Pineapple Balls

I always like to reflect on my childhood and try to remember certain recipes that my mom would make for certain occasions.  I remember every spring and especially on Easter, she would always make something that included pineapple.  Pineapple salads, ham with a pineapple glaze, pineapple cakes, and fresh sliced pineapple is what I associate with spring.  These Pineapple Balls are just perfect when you want a small dessert after a wonderful meal.  They freeze beautifully so you can make them now and serve them over the spring holidays.



Pineapple Balls

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for dusting, if desired
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons pineapple juice


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

    Cream the butter and sugars.  Add the egg, pineapple, and nuts.  Combine the dry ingredients, add to the pineapple mixture and mix well.

    Drop the dough by rounded teaspoonsful (or use a one tablespoon ice cream scoop) onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 9 - 11 minutes.  If desired, drizzle with glaze and dust with additional finely chopped pecans.  Yields 48 balls

  2. Sugar Glaze

    Mix 1 cup confectioners sugar and 1-2 tablespoons pineapple juice, drizzle over cookies.  Sprinkle with pecans, if desired.

Mom’s Rice Pudding

I think everyone has a few recipes that remind them of when they were growing up and the comforts of home and mom’s (or dad’s) cooking.  To me, there are a few favorite recipes, but one recipe that I remember so well is my Mom’s Rice Pudding.  This to me is comfort food.  I distinctly remember when I felt under the weather as a child or the snow was blowing in the winter, Mom’s Rice Pudding would be in the oven.  Rice baked in a wonderful custard with raisins and sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.  As the years go by ….. Mom’s Rice Pudding is still one of my favorites!

Rice Pudding 1

Mom's Rice Pudding
Serves 6
Write a review
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 3 beaten eggs
  2. 2 cups milk
  3. 1`/2 cup sugar
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2 cups cooked rice
  7. 1/2 cup raisins
  8. Ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  1. Combine first 5 ingredients; mix well. Add rice and raisins. Turn into a one quart baking dish or 10 x 6 baking dish. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes, stir. Sprinkle with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until a knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. Can be served warm or cold.
A Passion for Entertaining

Jelly Roll

This recipe brings back memories when I was growing up.  Having a Jelly Roll was a holiday staple and I remember my mom rolling the thin cake in a sugar covered towel.  I think kitchen memories are some of the best you can have.  No doubt, whatever kitchen memory you have growing up was a labor of love.   I think the popularity of the basic Jelly Roll has diminished over time; I think it is one of the best desserts you can serve.  It is not too sweet,  easy to prepare and always looks beautiful with every slice.  I like to use red currant jelly, my mom always used red raspberry jam, the choice is yours…..the resutls will be delicious!


Jelly Roll
Serves 8
Write a review
  1. 6 eggs, separated
  2. 1/4 cup water
  3. 1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
  4. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  6. 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  7. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  10. Confectioners sugar
  11. 1 - 12 oz. jar raspberry or red currant jelly
  1. Line a greased 15x10x1 in pan with parchment paper, spray parchment with cooking spray.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Separate eggs, let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and water on high speed until thick and lemon-colored, approx. 5 minutes. Slowly add 1 cup of sugar. Add extracts. Combine flour, baking powder and salt - slowly add to egg yolk mixture.
  4. Add cream of tartar to egg whites and beat until soft peaks form. Slowly add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, beat on high speed until soft glossy peaks form.
  5. Fold 1/4 of egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture, then fold in remaining egg whites.
  6. Spread evenly in prepared pan.
  7. Bake 18 - 22 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool on rack 5 minutes. Invert cake on a kitchen towel that has been dusted with confectioners sugar. Gently peel of parchment paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style starting with the 10 inch side of the cake. Cool completely on a wire rack. When cool, unroll cake and spread evenly with jelly. Roll up, dust with confectioners sugar.
A Passion for Entertaining

Frozen Pumpkin Pie

Looking for an easy dessert for Thanksgiving that you can make today and serve on Thanksgiving?  This recipe is a great additional to any Thanksgiving menu.  I have always been one that loves to plan ahead and make ahead when entertaining, so I can relax and enjoy the day.   This Frozen Pumpkin Pie is delicious and so very quick and easy.  You start with a graham cracker crust, pumpkin, spices and ice cream blended together and frozen.  It is in your freezer and ready when you are.


Frozen Pumpkin Pie
Write a review
  1. 1 cup canned pumpkin
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  6. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 quart vanilla ice cream, softened
  8. 1 graham cracker crust
  9. Sweetened whipped cream, chopped nuts (optional)
  1. Blend first five ingredients. In a large bowl, stir ice cream with a wooden spoon until smooth. Quickly stir in pumpkin mixture until blended Immediately pour into prepared crust. Cover and freeze util firm. Garnish with whipped cream and sprinkle with nuts, if desired.
  1. Sweetened whipped cream
  2. In a mixing bowl combine 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, whip until stiff peaks form.
A Passion for Entertaining

Apple Rye Crumble Pie

After another visit to my favorite distillery, Catoctin Creek Distillery in Purcellville, VA , I decided it was time to use their award winning Roundstone Rye Whisky in another recipe.  This time, my target was an apple pie.  First, I let the apples and rye whisky mascerate so each apple slice absorbed the whisky flavor, then tossed the apples with flour and spices, tossed in a few dried cranberries and added a crumb topping.  I must admit, a great combination of flavors.  Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – now, that is the way to start the fall season!


Apple Rye Crumble Pie
Write a review
  1. Pastry for a One-crust pie
  2. 8 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  3. 3 tablespoons rye whisky
  4. 1/3 cup sugar
  5. 1/4 cup flour
  6. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  7. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  8. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  10. Topping
  11. 1 cup flour
  12. 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  13. 1/2 cup cold butter
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line pie plate with pie crust, crimp edges. In a medium bowl, add apple slices and toss with rye whisky. Let stand for 5 minutes. Mix sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Toss with the apples, stir in cranberries. Turn apple mixture into pastry-lined pie plate. To prepare crumb topping, combine flour and brown sugar, cut in butter until mixture is crumbly and butter pieces are smaller than the size of peas. Sprinkle apple mixture with the crumb topping. Bake pie for 50 minutes, cover topping with foil during the last 15 minutes to prevent excessive browning.
A Passion for Entertaining

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Every other Monday, I head to the local Fisher House and bake cookies.  If you are unaware of the mission of the Fisher House Foundation, the Fisher House Foundation is best known for a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.  It is great to donate my time and my love of cooking to this terrific organization.  When I am finished each time, the house has the smell of fresh baked cookies, a full cookie jar, guests who appreciate a touch of home after a long day and a smile on my face.  It is one of the most rewarding volunteer experiences I have had.  I have been compiling a group of cookie recipes from my Monday cookie baking.  I made these last week – I hope you enjoy them.  

chocolate chocolate chip cookies


Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
Write a review
  1. 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  2. 1 cup granulated sugar
  3. 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  6. 2 cups flour
  7. ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  8. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  9. ½ teaspoon salt
  10. 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in one egg until completely incorporated; beat in last egg along with vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into butter mixture until just incorporated; mix in chocolate chips.
  3. Roll dough into 2-inch balls, or drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart, onto ungreased baking sheets.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until edges of cookies are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to wire racks. Dust warm cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.
A Passion for Entertaining

Apricot Almond Tart

I have to admit that I prefer to serve fruit based desserts after dinner.  I think they are the perfect ending to a meal, I also prefer to serve small portions so everyone can enjoy a small sweet treat after an enjoyable dinner.  This time I was pairing a dessert after an Indian inspired meal.  I served this Apricot Almond Tart and it was a perfect ending to the meal.   I served it straight from the refrigerator with a small dollop of peach ice cream.  Oh so cool and refreshing…a great combination.

apricot almond tart


Apricot Almond Tart
Serves 10
Write a review
  1. CRUST
  2. 1 1/4 cup flour
  3. 1 tablespoon sugar
  4. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  5. 1 egg yolk
  7. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  8. 1/2 cup sugar
  9. 6 ounces almond paste
  10. 2 large eggs
  11. 2 teaspoons flour
  13. 2 14 oz. cans apricot halves, drained
  14. 4 tablespoons brandy
  15. 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  16. 1/4 cup pineapple preserves
  17. Sliced almonds, toasted
  1. Crust - mix flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender or food processor, combine butter and egg yolk. Add flour and sugar combination and blend until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Spread into a 10 inch springform pan. Press mixture into plan. Bake 350 degrees for 15 minutes. While the crust is baking, make the tart filling. Cream butter and sugar until light. Add almond paste in small pieces and mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour. Pour mixture over prepared crust and bake 20 minutes. Remove tart from oven, carefully place apricot halves on the tart. In a small saucepan, heat preserves, remove from heat, stir in brandy. Spoon over tart. Sprinkle with almonds. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
A Passion for Entertaining

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

Well, I definitely bought more peaches than I needed this past Saturday at the Farmers Market.  It was just one of those impulse buys where the peaches were ripe, the samples were delicious and when I asked if they had peaches ready to use – they headed to their “chefs box” and handed me beautiful ripe peaches.   I few years ago, I purchased an ice cream maker that has proved to come in very handy in the kitchen.  If you do not have an ice cream maker, it is a great kitchen gadget to have.  You keep the liner in your freezer and when you are ready to make ice cream, you simply pour in the chilled ice cream mixture and in approximately fifteen minutes, you have delicious homemade ice cream or frozen yogurt. So, ripe peaches called for my second peach recipe of the week – Fresh Peach Ice Cream.  Cool, creamy and delicious….perfect for these hot steamy July days.   I can’t wait to see what I find this week at the market!

fresh peach ice cream


Fresh Peach Ice Cream
Write a review
  1. 3 large peaches, peeled and cubed
  2. 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  3. 1 1/4 cup half and half
  4. 3/4 cup sugar
  5. pinch of salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  7. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Combine peaches and sugar, set aside for one hour. Puree peach mixture in a blender ( I like large chunks of peach remaining, however, you can puree until the mixture is smooth is you prefer). Add remaining ingredients and refrigerate until well chilled. Process in your ice cream maker as directed.
A Passion for Entertaining

Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping

Another great find at the farmers market this week – perfectly ripe peaches.  How could I possibly pass those by?  Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping is the perfect recipe for these gems.  This cake features a moist cake layer topped with fresh peaches and a crumble topping.  Delicious served with coffee for brunch or a delightful summer dessert.  Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a wonderful summer treat.

Fresh Peach Cake

Fresh Peach Cake with Crumble Topping
Write a review
  1. Crumble Topping
  2. 3/4 cup flour
  3. 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  4. 1/4 cup sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  7. 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  8. Cake
  9. 1/2 cup butter, softened
  10. 1/2 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup sour cream
  12. 2 large eggs
  13. 2 teaspoons vanilla
  14. 1 1/4 cup flour
  15. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  16. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  17. 3 - 4 large peaches, peeled and sliced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 10" baking dish.
  2. Combine topping ingredients and set aside.
  3. To prepare the cake layer- in a large bowl, cream the butter and granulated sugar until smooth, beat in the sour cream, eggs and vanilla. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients. The batter will be stiff. Smooth the batter in the prepared cake pan, top with sliced peaches. Crumble the topping over the peaches.
  4. Bake 35 - 45 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool before cutting into pieces.
  1. To easily peel peaches, bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Carefully lower the peaches into the boiling water and boil for 20 seconds. Remove peaches and place in a bowl of ice water. Remove and peel.
A Passion for Entertaining

Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies

These are the perfect brownies for the upcoming holiday weekend.  The Fourth of July is a great time for a picnic and fireworks.  These Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies are moist and easy to transport.  I am thinking hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, baked beans, and Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies this weekend!  It’s time to celebrate!

cream cheese swirled brownies



Cream Cheese Swirled Brownies
Yields 16
Write a review
  1. 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  4. 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  5. 1/4 cup sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 tablespoon flour
  8. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  9. 2 eggs
  10. 3/4 cup sugar
  11. 1/2 cup flour
  12. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  13. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  14. 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  15. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  16. 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9 inch square pan.
  2. In a small bowl, melt chocolate chips and 3 tablespoons butter. Easy way is to microwave for 30 seconds, stir.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of softened butter, cream until fluffy. Add 1/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon flour, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Blend well, set aside.
  4. In another medium bowl, Beat the 2 eggs and remaining 3/4 cup sugar until fluffy. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in melted chocolate, nuts, vanilla and almond extracts. Spread 1/2 into prepared pan. Spread cream cheese mixture over chocolate layer. Spoon remaining chocolate mixture over cream cheese layer. Swirl with a knife. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
A Passion for Entertaining