cake Pudding

 

Ready for the oven….

Apple Spice Cake Pudding Ready for the Oven

 

Enjoy a big bowl of this yummy dessert right out of the oven topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel topping!

Remember…”Let’s  Make Life Special  by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!”

 

 Need a Pyrex baking dish to make this baked treat?   Here is a special price of $ 12.95 for Make Life Special

readers for a 3 quart oblong Pyrex Grab and Go baking dish with a lid.

Pyrex 3-qt. Easy Grab Baking Dish with Blue Cover, Blue Pyrex 3-qt. Easy Grab Baking Dish with Blue Cover, BlueA great addition to any kitchen, this clear glass set lets you easily keep an eye on how your cakes, breads, casseroles and more are cooking up. Versatility makes it easier for you with these cook-and-serve in one dishes that go from the oven to the table. Use them for dry or refrigerated storage and microwave reheating and enjoy maximum functionality with minimal mess. Easy Grab 3-qt Oblong Baking Dish with Blue Plastic Cover Easy carry handles Soft contours for easy cleaning Contemporary design goes from oven to table Easy Snap Lid™ allows access to handles while lid is attached Non-porous glass won’t absorb stains or odors Glass is pre-heated oven, microwave, fridge and freezer safe, & dishwasher safe Made in the USA Limited 2-year warranty on oven bakeware Limited 1-year warranty on plastic cover


Southern Sticky Date Pudding!

Sticky Date Pudding With Caramel Sauce is a Southern Treat!

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Sticky Date Pudding is an easy dessert that is great anytime of the year. This recipe has been a tradition in my family for as long as I can remember and we always bake the Date Pudding in a cast iron skillet.  Date Pudding bakes with a luscious gooey layer of caramel sauce under the tender cake that is filled with dates and pecans.  Scoop up some Sticky Date Pudding and top it off with a big dollop of Homemade Whipped Cream and get ready to swoon!

Let’s Start Baking!

This is a “Make Life Special” quick and easy dessert so grab your cast iron skillet and let’s start baking!

Sticky Date Pudding With Caramel Sauce
 
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This is a "Make Life Special" Southern treat! Grab your cast iron skillet and get ready to bake!
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups warm water and 1½ cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1½ cups flour
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
Instructions
  1. Combine warm water and dark brown sugar in a 10 inch cast iron skillet. Set aside.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour this batter into the syrup.
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. The top should be lightly browned.
  4. Serve warm with whipped cream.

Here are the ingredients…

Southern Date Pudding Ingredients

 

Combine the warm water and dark brown sugar in 10 inch cast iron skillet and set aside.

Mix the remaining ingredients together.

Mixing the Southern Date Pudding

Pour the batter into the syrup mixture and it’s ready for the oven!

Pour Southern Date Pudding batter into Cast Iron Skillet

 

Southern Date Pudding Ready for the Oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Spoon warm date pudding into serving bowls and top with a dollop of whipped cream.

WBTV

I made this dessert on the WBTV Charlotte Morning Show and the hosts LOVED it!  This is truly a taste of the South in your mouth!  And best of all, this takes less than an hour to make!

Remember…Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy! 

Note:  Photography for this recipe was provided by Martha Ruppert and we would like to thank her for a great job!

Yonanas Frozen Dessert Maker Review

Yonanas is the Frozen Dessert Maker With a Healthy Twist!

The Yonanas was one of the last items to arrive at my front door for the Holiday Gift Guide and I must say I was VERY intrigued by this little kitchen machine!  

Yonanas 

The idea of making  healthy and low-calorie “ice-cream” was almost too good to be true!  But, with the Yonanas frozen dessert maker— it can be done!  I think this is great for anyone who is health conscious, is watching their weight or just wants to incorporate more fruits into their diet.  What a great gift idea for any mother with small children!  Or for grandparents to enjoy with their grand kids!

The Yonanas frozen dessert maker makes an “ice-cream-type” dessert by blending frozen bananas with other frozen fruits.  You need to peel the bananas and freeze them for at least 24 hours before making the frozen dessert.  It is best to use bananas that are very ripe or “cheeta spotted”.  These bananas have a high sugar content and will result in a delicious “gelato-type” frozen dessert.

Peeled and frozen bananas

Here are the parts to the Yonanas machine –it’s pretty simple.

Yonanas Machine

It also comes with a Recipe Guide — just to get you started.  This little cookbook has 22 great recipes  including  Strawberry Yonanas, Coffee Chocolate Chip, Mint Chocolate Chip, PB & J, Mixed Berry and more.  For those who don’t like bananas or just want a different type of frozen dessert, you can also make no bananas yonanas using only frozen fruit.  Recipes for this type include Tropical Sorbet, Strawberry Pineapple Sorbet Melon Sorbet plus several others.

Yonanas Machine and Vickie  

I made the perfectly Peach Yonanas and the Strawberry Yonanas.  Here you see the Yonanas machine in action…..

Yonanas Machine in Action

 

I was impressed at how effortlessly this little machine processed the frozen fruit.  It was very easy to push the fruit into the Yonanas and it was not too loud.  

Here is our finished Perfectly peach Yonanas…

Yonanas Perfectly Peach Frozen Dessert 

This is the perfect way to boost your fruit intake.  It’s also fat free, dairy free and 100% guilt free.

Yonanas sells for just under $ 50.00.  Here is the link to Amazon:  Buy Yonanas

You can also buy it at QVC  and  Target.

For more information, visit the Yonanas Website….. or visit Yonanas on Facebook.

Note:  I received  a Yonanas Machine to try for this review.  No compensation was received.  These are my true and honest opinions.

 

Make Life Special
2 Cypress Rd Litchfield, IL 62056 US
Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com