The truth is I love to try  new recipes but I really am a poor cook!  And I am one of those cooks who tend to tweak everything. My poor children can give you accounts of failed meals when I have decided to experiment!    I am a firm believer in the easier the better, when it comes to cooking!  I’m not quite at the 4 ingredient rule like my friend, Nancy, but I do try to keep cooking simple and take shortcuts when I can!  So when I find a good recipe, I hold onto it.


Apple Cashew Spinach Salad (a family favorite)

1 bag baby spinach
1 c. cashews
1 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese or Romano cheese
2 granny smith apples, cored and sliced thinly

1 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
2 T. poppy seed
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

The night before making the salad, combine all of the dressing ingredients so that the sugar dissolves.  Mix all the ingredients and dressing right before serving.


Pork Tenderloin with Craisin sauce


1 2-lb pork tenderloin

1 can cranberry sauce
2 Tablespoons orange marmalade
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 tsp salt
1 cup dried craisins

Trim fat and silverskin (membrane) from the pork.  You can also sear it to keep the juices in and brown it.  Bake the tenderloin at 350° for 20 minutes (or until it reaches 150 degrees when tested with a meat thermometer) . Mix all of the sauce ingredients thoroughly in a separate bowl (sometimes I put the cranberry sauce in the microwave for a couple of minutes so that it blends easier). Drain any excess juice from tenderloin. Baste with sauce, tent with foil, and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.


Lemon Craisin cookies

1 c. granulated sugar

1 c. brown sugar, packed

½ c. butter

2 eggs

1 tsp. lemon flavoring

1 tsp almond flavoring

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. salt

2 ¾ c. flour

1-2 cup craisins

Blend butter and sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add eggs. Beat until well blended. Add salt, baking soda and flavoring. Blend. Add flour. Beat until blended. Add craisins.

Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes until lightly brown. Let rest on cookie sheet for 2 minutes, then move to wire racks until cooled.

Makes 5 dozen small cookies.


Blackberry custard pie with crumb topping:


1 (9 inch) deep dish pie shells, unbaked
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
3 cups blackberries
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place berries into the pie shell.

Beat the 2 eggs together, then add the sour cream, 1 cup of sugar, 1/3 cup of flour. Pour over the berries.

Combine the butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, and the 1/2 cup of flour to make a crumble topping. Sprinkle crumble onto the top of the pie. Bake for 50-55 minutes.

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