Jingle Balls All The Way

Every year in December the ladies of the family get together and bake. We make sugar cookies, ginger snaps, peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies and more….but our favorite is grandma balls. These scrumptious peanut butter/chocolate balls are well……scrumptious. Grandma would have to make these by the buckets to keep the kids happy.

12208299_10153702736257440_7943098806592868_nGrandmas traditional peanut butter and chocolate ball recipe has been handed down and is now made by several generations of the Howard women. This recipe is a close family secret BUT this year we thought we would tweak the recipe a bit and come of with a variety of balls….and share the recipe/s. This Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ball is delicious. If you use the right kind of chocolate, it can even be considered Vegan. Either way, the kids will love them.

You will want to hide some of these for the adults!



1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips
2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (for dipping)
Sea salt (optional)

Line a baking sheet with wax paper. In a bowl mix together butter, sugar and vanilla. Then add flour and mix just until combined. Stir in the milk chocolate chips. Make one inch balls and place on the pan. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Balls may seem a bit crumbly while rolling. When the dough is firm, remove from the freezer and dip the cookie dough in melted chocolate. Tap off an excess chocolate and place on wax paper and top with sea salt if desired. Place back in the freezer until chocolate has hardened. Store in the fridge.


What’s for Dinner

Many of us ask this every day, don’t we?

There is this essential device that every kitchen should have……it is called a crockpot.  It doesn’t care if you are vegan, vegetarian or a meat lover.  It doesn’t care if you make bread, soup, butters, meats, sauces or desserts in it.  It is the most versatile device you can have in your kitchen 🙂

Here is an easy one for those “what’s for dinner” days. You can do this all from scratch or use a few canned items to make it simple.  You can tweak it and add to your taste. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit with the flavors

Mom’s Chicken Cacciatore

  • 1 pound (about 4) skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Mushrooms (a cup or two)*
  • Bell pepper (a cup or two)*
  • Onion (a cup or two)*
  • Garlic (2 or 3 cloves)*
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • Can of diced tomatoes**
  • Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (put on top when serving)
Ok, this one is easy.
  • Chop everything and put it all in the crockpot.
  • Add all the other ingredients, except the cheese.
  • *Add as much or as little of these as you like.
  • **This can be substituted with a favorite marinara sauce.
  • The chicken can be chopped, sliced or left as whole. It can be breaded and pre-cooked and just the sauce cooked in the crockpot.  There is no right or wrong way to do this dish.
  • For the vegans and vegetarians you can use eggplant or a chicken substitute.
  • Serve over noodles, rice or potatoes



Homemade Peanut Butter

Say goodbye to store bought and hello to delicious! Homemade peanut butter is so easy and so much better for you.

Peanut Butter

15 ounces shelled and skinned roasted peanuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey or other sweetener (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons peanut oil (optional)

Place the peanuts, salt and honey into the bowl of a food processor. Process for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Place the lid back on and continue to process while slowly drizzling in the oil and process until the mixture is smooth. Place the peanut butter in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.


Toasting also gives your peanut butter a deeper, richer flavor.

You can use nuts that come pre-roasted from the store. Give them a quick trip through the oven to warm them up and help the oils loosen up.

You can absolutely substitute any nut you like in this recipe. The method is exactly the same for making any other kind of nut butter

Add cinnamon, pumpkin spice, nutella, chocolate, etc. Since you can make batches that are as big or small as you like, it’s very easy to experiment with different versions.

Homemade peanut butter will never be quite as perfectly smooth as a jar of Skippy. It will always have a rougher texture than the commercially-prepared stuff. 

Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Once you make your own, you won’t buy store bought again 🙂 This recipe has been a long time family favorite. This recipe makes 4 Quarts


2 ¼ Cups Sugar
¼ Cup plus 2 TBSP Flour
½ TSP salt
5 Cups Milk (I use whole milk)
4 eggs
4 Cups Whipping Cream (Heavy Cream)
2 TBSP Vanilla Extract (add a bit more for a very vanilla flavor)

Combine in a saucepan, gradually stir in milk. Cook over medium heat about 15 minutes, until thickened.  Stir constantly

Beat and add eggs to mixture, stirring constantly. Cook about a minute, remove from heat. Pour into Ice Cream maker container and refrigerate 2 hours.

Combine and add  whipping cream and vanilla to above mixture and mix away.

*Add fruit, chocolate syrup or other items to make a variety.

*If you don’t have an ice cream maker, no worries…..pack this in a container and put it in your freezer.