Gopher Bars

On my campus, we work with some pretty amazing students.  One group of students has worked especially hard the last few weeks by putting in several long nights in a row to allocate funding for student organizations for next year.  For a couple of years, I sat in on the aptly-named “BudgetFest,” where they ask questions of the groups.  This year, although I didn’t sit in, I thought I would bring some snacks to the event and help give a little boost here and there.  These Gopher Bars, probably named for the University of Minnesota, were a quick and easy fix to throw together and take to the campus.  The recipe came from a friend of my mom’s, which I located in the beloved recipe binder.

Gopher Bars.jpg


Gopher Bars

1 cake mix
1 instant pudding
2 eggs
1/4 c water
3/4 c oil (can use applesauce)
1 c chips, m&ms, etc

Mix together and bake in a 10×13 in pan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Suggested combinations:
lemon, white chocolate, white chocolate chips
red velvet, french vanilla, white chocolate chips
white, french vanilla, raspberry chips
yellow, butterscotch, butterscotch chips
spice, vanilla, white chocolate chips
chocolate, chocolate, peanut butter chips


Marshmallow Brownies

In addition to the midnight muncher bars I posted about a few days ago, I made these marshmallow brownies, so that anyone with a nut allergy would have an option as well.  This came from my mom’s binder of recipes, and from the notes on the page, it looks to be the recipe from the Six Sisters Blog.  I love their blog recipes.  A few of my favorites have come from them.  Again, I’m taking no news as good news from the students.  I should have let the marshmallows cool a little more before I frosted these…next time!

Marshmallow Brownies.jpg

Marshmallow Brownies

1 c margarine
2 c sugar
1/3 c cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 package miniature marshmallows

1 stick margarine, softened
1/4 c milk
1-2 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp cocoa
2-3 c powdered sugar

Soften margarine and blend in sugar and cocoa.  Beat together and add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.  Add flour, salt, and vanilla and mix well.

Spread on a large (10x15x1) greased cookie sheet.  Bake 22-25 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and cover entire top with 1 package of marshmallows.  Return to oven for 3 minutes, until marshallows are soft and puffy.  Cool and frost with chocolate frosting.

For the frosting: Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer until smooth.  Add more powdered sugar or milk until you reach the desired consistency and spread on top of bars.

Texas Sheet Cake

My mom made our Easter dessert and decided to make a Texas Sheet Cake, a recipe that was provided by a friend of hers and which made its way into our recipe books.  Let me rephrase that, her coveted recipe binder.  Each of my parents have made binders that my sisters and I will undoubtedly fight over some day (or make copies of) that include a ton of different recipes.  One of which is this Texas Sheet Cake recipe.

Texas Sheet Cake

Texas Sheet Cake

1 c butter
1 c water
2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp almond extract

Bring butter and water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.  Bake at 375 degrees in a 10×15 greased pan for 20-22 minutes, until golden and the toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes, then frost with:


1/2 c butter
1/4 c milk
4 1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 c nuts

Bring butter and milk to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add remaining ingredients.  Spread over warm cake.

Broccoli Corn Bake

Sometimes there are recipes from childhood that make no sense in terms of what I love today and what  would be considered a positive intake of food.  For me, one of these items is scalloped corn.  I don’t eat very many casseroles, or corn, or crackers these days, but when I was going through an old recipe box when I came across a recipe for a Broccoli Corn Bake from “Norma” that I knew I wanted to try.

Broccoli Corn Bake.jpg

Broccoli Corn Bake

16 oz can creamed corn
1 package frozen broccoli (cooked and drained)
1 beaten egg
1/2 c saltine cracker crumbs (12 crackers)
1 Tbsp minced onion
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper

1/4 c cracker crumbs (6 crackers)
1 Tbsp butter, melted

Combine first eight ingredients — pour into a 1 quart casserole.  Combine the last two ingredients.  Sprinkle over the vegetables.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Ginger Ale Salad

This gem of a recipe came from the mysterious box of recipes, that the spiced apple jello came from last month.  When my parents were driving through on the way to my sister’s house last month, this seemed like a great way to add a little gelatin/protein to our meal in a way that was fun and unexpected.  My dad loves lime jello with pears, and this seemed like a possible comparable jello salad.


Ginger Ale Salad

2 pkgs lemon jello
1 cup boiling water
3 c ginger ale
1 c nut meats, ground fine
1 c pineapple tidbits
1 c grapefruit sections, white grapes, or cherries
1 c orange sections (cut)
3 Tbsp crystallized ginger

Dissolve the jello in the boiling water.  When cool, add the remaining ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve with watercress greens

Spiced Molded Apple Salad

With autumn in full swing and the orchards of the area full of apples, it was time to return to the recipe box of questionably delicious recipes to find something to use these fresh apples.  A lot of us think of fresh salads and apple pies when we start to get excited about what fall has to offer.  I also turn to Curry Squash Soup and other Oktoberfest-related items.  However, today I found myself drawn to a section of the recipe box labeled “Molds.”

Don’t worry.  This section did not focus on fungi and mushrooms and the things that grown in the back of the refrigerator.  But, for some folks, this section would be equally problematic.  This section is all about the jello mold.  It’s absolutely a sign of the times in which this recipe box was filled with food.

The spiced molded apple salad was tied to a couple other recipes and clipped from a newspaper, although the clipping didn’t indicate which newspaper or provide a date.  The other two recipes on the page were: apple salad bowl and cinnamon candy salad.  Both have promise and may find their way on the page at some point.  But, the opportunity to make a jello salad was too exciting to pass up today.

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Honey Mounds

As I was digging through the recipe box, I was searching through the “Cookies and Cakes” section to find the appropriate treat to bring to some colleagues at work and came across this recipe for Honey Mounds, which according to the notation, was first placed in Woman’s Day Christmas Issue in 1963.  While the article calls for the baker to use red and green sprinkles, I had to show a little school pride and use purple sprinkles!

The note on the recipe card stated, “rather a chewy cookie with good honey flavor.”  After I tasted them, I have to agree that this is an apt-description.

I was surprised at how little they spread when baking.  Mounds is a really perfect description for them.  Had I known this, I might have made the cookies a little smaller.  But, the folks I brought them to at work thought they tasted great, so the recipe is definitely worth keeping around.

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Honey Mounds

1/3 c soft butter or margarine
1/3 c sugar
1 egg
2/3 c honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Cream butter, sugar, egg, and honey.  Add vanilla.  Add flour, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.  Chill.  Roll into 1″ balls.  Then roll in sprinkles.  Place on cookie sheet and make in 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.