Throwback Thursday: Valentine's Day Marshmallow Pops

Throwback Thursday: Valentine's Day Marshmallow Pops

This #TBT piece by Lisa Carpenter originally published February 3, 2015 on Grandma's Briefs.

What you need:

20 large marshmallows

4 ounces or so vanilla candy coating, aka Almond Bark

festive decorative cookie sprinkles

20 lollipop sticks (popsicle sticks might work equally well)

What you do:

Have kiddos poke sticks into marshmallows, all the way...

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Social media success: Cast iron skillet pizza

Social media success: Cast iron skillet pizza

Sunday dinners at my place usually feature food of a relatively traditional sort. Not massive spreads, by any means, but certainly not pizza.


This past Sunday Jim and I were busy all day (messing around on, I confess) and by the time dinner needed fixin' I didn't feel like fixing it. Yet we've resolved to cut down on our dining — and ordering — out, which meant I had to come up with something on which we could sup.

So I turned to a relatively new addition to my...

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My festive flop

My festive flop

When it comes to holiday events in my family, the tables are typically topped with an abundance of delicious yet fat-, calorie-, and sugar-laden eats and treats. So on our Christmas Day buffet table, I decided one of my dishes would be a more healthy sort of something.

No veggie tray, mind you, as peppers, carrots, celery and such notoriously go untouched. Instead, I chose fresh, fruity fare with a festive flair to impress my guests with a healthy holiday option.

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No-cookies cookie swap! Plus, GRAND Social No. 284 link party for grandparents

No-cookies cookie swap! Plus, GRAND Social No. 284 link party for grandparents

No-cookies cookie swap!

The holidays were happening at my house yesterday as a chunk of extended family gathered for a no-cookies cookie swap.

No cookies in a cookie swap? Well, our annual family cookie swap — a family tradition with my mom and my siblings for nearly 30 years — has become quite large as more and more kids of the siblings became adults and joined the swapping. Which meant the number of cookies...


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Cooking with grandchildren: Make the kitchen a classroom

Cooking with grandchildren: Make the kitchen a classroom

Each year, families spend a lot of time in the kitchen together during the holidays. These moments not only make happy memories, but can be teachable moments as well, where grandchildren can learn valuable knowledge about the world around them.

Cooking and baking can be enjoyable pastimes for grandkids and grandparents who incorporate science in fun, interactive ways, ranging from the basics of measurements to thermodynamics and beyond. 

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Sweet'N Low® Spread Sweet Holiday Cheer sweepstakes

sweet n low holiday sweeps.jpg

Sharing sweets and treats with loved ones tops my list of ways to spread holiday cheer. My traditional Spritz Cookies, loaves of Cranberry Pumpkin Bread, and stockings filled with Confetti Popcorn are the goodies I most often give.

Sweet'N Low®, America's favorite pink zero-calorie sweetener, has gotten into the giving game this year, launching a national sweepstakes to spread holiday cheer. Fans of the brand can enter for the chance to win sweet prizes not only for themselves, but for a friend of their choice, too.

The makers of Sweet'N Low® have shared with me a gift card in exchange for sharing with you the details on their sweet seasonal sweepstakes. Check it out:


Cookbook review: 100 Classic Gluten-Free Comfort Food Recipes

I've always been one to express my love to friends and family with food (among other things). Homemade cookies regularly in the cookie jar. Special treats for special folks on special days. Enjoying food crafts and activities with kids. Festive family occasions focus primarily on food.

Enter a grandchild with food allergies. Gluten issues, in particular. James, my bonus grandson courtesy his dad Patrick marrying my daughter Brianna, can't eat the majority of my long-time specialty goodies and holiday favorites. Figuring out how to express food-love to that kiddo has been a challenge. For the most part, food isn't what James and I share.

That's all about to change, courtesy 100 Classic Gluten-Free Comfort Food Recipes by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt, which I recently received from publisher Robert Rose free for review. The 224-page cookbook takes the mystery out of making savory and sweet dishes without gluten! A lifesaver for this grandma and her gluten-free grandson.



Personalized puzzles for pre-turkey patience

Personalized puzzles for pre-turkey patience

Savvy restaurant servers know the first task when waiting on customers with kids is to provide puzzles or coloring pages for entertaining the little ones while they wait for their food.

Savvy grandmothers and others can follow the same tack this Thanksgiving by providing personalized puzzles to pint-sized guests gathered at the table, awaiting their turkey.

The personalized part makes pre-turkey puzzles more fun — and it's so easily done.

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175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes by Marilyn Haugen (cookbook review)


I have a lot of cookbooks. At last count — which was just before sitting down to write this review — there are 54 cookbooks on my kitchen bookshelf. And that doesn't even include the literally hundreds of cooking magazines I've collected throughout the years.

In addition to learning techniques and tasty treats from all those cookbooks, I've also learned that it's rare to find a cookbook in which every recipe turns out fabulous. 175 Best Multifunction Electric Pressure Cooker Recipes by Marilyn Haugen, which I recently received free for review, just might be one of the rare ones. 

Click to read the review

Sweet treat made from garden goodies: Summer Squash Streusel Muffins

summer squash streusel muffins

My oldest daughter has been generously sharing with me the bounty of her garden, especially the abundant zucchini and summer squash. I have a couple zucchini dishes I regularly count on — Chocolate Zucchini Bread and Zucchini Cobbler in particular — but hadn't yet found a pleasing way to prepare summer squash as a sweet treat. (My husband eats squash only when hidden in baked goods... so the need for such was real.) I recently came across a summer squash bread that came close to...

Click for the full recipe in Grandma's Recipe Box...

Friday briefs: Squash, cinnamon rolls, and Instagram weirdos

Many successful gardeners — my daughter Brianna included — recently began seeing the bountiful fruits (and veggies) of their spring and summer labors, picking, pulling and happily harvesting this and that from their yards.

I'm not a successful gardener. I am, though, happily awaiting the right size and right time to pull and prepare the two — count 'em, two! — squash I did manage to grow in my woebegone garden of sorts.

zucchini and summer squash

Woot! I'm celebrating the wee bit of success for this black-thumbed gardener wannabe. (Truth be told: I'm pretty sure they grew only because Brianna started them for me at her house then passed along pots with the babies for me to plant and finish the job.)



It has never resonated with me when friends (and strangers and social media connections) mention eating entire containers of ice cream or cookies or bags and boxes of chocolates all on their own, being literally unable to stop themselves. Because I'm not all that in love with sweets. I've never really gotten...

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My (uneventful) week in photos

I haven't done much of anything worth writing home about about on my blog this past week. Which, in all honesty, is okay with me. Sometimes busyness and booked calendars are highly overrated (not to mention exhausting).

Even with nothing much on the agenda, though, I did manage to take — and in one case, appropriate from my daughter's Facebook page — photos of the nothing much marking my days. Following are a few such markings from my past week.

bear yard art
A chainsaw-crafted set o' friendly bears a neighbor recently...

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