Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

We have so much to be thankful for for 2014! Today, the one that tops my happiness? The ability to set up a tripod, and take a family picture, and everyone is smiling! We would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!

Crystal Kellner

Friday, December 19, 2014

Homemade Caramels

It seems like this time of the year I am pulling out the recipe box, looking through old cookbooks, and contacting relatives to find that "one" recipe we would like to try this year.

Even though our grandmothers are gone, we would like to keep tradition going, and bake the goodies they made for us growing up.  I have a big "wish list" of things I want to bake with the kids. We have already talked about what we are going to leave for Santa. Some of might have to wait until the weekend after Christmas, but it will get done.  The kids are great helpers in the kitchen! I want to take advantage of that!

We had Christmas Eve with my dad's side every year. Grandma Butch would always bring us a batch of her homemade caramels.  This was my first time making caramels.  It is definitely trial and error. I didn't have Grandma's recipe at the time, but I tried a recipe from a college friend I had tucked away in my recipe box. I am sharing Abbie's recipe with you today!  My daughter enjoyed wrapping them in wax paper.  I am sure they won't last long.  Just like they didn't growing up. Dad and I finished these in no time. 

Homemade Caramels
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup white kayro syrup
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1 can Eagle Brand milk
1/2 tsp vanilla

Add sugar, syrup, butter and milk in a large sauce pan.  Heat to soft boil stage (244-248 degrees) while stirring.  Add vanilla, remove from heat.  Beat with mixer until glossy, less than a minute. Pour into greased jelly roll pan. Pour into middle of pan and scrape remaining  onto the edge. Let cool. Cut into bite size pieces and wrap in wax paper.
Crystal Kellner

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate.

These are one of my favorites.  I remember my grandma baking these all the time, especially during the week of VBS , and hoping I would see them as the cookie try was passed around!

This makes a great cookie for any occasion, but with the different selection of Hershey Kisses, you can make this for Christmas time as well.  These go fast in our house.  Everything goes fast in our house!!

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies, Chasing Saturdays

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies


  • 48 HERSHEY'S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Additional granulated sugar(optional)


1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.
2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Makes about 48 cookies.

Crystal Kellner

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Easy Cake-Mix Banana Bread

My daughter loves banana bread! The last batch of banana bread I made, I caught her sneaking bites of bread all day long! Boys came home from hunting and it was all gone!

She runs in the kitchen, grabs a bite, then jets back to the living room.

She has been working on her "sneaking & hiding" skills for quite some time. A few years ago, when she was a 2-year-old "little helper" when we picked strawberries every spring. I remember she loved to help out in kitchen then! I was busy making freezer jelly, but stepped out of the kitchen for a minute. When I came back,  I caught her picking strawberries off the trays, and transferring them to my pocket in my apron. I quietly left the room, and came back with the video camera. That one is in the vault!

This time I decided to make a different type of banana bread. Add some chocolate chips. It should be called the perfect banana bread. It's easy, too!

Easy Cake-Mix Banana Bread

1 box Betty Crocker™ yellow cake mix 
1/3  cup oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (3 to 4 medium) 
2 cups milk chocolate chips 


  • Heat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 2 (8x4-inch) loaf pans with cooking spray; lightly flour pans.
  • Select your favorite banana bread recipe variation from those below.
  • In large bowl, beat all ingredients above plus ingredients from selected variation below until well mixed. Divide batter evenly between pans.
  • Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean and inside of cracks do not look wet. Cool 15 minutes in pans on cooling racks. Remove loaves from pans to cooling racks.
  • Other variations of this recipe can be found here. 

Crystal Kellner

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels

Let the Holiday baking begin.  I would like to start holiday baking traditions with the kids. They are so eager to help in the kitchen. They are also so eager to help taste-test!

Why not?

Sounds like a great idea to me, too!

This recipe is a no-bake recipe, it's fast, and kid-friendly!

We will work on cleaning the kitchen later!

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Pretzels
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs softened butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 bag of chocolate chips or chocolate almond bark

In mixing bowl, beat peanut butter and butter until combined. Add sugars and mix well. You should be able to roll mixture into small balls without sticking to your hands. If needed, add more powdered sugar until it is easy to roll. Take each small ball and press between two pretzels.  Melt chocolate or almond bark in microwave according to directions on package.  Dip peanut butter pretzels into the chocolate, and set on baking sheet lined with wax paper. Put into freezer for 20-30 minutes.

Crystal Kellner