Simple Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Candy Corn Sugar Cookies - No Mix! A simple & delicious homemade recipe for this fun fall treat.

It’s Fall which means cool weather (if you live up North), pumpkins (of course) and if you’re my husband, candy corn. I’ve never been a big fan of the actual candy corn candy so I decided to put my spin on it by making candy corn cookies. The original recipe came from Betty Crocker but I was disappointed to see it used a mix. I’m not a big fan of cookie mixes because I think homemade cookies always taste better. So, I went to my stand-by Texas Sugar Cookie recipe and adapted it to make these cookies.

This sugar cookie dough is the easiest cookie dough you will ever roll out. Even if you’re not rolling it out (like for these cookies), it still handles well and of course, tastes delicious. The nice thing about these cookies is that they become a slice and bake cookie, so you will end up with lots of mini candy corn cookies in no time at all. The other good thing? These cookies freeze great so you can make them ahead of time and serve them at any of your upcoming Fall parties! Here is the recipe.

Candy Corn Cookies


1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk


Cream butter and sugar in mixer. Add in eggs, vanilla and milk. Slowly add in baking powder and flour. Once you have this dough mixed, it’s time to make the candy corn cookies.

Divide the dough into three equal-ish piles. Just do your best to make it even! Leave one bowl as is. Using food coloring, dye one bowl yellow and the remaining bowl orange.

Line a bread pan with seran wrap. On the bottle of the pan, evenly press the white dough. Next, layer on the orange dough with the yellow dough on top. Fold the remaining seran wrap over the top and refrigerate the dough for 3 to 4 hours.

When the dough is firm, remove it from the refrigerator and cut the dough into slices (like bread). Then, using a knife, cut the dough into small triangles, alternating angles of cut. You can view all the steps below.

4 Simple Steps to Candy Corn Sugar Cookies

Careful place candy corn cookies onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Cool on a baking rack. Enjoy your candy corn!

Green Themed Food Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day

Green Themed Foods for Saint Patrick's Day

Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Growing up, we did – because it is also my Mom’s birthday. When I took over cooking for her on that day, I tried to serve some green foods. Like I shared with the red and pink foods for Valentine’s Day, serving green foods for St. Patrick’s Day is a simple way to make an ordinary meal special.

Here are some ideas for basic foods that you could serve for green meals on St. Patrick’s Day. There are lots of healthy choices for this holiday!

  • Celery
  • Green peppers
  • Lettuce salad
  • Broccoli
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Spinach
  • Cucumbers
  • Kiwi
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Green grapes
  • Pesto
  • Pistachio pudding
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • Lime sherbet
  • Key lime pie
  • Lime jello
  • Limeade

Finally, don’t forget the power of green food coloring! You add food dye to scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs or almost anything you can think of to create a festive meal. Do you have any ideas to add to this list of green foods for St. Patrick’s Day? Oh, and happy birthday Mom!

Red & Pink Themed Food Ideas for Valentine’s Day

Red and Pink Themed Foods for Valentine's Day - A list of themed ideas for Valentine's Day!

I have fond memories of Valentine’s Days when my Mom would pull out her metal jello molds and make us individual heart shaped red jello. We didn’t eat jello much, but having it in a heart shaped mold made it even more special. I look forward to planning heart themed and colored Valentine’s meals for my children someday!

As I was planning my preschool party for school, I started thinking of what foods I wanted to serve my preschoolers. I decided to follow a red and pink theme with heart shaped foods thrown in for good measure. After pondering this for over a week, here is a list of themed possibilities for Valentine’s Day. I’m sharing the list with you so you don’t have to think as hard as I did!

  • Cherries
  • Cranberries (or Craisins)
  • Radishes
  • Red Apples
  • Red Peppers
  • Red Grapes
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Plums
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • Salsa
  • Cherry or Strawberry Yogurt
  • Strawberry Cream Cheese on Heart Shaped Toast
  • Spaghetti with Red Marinara Sauce
  • Ravioli with Red Marinara Sauce
  • Mini Heart Shaped Pizzas with Heart Shaped Pepperoni
  • Red Jello (Strawberry, Cherry or Mixed Berry)
  • Pink Marshmallows (Strawberry Flavored)
  • Hi-C or Red Kool-Aid
  • Strawberry Milk
  • Strawberry Smoothie
  • Shirley Temples
  • Cherry Limeade
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Pink Wafer Cookies

You can make lots of foods into Valentine themed foods just by using cookie cutters of various sizes. You could make heart shaped toast or heart shaped pancakes for breakfast. You could even fry an egg in that heart shaped hole in your toast. You can cut sandwiches into hearts for lunch and cut cheese into mini hearts for a snack. You can make heart shaped cookies for dessert. You can frost the cookies with red or pink icing and add red or pink sprinkles to really fit your color theme.

Remember that for young children, it doesn’t need to be elaborate! You can easily add red (or pink) food coloring to a variety of foods. You can stir in Valentine colored M&Ms to different desserts. You can cut raw fruits and vegetables into heart shapes. Mix and match from the list above to create a themed meal (or day of meals!) for Valentine’s Day that is sure to delight. Do you have any other red foods that I missed in my list?

A Single Serving Recipe for Wassail

A while ago, I shared my recipe for wassail. While I love the taste of this delicious warm drink, I don’t often prepare a big batch of wassail. When I was getting ready for school the other morning, I wanted a glass of wassail – and decided to adjust the recipe for an individual cup of wassail.

It’s very simple and retains the full flavor of wassail – without lots of leftovers. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! Sometimes, I simmer two servings on the stove and pour it into two mugs for two days. Other times, I mix it all together quickly in the microwave and drink my wassail on the go. I like having the flexibility now for a big batch or single serving of wassail. It has made my winter quite cozy!

Single Serving Recipe for Wassail - Joyfully Thriving

Here’s how I prepare a single serving of wassail. I’ve gotten to where I squirt in a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle on the cinnamon – without measuring. I have included measurements for your convenience. Feel free to adjust if you want more or less sweetness with the sugar and lemon juice proportions. Enjoy a glass of wassail today!


1 cup apple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon


Mix apple juice, orange juice and a squirt of lemon juice in a mug. Stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Heat in the microwave for a minute and a half or until warm. Stir again before drinking.

Snow Cherry Limeade

Snow Cherry Limeade - A perfect snow day recipe for a copycat Sonic drink.

The snow was blowing outside and the temperatures were bitterly cold but suddenly, I wanted a Cherry Limeade from Sonic. Some would say it was a pregnancy craving. Perhaps it was because I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time. So I decided to get creative and make my own version of the drink at home. It was delicious – and tasted just like Sonic’s classic drink. It was so good that I want to share it with you so you can make yourself a cherry limeade, too!

Now, to be fair, you could make this recipe without snow. Simply use ice in place of the snow. I like using snow because it reminds me of the little ice cubes that Sonic uses in their drinks. You could also crush some ice in the blender if you are so inclined and / or live down South without snow to flavor your drinks! I’ll be using this method in the summer.

4 Ingredient Cherry Limeade - An Easy and Delicious Recipe!

This recipe is very simple and requires only four ingredients. You need snow (or ice), the juice from maraschino cherries, lime juice (or lemon, if you are snowed in) and 7-up (or Sprite).

Fill a glass with snow. Pour 2 to 3 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice over the snow. I started with 2 but liked it stronger with 3 tablespoons. Add 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice. Pour 1 cup of 7-up over the snow. Stir with a spoon. Top with a cherry and enjoy your delicious snow cherry limeade!

I think it’s the perfect treat for a snow day. I hope you (and your kids) agree!

Wrapping Up a Month of Freezer Cooking

Whew! I did it. It’s been a busy month – and a busy month of freezer cooking. This was the first time I have ever attempted such an ambitious project. I practiced the “Bake Once – Eat Twice” philosophy so doubled my recipes this month. I cooked two of the same meals – one that we ate that night and one (or more) that made its way to the freezer. My freezer is brimming as a result! Take a look.

Before and After Freezer Pictures from my 31 Days of Freezer Cooking -

What is in my freezer after a month of freezer cooking? Note that I made double meals of my recipes – without going over my monthly grocery budget! It is indeed possible. In addition to eating well this month, here’s what is still in my freezer.

I discovered some new tricks as I shared freezer recipes with you. I rediscovered some old favorites and found new favorites as well. I also discovered that Pinterest is hopping with those who are interested in crock pot applesauce! It’s one of my new favorite recipes, so I’m happy others are enjoying it as well.

I want to say thank you to everyone who joined me this month in freezer cooking. I hope you gained some new recipes and saw that anyone can stock their freezer with limited time and on a frugal budget. It takes a bit of planning but it can indeed be done!

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below to view the rest of my recipes from 31 Days of Freezer Cooking.

Homemade Lasagna for the Freezer

Lasagna is another classic recipe for which there are many variations. Although it can be time consuming to make, it is a delicious meal and an ideal freezer food.

I will admit that I don’t make lasagna on a regular basis. In fact, I don’t know if I have made it for Andy since we’ve been married. Gasp! So I pulled out my Mom’s lasagna recipe and made a batch for dinner as well as a batch for the freezer. It was then that I remembered how much I enjoyed lasagna – and resolved to make this recipe more often. I especially liked it with sausage, but it is also tasty with hamburger.

Whatever recipe you chose, lasagna freezes well. If you are going through the trouble to make lasagna, it is worth the time to make a double batch for the freezer. It doesn’t take much more time and you’ll be glad to have another lasagna in the freezer.

Homemade Lasagna for the Freezer


1/2 cup diced onion
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 pound Italian sausage (or hamburger)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon basil
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
3 cups cottage cheese
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 pound Mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
10 ounces lasagna noodles


Saute onion in oil under tender. Add sausage (or hamburger) and cook until brown. Drain excess fat. Add garlic salt, oregano, basil, pepper and tomato paste. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Combine cottage cheese with beaten eggs.

Place half the lasagna noodles in a 9×13 baking dish. Spread half the meat sauce over the lasagna. Add half the cottage cheese. Spread with half mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with half the parmesan cheese. Repeat layers.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. One pan of lasagna makes 12 servings. You can also also make one large pan or two smaller ones by following this same recipe.

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below to view the rest of my recipes from 31 Days of Freezer Cooking.

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Growing up, my Mom always made homemade spaghetti sauce for our spaghetti. I might have taken it for granted back then. She’d make a big pot with lots of hamburger. We’d eat some for dinner and Mom would package the leftovers in various Tupperware containers for the freezer.

This spaghetti sauce is easy to double and wonderful to freeze. Plus, spaghetti sauce really is simple to make – and without any artificial ingredients! You can make this sauce with or without the hamburger. This time around, I made the sauce without ground hamburger since I plan to add freezer meatballs when I serve it. Also, I always use water instead of tomato juice. Mom did and so I do as I learned.

Spaghetti sauce is something you can easily adjust to your own preference. If you want it spicier, add more chili powder. If you want it sweeter, add more brown sugar. If you want it chunkier, add diced tomatoes. The possibilities are endless!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce for the Freezer - Joyfully Thriving


2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 (16 ounce) can water or tomato juice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 clove garlic
2 pounds hamburger, browned, optional
1 medium onion, diced, optional


Combine tomato products in a large saucepan. Add water (or tomato juice, if desired). Stir in seasonings. If desired, add meat browned with diced onions. Simmer over low heat for 30 minutes. Allow spaghetti sauce to cool before storing it in the fridge and / or freezer.

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below to view the rest of my recipes from 31 Days of Freezer Cooking.

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

It’s fall and time for pumpkin recipes. I do love the flavor of all things pumpkin. Pumpkin chocolate chip bread is one of my favorite breakfasts, and these frosted pumpkin cookies are one of my favorite pumpkin desserts. What is your favorite pumpkin recipe?

I gleaned this recipe from a dear school family of mine. I taught Annalee first and then her brother, Aaron. Aaron is quite the chef. Already in 3rd and 4th grade, Aaron liked to surprise me with perfectly frosted cupcakes or delicious cookies that he made himself.

One day, I was at their home giving Annalee piano lessons, when I smelled something delicious baking. Aaron came home wanting to make pumpkin cookies, so he and his Mom combined a couple different recipes and came up with this one. Once I tried one of Aaron’s frosted pumpkin cookies, I quickly asked for the recipe. The bite sized cookies were moist with just the right amount of sweetness given from the frosting.

I’ve made these cookies several times now and still think of Aaron (and his family) every time I make them. The pumpkin cookies are good plain, but the frosting adds the perfect extra touch. These cookies also freeze wonderfully. Do layer waxed paper between your pumpkin cookies when freezing them so the frosting doesn’t stick to the bottom of other cookies. These pumpkin cookies are good for dessert, an anytime snack, or yes, even a sweet breakfast treat. I justify it since pumpkin is healthy, right? Right.

Frosted Pumpkin Cookies - Joyfully Thriving


For the cookies…
1 cup shortening
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups flour

For the frosting…
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups powdered sugar


In a mixer, cream together shortening and sugars. Add egg and pumpkin. Mix well. Add in vanilla and cinnamon. Mix in the rest of the ingredients until all combined. Use a cookie scoop to drop dough by teaspoons onto cookie sheet.

Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool on a cookie sheet before frosting.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add brown sugar. Bring to a boil and stir for 1 minute. Allow mixture to cool slightly before adding milk. Stir in powdered sugar. If needed, thin the frosting with slight amounts of milk. Frost the pumpkin cookies.

This recipe yields 4 dozen pumpkin cookies, when scooped with a medium Pampered Chef cookie scoop. Allow frosting to harden slightly before storing in an airtight container. Layer waxed paper between layers of cookies. Store in the refrigerator or freezer to preserve freshness.

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below to view the rest of my recipes from 31 Days of Freezer Cooking. I’m also linking to Thrifty Thursday at Living Well, Spending Less and Required Ingredient at Future Expat.

Spritz Cookies for the Freezer

I have a love / hate relationship with spritz cookies. I love eating the cookies but I hate how difficult they can be to make. My love for the taste of them wins out! I requested and received a spritz cookie maker for my wedding. That is the one thing you must have for this recipe and I was excited to make my own spritz cookies. Unfortunately, I discovered it’s not as easy as it looks. I’d like to say it’s my cookie press, but it’s such a name brand but I don’t know since it’s the only one I’ve used. Perhaps its me. Still, once or twice a year, I get determined to try again and make a batch of spritz cookies.  One of the great things about spritz cookies is that they do freeze very well. So, before I got too frustrated this time around, I decided to plan ahead and make my Christmas spritz cookies. :-)

Homemade Spritz Cookies


1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour


In a mixer, cream butter with sugar. Add egg and vanilla. Add flour, one cup at a time until dough is mixed well. The dough will be soft but do not refrigerate.

Fill your spritz cookie press with dough. Follow the directions on your particular cookie press to make your  spritz cookies. Press them onto a cookie sheet, 1 inch part. Decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar, if desired.

Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 11 to 13 minutes or until firm. Cool cookies on the cookie sheet before removing to the cooling rack. This recipe yields 6 dozen cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container in the freezer.

For all my other freezer cooking recipes, click on the button below to view the rest of my recipes from 31 Days of Freezer Cooking.