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Thursday, February 23, 2023


    This recipe goes back a long time.....My Mom introduced these one year at Christmas.   I don't know exactly when, but she specifically noted that "my husband loves these".....and he does!  

I chose to make them for his birthday.  They're a bar cookie and the recipe uses a 9x9 pan.  So, if you're like me and you really don't want a lot of cookies in the house, this one might be the one to reach for from time-to-time.  

It's a great combination of coconut, caramel sauce and chocolate.

TIP:  I make a parchment sling and place that in my makes it so much easier to remove them from the pan. 



1/3 cup butter or margarine
1 cup flour (high altitude flour for us folks in the mountains)
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 cups flaked coconut
½ cup caramel sundae sauce
2 Tbsp. milk
2 Tbsp. flour
2 Tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
¼ cup powdered sugar

¼ cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter or margarine
1 Tbsp. milk
¼ cup powdered sugar


Cut butter into flour and sugar until particles are fine (with mixer, use low speed.  I find if I take it just to the point that the dough pulls together, it not only presses into the pan more easily, but they also come out of the pan beautifully.)   Press dough into bottom of ungreased 9x9, 10x8, or 11x7 pan. 

Combine remaining ingredients; using an offset spatula, spread the mixture carefully over crust.  Bake at 360 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown.  Cool.    While the cookies cool, make the frosting by melting together the ingredients in the microwave or on the stovetop. 

Use a knife to loosen the edges of the cookie from the sides of the pan.  Then lift the sling from the pan.  I use the "fork" method to drizzle the chocolate over the top.    Slice into 3x1 inch bars. 


recipe c/o:  Hungarian Flour cookbook (133 bar cookie recipes from the high country)

Wednesday, February 8, 2023


 I was searching for a pasta recipe that was a little different than the typical red sauce variety and decided to try this one out.  Not only was the sauce delicious, but I loved the rigatoni....those thick ribbed noodles allowed the sauce to stick to them so nicely.  I made this for a recent dinner and everyone loved it.  I added a salad before dinner and freshly baked bread with dinner and it was delicious!

I will tell you that I doubled the sauce recipe, since I love an extra saucy pasta.   It even allowed us to enjoy a second dinner (we just had to make a little bit more pasta) later in the week. 

Serves 6-8 people


16 oz. rigatoni pasta (save 1 cup water)
3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped
1 lb. ground Italian sausage
3-4 cloves garlic, minced (we opt for less)
½ tsp. crushed fennel seeds
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes 
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
salt and pepper to taste
fresh chopped parsley


1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the sausage.  Cook, breaking into small pieces, until no longer pink.  Drain grease.  
2.  Add garlic, fennel seed, red pepper and tomato paste and cook a few minutes more.  Stir in the broth and simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  
3,  Cook rigatoni according to package directions.  Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water
4.  Add the cream to the sauce and bring to a simmer.  Gradually add pasta water (I chose not to add any water since I liked the consistency just the way it was) until sauce reaches desired consistency.  Stir in ¼ cup parmesan cheese.
5.  Combine the sauce with the drained pasta.  Garnish with fresh parsley and more parmesan cheese.  

I served this family style in a large bowl, allowing each person to dish up their own bowl.   

recipe c/o:

Sunday, January 22, 2023


I made this dress to welcome my nephew's second daughter.  As with his first, I chose to handmake a dress that could possibly coincide with her 1 year birthday.  This little gal ended up fitting into it at about 8 ½ months.  Oh well!  

I also made a headband to match, which I can't resist with baby girl outfits!

The fabric was a mauve ribbed knit...can't say it was my favorite fabric to work with.  It was a little flimsy, and unruly, which resulted in a bit more handwork than I would normally include....but in the end the finished product turned out super cute!  And as we know, she was probably able to wear it just a couple times before she outgrew it.                                                                                 So happy that I was able to create a SheaMarie Designs original for her!  

Saturday, December 3, 2022


 I've always enjoyed a good ice cream cake.  In my hunt for a recipe, I ran across this recipe which used malted milk balls.  Whoa!  Gotta try this one. 

I apologize in advance for this being the only picture I captured.  I wish I would have taken one of the entire cake, because it was super pretty. 

The picture on the right is from the Betty Crocker website, which is where I found this recipe. 

It is a delicious recipe.  Know that it makes a lot....and it's very rich. So it will go a long way!  Also, there are several steps requiring freezing, so be sure to allot enough prep time.  


1 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened baking cocoa
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. white vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chocolate fudge topping
1 ½ cups (6 cups) vanilla ice cream softened
2 cups malted milk ball candies, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup chocolate fudge topping


Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bottom of springform pan, 9x3, or 10 x 2 3/4 inches with shortening, lightly flour.  In large bowl, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda,  and salt.  Add water, oil, vinegar and vanilla.  Stir vigorously about 1 minute or until well blended.  Immediately pour into pan. 

Bake *30-35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely, approximately one hour. 

Spread 1 cup fudge topping over cake; freeze about 1 hour or until topping is firm.  In large bowl, mix ice cream and chopped candies; spread over cake.  Freeze about 4 hours or until ice cream is firm. 

In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electirc mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. 

Remove side of pan; place cake on serving plate.  Top with whipped cream.  Melt 1/4 cup fudge topping; drizzle over whipped cream.  Garnish with additional candies. 


Note:  *My cake only took about 22 minutes.  

Recipe c/o

Sunday, October 30, 2022


My daughter and I fell in love with the most scrumptious almond filled croissant in Los Angeles last year and I've been on a mission to continue looking/enjoying them as I find them.   The version we had in Vermont, just wasn't the had almond flavor, but also apple in it.    

In the meantime, I stumbled across an Almond Coffee Cake recipe that included an almond filling, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I knew it wasn't going to have the flaky pastry on top, but the almond filling and struesel caught my attention.  Plus, the recipe was already adjusted for high altitude baking!


3/4 cup sugar
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
3/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ tsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves

4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temp
4 oz. almond paste (not almond pastry filling)

1/3 cup sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ tsp coarse kosher salt (if using table salt, use half the amount)
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup almonds, finely chopped (or ¼ cup almond flour)

1 cup powdered sugar
¼ cup heavy whipping cream (I used whole milk)
½ tsp. almond extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 10 inch square baking pan with non-stick spray.  In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, melted butter, eggs, sour cream, milk, vanilla, and almond extracts.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet, and whisk briefly just to combine.  Set aside while you make the filling.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and almond paste for about 30 seconds until combined.  Spread half the coffee cake batter into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Spoon the filling over the batter, then use a small icing spatula to spread the filling out.  Spread the remainder of the batter over the filling.

In a bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt and melted butter until moistened and crumbly.  Stir in the almonds, reserving 1-2 Tbsp. to sprinkle over the icing later if you'd like).  Sprinkle the struesel over the batter. 

Bake the cake on the center oven rack for about 45-50 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Set aside to cool while you make the icing.

In a bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, cream and almond extract until smooth and has a thick drizzling consistency.  Drizzle over the hot cake and sprinkle with the remaining chopped almonds.  Let cool 20-30 minutes.  

NOTES:  I had an 8x8 and a 9x9 square pan.  I opted to use the 9x9 pan and made a parchment sling to ensure I could get it out of the pan nicely.  I did not need to adjust the baking time, and the cake plumped up nicely.  

I didn't make as much icing as it called for and I waited until it had cooled some before I drizzled it so it wouldn't melt into the cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed this coffee cake.  It has a great almond flavor.


recipe c/o:

Thursday, October 13, 2022


Spending some time in New England in the Fall has always been on the proverbial list.  I've never been to that part of the country and from the pictures I'd seen over the years, I knew it would be memorable....especially for a gal whose favorite season is Fall.

For those who know me, I do A LOT of research prior to my travel.  Not knowing when I may return, I try to make my trips a totally immersive experience and take in as much as I can.   It also makes it extra special when it's our annual Mother/Daughter vacation.  

I knew Fall color in that part of the country is later than here in Colorado, so I landed on September 26-October 5.  As it turned out, Mother Nature did a fantastic job of showing off for us!

Here's the itinerary I developed: 
  • Day 1 - Fly from Denver to Boston
  • Day 2 - Explore Salem, then drive to Lincoln, New Hampshire
  • Day 3 - Scenic drive to Manchester, Vermont
  • Day 4 - Scenic drive to Stowe, Vermont (stay 3 trips)
  • Day 5 - Scenic drive to Burlington, Vermont and Shelburne Farms
  • Day 6 - Scenic drive around Stowe/Mt. Mansfield/covered bridges
  • Day 7 - Scenic drive Stowe, Vermont to North Woodstock, New Hampshire
  • Day 8 - Scenic drive via the Kancamangus highway to Kennebunkport, Maine
  • Day 9 - Scenic drive via Coastal Route 1 to Boston
  • Day 10 - Fly Boston to Denver  
FYI- My scenic drives have multiple stops along the way                       


Must See's:
Salem (self-guided historical walking tour)
Montpelier State House
Hildene- Lincoln Home
Echo Lake
Woodstock, VT
Vermont Country Store
Granville Gulf Reservation State Forest
Flume Gorge (trip highlight)
Shelburne Farms, Shelburne winery
Ben and Jerry's 
Von Trapp Bierhall and Brewery
Mt. Mansfield 
Covered bridges (so many between New Hampshire and VT.....I narrowed it down to five in Stowe)
Cafe' Lafayette dinner train (trip highlight-it's a splurge)
Driving the Kancamangus Hwy
Rockport, New Hampshire

Skip It:
(we did all these and would skip them based upon our experience)
Salem Witch Museum
Burlington, VT
Gondola ride at Mt. Mansfield in Stowe

Kennebunkport, Maine (many stores/restaurants were closed...bus loads of people being dropped off)
Stowe (as a place to stay....find lodging elsewhere...DEFINITELY do a day trip to the area)                                                                                       

We learned the hard way that many restaurants close at 2 or 3p.   Most of the lodges/inns I booked provided some type of breakfast.  So we'd eat and take off on the scenic ride I had planned for the day....then, by the time we finished it would be mid-afternoon and we had a hard time finding somewhere to have lunch.  No fun being hangry on vacation.  TIP- Do a little research...and pack some snacks in the car.  

Kennebunkport was a disappointment as I shared....but the seafood was amazing.  We split a lobster roll and each had a cup of clam chowder from the one restaurant we found open for lunch.   We chose to go back to the same place (Mabel's) for dinner and split lobster mac and cheese and crab cakes.  Both meals were delicious!

We drove a total of 1,361 miles on this trip, and were mesmerized by the color.  I love Fall in Colorado, don't get me wrong...but the east coast Fall is completely different and you just have to experience it to understand what I mean.  

I did well with the lodges/inns I booked in Vermont and New Hampshire...they were pricey, but I expected that based upon the time of year.   The two worst hotels were those I booked in the Boston area on the outbound and return.   The meals prices caught me completely off guard...but dining out everywhere right now is crazy.  

We both enjoyed New Hampshire more than Vermont was a little quainter, quieter, and the scenery was better, probably because of the terrain.  It's very hilly, and the drives through the state were breathtaking!                                                                                                                                        

The 2023 Mother/Daughter trip is seven months from now.  Flights and hotels are booked and I've already got a pretty well planned itinerary.  Can't come soon enough for me!

Tuesday, September 20, 2022


 Sometimes you just need an easy dinner idea, loaded with lots of flavor.  Here's an "adult" grilled cheese that I came up with that you may find as enjoyable as I did.

This recipe will make two sandwiches. 


4 slices sourdough bread
Dijon mustard
Miracle Whip
4 slices deli style ham slices
1 Granny Smith apple
3 oz. Smoked Gouda
Real Bacon Bits


Butter one side of each slice of bread.    Slice the Granny Smith apple into very thin slices.  Grate the cheese. 

On one of the unbuttered sides of bread,  add a skim coat of Dijon, top with a skim coat of Miracle Whip (or mayo) and finally a drizzle of honey.

Add two slices of deli ham on top of the condiments, layer on top the apple slices to cover the ham.  Pile a generous amount of the grated cheese on top of the meat and finally shake on some bacon bits. 

Top with the second slice of bread, butter side up.  

Add the sandwich to a heated skillet and brown on both sides until toasty and golden.