Archive for Recipes I Love

Copycat Recipe: Tastes Just Like Dunkin’ Donuts Vanilla Chai

vanilla chai copycat dunkin donuts

So, I’m so excited about today’s post! Because I’ve finally figured out how to make Vanilla Chai tea that tastes JUST like Dunkin’ Donuts! I have 2 DD’s within 2 miles of my house, and I’m a frequent there for iced coffee. But my friend introduced me to the Vanilla Chai and I thought it was divine.

I did some serious research around the internet and couldn’t come up with the recipe anywhere. There are spiced chai teas out there that did prove helpful. But they were watery compared to Dunkin’s sugary creamy goodness. {You see, the kids and I HAD to go to DD’s to buy a couple— okay maybe more than a couple—so that I could taste test mine with the real thing side by side. I had to. It wouldn’t have been scientific not to. It was, like part of the process. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it. :)}

I was able to “sleuth” out that DD’s version is a powder, has 8 {gasp!} grams of fat, contains milk, tea, sugar and spices. I also got some help from some very helpful ladies on Facebook, so thank you!

So, here’s the deal. This tastes JUST like Dunkin Donuts. I hope that it saves you lots of money and doesn’t add inches to your hips! 😉 Enjoy!

Vanilla Chai Tea

To make the bulk spice mix combine:

1 1/2 cups unsweetened instant tea granules (find it in jars near the Lipton instant iced tea. Except you want unsweetened. I use Walmart brand.)

2 t. ground ginger

2 t. ground cinnamon

1 t. ground cloves

1 t. ground cardamom

1/2 t. nutmeg

1/2 t. all spice

2 cups white sugar

1 1/2 c dry French vanilla flavored powdered non-dairy creamer

1 c. powdered non-dairy creamer

Mix well and store in a covered plastic container or Mason Jar with cute tag. :)

To make a Vanilla Chai heat 8 oz milk in the microwave until hot. Then,

Add 2 T of the spice mix. Stir well. Froth, using a hand wisk or by pouring the tea from one cup to another several times (do this over the sink! lol–ask me how I know!) This thickens and froths the drink and makes it the consistency of DD’s. ENJOY!

***These will make great Christmas gifts! You could put the mix in mason jars with cute tags and instructions for brewing the milk/tea! I’m already making some to ship to my girls in college! :)

****You can blend this in a mixer, to ensure that it dissolves better, but trust, me–>You want to use a blender/mixer with a GLASS canister. I used my Ninja with a plastic “grinding bowl” and it totally scratched and ruined it. USE glass!!

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Perfect Apple Pie {using an oil crust pastry}

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite apple pie recipes. I love this old recipe because it uses an oil crust which is simple to make. I’ve spoken to several old timers who told me that using an oil crust was a Depression Era thing. Regardless of why, this crust is never soggy and I love that about it.

This recipe is from one of my dearest friend’s mother’s recipe box. Anne and I have been friends since the tenth grade. She now lives on the west coast, and I on the east, so therein lies the problem. Visiting is rare and a special treat. A few years ago we got to spend a few days on Peaks Island, ME together and this summer we got to spend a day catching up while the kids played in my mom’s pool.

Now the weather’s cold and I’ve been baking her mom’s pie and anticipating my next visit over a cup of tea with Anne. :)

anne and sarah





Oil Pastry:

2 c. all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 cup vegetable oil

5 T. cold water

Sprinkle of sugar to put on crust after it’s assembled.

Sift together flour and salt. Pour oil and water into measuring cup, but don’t stir. Add all at once to flour and salt mixture. Stir slightly with a fork. Form into 2 balls; flatten dough slightly. Roll each ball between two 12″ square pieces of wax paper. When dough is rolled into a circle to edges of paper, it will be the right thickness for the crust. Peel of the top sheet of waxed paper and fit the dough, paper side up into either an 8″ or 9″ pie plate. Peel off second sheet of waxed paper. Set crust aside. Roll second dough ball the same as the first. Set second crust aside.

Apple Filling:

6 c. tart apples, pared, cored and thinly sliced, about 6-8 apples

3/4 cup to 1 cup sugar, depending on how sweet you like your pie and how tart your apples are

2 T all purpose flour

1 tsp cinnamon

dash of nutmeg

dash of salt

2 T butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make the filling, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix with apples. Fill the dough lined pie plate with the apple mixture. Dot with 2 T butter. Add the top crust. Cut slits for steam to escape. Seal edges. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until crust edges are golden brown. Enjoy!


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Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

I wanted to share a recipe that is perfect for casual entertaining: Hot Fudge Pudding Cake.

I’ve made various versions of this recipe over the years because it’s easy and delicious, but recently a long distance friend sent me this recipe. It’s much richer than other versions I’ve tried. I tweaked it a bit, used common pantry staples and made it “large family friendly.” This recipe should serve 10-12 people when served with ice cream.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

I love this recipe because it’s

  • 1. Delish and fudge-y
  • 2. Easy to prepare. It uses pantry staples and mixes up in one bowl.
  • 3. It bakes in thirty minutes or so, making it the perfect dessert to pop into the oven while you eat dinner.
  • 4. It’s pretty much no fail. You bake it in a 9X12. You can’t go wrong.
  • 5. Did I mention it’s chocolate-y. Mkay.

The original recipe came from Sweet Home: Over 100 Heritage Desserts and Ideas for Preserving Family Recipes, a very lovely compilation of recipes.

Everyone will love it served hot with ice cream.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

For the cake:

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cups Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

2 Tablespoons vanilla extract

4 Tablespoons melted butter

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

For the topping:

1 1/3 cup light brown sugar

2/3 cup Hershey’s unsweetened cocoa powder

3 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9″X12″ glass pan.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Stir in milk, vanilla, melted butter and chocolate chips. This will be thick and perhaps hard to stir.

Spread this mixture evenly into the bottom of your glass pan.

Next, for the topping, combine your brown sugar and cocoa, stirring until you have no lumps. Sprinkle this cocoa/sugar mixture evenly over the batter in your glass pan.

Next, pour hot coffee over the top.

Now bake for 30-35 minutes just until the hot fudge sauce bubbles up from underneath the cake-like crust.  Part of the top will seem cake like with holes of bubbling fudge coming up from underneath. Don’t overbake!

Remove from oven. Let sit 10 minutes so the fudge sauce can thicken as it cools. Serve with ice cream.


Lemon White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

To overstate the deliciousness of these cookies would not be easy!

I first bought one at a Whole Foods and knew I had to make them at home.

These cookies are special and a little more expensive because the nuts are a bit pricey, but they are great for a special occasion!

So here’s how I’ve recreated these cookies.

(This is basically the Crisco Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (my fav) that has been tweaked for our purposes. 😉 )

Here it is:


  • 1 and 1/2 cup Crisco® Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening
  • 2 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large egg
  • 3 1/2 cups  All Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 and a half bags white chocolate chips (18 oz TOTAL)
  • 2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Zest of two lemons

HEAT oven to 375ºF.
COMBINE shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in eggs, lemon zest and juice. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
DROP by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.
BAKE 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies.
Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.


That’s it. So delish!


Key Lime Cheese Ball {Just like Tastefully Simple’s}

My sister brought a delicious Tastefully Simple Key Lime Cheeseball to my house for our Mother’s Day celebration.

It was so delish. Did I mention that already? Okay then.

Key Lime cheese ball served with graham cracker “pretzels” (Pretzels are a Tastefully Simple Product)

Of course, we really don’t want to have to buy the mix if you can do it yourself.     What self-respecting Yankee would?

So, tonight I humbly submit to you, this copycat recipe. :)


Key Lime Cheeseball

1 box (7.5 oz) Dr. Oetker Key Lime Pie Filling Dessert Mix (got mine at the grocery store, but many of you have asked to see exactly what it looked like, hence the Amazon link. ;))

2 bricks softened cream cheese

1/2 stick butter

1 cup powdered sugar

Mix until blended will. Pop in the fridge until firm. Roll into crushed graham crackers to form a ball.

Serve with Nilla Wafers or Graham Crackers.


DIY Dry Shampoo

Do you wash your hair every day? I don’t.

I have to admit that I use dry shampoo and love it. 

I have extremely thick hair and it takes me so long to dry.  So, washing my hair every other day saves me a lot of time. On the days when I don’t wash my hair, it gets a dry shampoo treatment.

Dry shampoo sales are soaring, because it is a great product! But, instead of paying $10 for an aerosol bottle of dry shampoo, I make my own with 2 simple ingredients:

1/2 cup baking soda

1/2 cup corn starch

Just mix it together in a glass jar. Voila!

To use sprinkle about 1/2 tsp into your hands and rub (like you are using hand cream or like a gymnast covers their hands with chalk)

Flip you head/hair over the sink and massage your roots with the mixture, starting at the base of your head and working towards your forehead. Then run your hands through the rest of your hair evenly. (If you have thick hair, like me, you might have to use a little more.)

Let sit for a minute or two while you put on your makeup.

Comb out with a fine comb. Style as usual.

You are good to go!

**Added tip from reader: If you put it in a shaker bottle you can just sprinkle it on the root area and rub it in. Awesome!

Do you shampoo every day? What hair products make your life easier? If you’ve blogged about it, feel free to share your links!


Best Ever Stuffed Mushrooms

My sister Hannah had a Superbowl party last night which we won’t even talk about. (sniffle)

But, you all know that I went to talk, visit with the girls, and eat. I didn’t even realize that NE had lost until my friend Janelle and I, in the middle of chatting noticed this strange, eerie silence coming from the living room. Yup.

So anyway, the food.

Although there were lots of great snacks to pick from…

While they were doing this….

and this…

I was eating these….

Hannah made these incredible “Just like Olive Garden Stuffed Mushrooms” and if you like this kind of thing you HAVE to try this recipe.

Soooo good!!

Did you watch the game? Or did you go for the food and friends like me? 😉

Easy Bakery Style Fruit Tart

Wanted to share one of my favorite, easy holiday recipes. This delicious fruit tart! My brother-in-law’s wife, Robin, shared this recipe with me after she made it for a family anniversary party and I believe she said it originated from Taste of Home magazine. Anyway, it is delish! And it always looks beautiful!

For the crust:

Cream together 3/4 c. butter and 1/2 c. confectioners sugar.

Stir in  1 1/2 c. flour.

Press into an ungreased tart pan and bake in a 300 degree oven for 25-30 min until lightly browned. Cool.


Melt 1 16.oz  bag of white chocolate chips. (in micro is fine)

Stir in  1/4 cup whipping cream (or half and half)  and 1 brick softened cream cheese. Combine until smooth. Fill your crust.

Top with whatever fruit you like: sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, kiwi, etc.

Fruit Glaze:

In small saucepan, combine:

3. T sugar

2. T cornstarch

1/2 t. lemon juice

1/2 c. pineapple or orange juice

Bring to a boil over medium heat. Let cool. Gently brush over fruit.

Chill dessert before serving!

I made this to bring to my mother’s birthday dinner tomorrow. Great with coffee. :) Enjoy!

Molasses Sugar Cookies

You have to try these cookies. They are so delicious!

My first recollection of ever having tasted these cookies was when Peter and I were first married and we went away to a bed and breakfast somewhere with his sister, Nancy and her husband, Fred. Well, Nancy made a bag of these cookies for our trip, and offered us some, and that was that.

I made these cookies frequently when I was pregnant, because the ginger and cinnamon spices seemed to soothe my stomach and was one of the only things I could keep down during the first trimester. These are great with cold milk or a mug of tea. Enjoy!

Molasses Sugar Cookies

3/4  cup melted shortening

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup molasses

1 egg

2 tsp. baking soda

2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. ginger

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 375. Combine melted shortening, sugar, molasses and egg until mixed well. Sift together baking soda, flour, ginger, cinnamon and salt and add to the wet ingredients. Form into 1″ balls. Roll in some granulated sugar and place onto greased baking pan. Flatten slightly.(I use the bottom of a cup) Bake for 10-12 minutes. Makes 2 dozen.


Happy baking! May your kitchen be a place of grace today, to all who enter!

In Celebration of Fall {Pumpkin Lattes}

Today it feels like fall {or winter…it was down to 40 degrees last night.} And what could be better than a steaming hot latte?

My childhood friend, Janelle, shared this recipe with my readers on our facebook page, and I wanted to post it on the blog as well.  They are  DELISH and easy to make! Thanks for the treat, Janelle!

Pumpkin Lattes

2 Tbs. canned pumpkin
1 Tbs. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Hot Coffee or Espresso
Hot Milk

Into each large mug put first 4 ingredients. Fill cup halfway w/ coffee & stir well.
Fill cup the rest of the way with hot milk & whisk.
(steamed milk is the best) Top w/ whipped cream & dust w/ sprinkling of nutmeg.

Yum! Make one this weekend!!! :)