Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread (Uses a 9 x 13 pan)

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.

Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - (2)

These are so good you might want to ‘slap your own self ‘ in the head !!  

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread is baked in a 9″ x 13″ pan.  Unlike typical monkey bread, there’s only one layer rather than several and the pieces are bigger.  Think of these as ‘cinnamon roll meets monkey bread’!

A friend of mine is in the hospital and I brought two plates of my monkey bread to share with the nurses. They gave it rave reviews and several blamed me for their lack of will-power.  (Actually, I didn’t do so well in the will power department myself.)

Oven at 350F  (175C)       Greased 9″ x 13″ pan

Bake for 35 minutes – or until top is golden and center biscuits are fully cooked.


  • 2 (16 oz.) packages of LARGE biscuits, such as Pillsbury ‘Grands’ Biscuits, found in the dairy case

    Cream Cheese Filling

  • 2 ( 8 oz.) packages of cream cheese – softened
  • ½ tsp. almond extract
  • 1 ½ tsp. sugar
  • chocolate chips, such as Nestles    ++  You’ll need about 1/2 cup or more    ++  I recommend using dark chocolate 

    Chopped Nuts, White Sugar & Cinnamon  … to be sprinkled over filled biscuits

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Caramel Sauce

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter – cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup PACKED brown sugar

METHOD      ++  See photos at bottom of post !

Open 2 packages of large refrigerated biscuits – allow to warm up a bit.  Soften 2 packages of cream cheese by bringing them to room temperature OR by microwaving each UNWRAPPED block of cream cheese on high for about 10 seconds.

In a medium bowl, beat softened cream cheese with ½ tsp. almond extract and 1 ½ tsp. white sugar until combined.

Place about a 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips in a small bowl.

Here’s how I formed the biscuits; take out four at a time.  Cut each biscuit in half.  Fold the cut halves together to form a circle.  (See photo below).  Using your palms, flatten each biscuit half until you have a 3″ circle.  Drop 2 heaping measuring teaspoons in the middle of each flattened biscuit and place several chocolate chips on top.   ++  I used about 4 for each, but next time I’m going to add more!! 

Bring the edges together to form something resembling a ball.  The shape does NOT matter, so don’t be fussy.  Place biscuit balls into a greased 9” x 13″.  Repeat….

++ I allowed the biscuits to rest a few minutes so the dough could rise a bit.  While dough is resting, sprinkle with 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.  In a small bowl mix ½ cup white sugar with 2 tsp. ground cinnamon.  Sprinkle sugar/cinnamon mixture over biscuits.

Place ½ cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes, and ¾ cup PACKED brown sugar in a small microwavable bowl.  Heat on high for 30 seconds.  Stir.  Heat for another 30 seconds.  Mix butter and brown sugar well with a fork or a whisk.  Pour over biscuits.

Bake in a 350F (175C) oven for 35 minutes.  Biscuits should be golden brown and center biscuits should be fully cooked.

Invert onto a serving platter…. it IS a bit tricky.  Immediately remove pan.  There will be bits of yummy melted brown sugar and butter left – scrape it out before it cools and put it in the nooks and crannies between the biscuits. (If no one is looking, you have my permission to just eat it!)  ; o )

++  If you don’t have a large enough serving platter, use a cookie sheet.   

Cream Cheese and Chocolate Filled Monkey Bread  is soooo good when eaten fresh from the oven – and I was pleasantly surprised to see how good these were a day later. Enjoy!

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate -

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - (2)

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Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - (3)

Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate -

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Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - 2

Monkey Bread Bread Filled with Cream Cheese & Chocolate - (2)

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Monkey Bread Filled with Cream Cheese and Chocolate - myyellowfarmhouse.

An Oldie but a Goody !! Old-Fashioned Apple Squares – Just in Time for Apple Picking Season

Old-Fashioned Apple Squares - -

The recipe for these ‘Old-Fashioned Apple Squares’ was one of the first recipes I ever posted – back in November of 2012.  There’s a ‘bumper crop’ of apples this year, so I thought I’d repost this once again. These apple squares are yummy!

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You know you’re getting o.l.d when the recipe you’re searching for is over 30 years old !! Imagine how pleasantly surprised I was when I actually found it – not filed under “bars” but filed under “apples” – but found, nevertheless!!

These apple squares (or bars) are even tastier than I remember!! They’re loaded with apples, nuts and raisins, and have a buttery, cinnamony goodness – so you can even eat them for breakfast!!

                                              MAKES ABOUT 24 SQUARES – or BARS

  • Oven at 350 F
  • Lightly grease a 9″ x !0″ pan
  • Bake 45 – 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.


  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups roughly chopped peeled and cored apples
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 raisins (Try the raisins even if you don’t always like raisins. They kind of “melt away” into the batter, and give the resulting bars a lovely sweetness and golden dark color.)

In a medium-sized bowl – using a mixer – cream together the vanilla, both sugars and 2 eggs until creamy and throughly mixed.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt & nutmeg. Add the creamed mixture to the dry mixture, and mix by hand until throughly blended.

Add the apples, walnuts and raisins – mix by hand until throughly blended

Pour into the greased pan, spreading with the spoon to get the mixture even.

Bake at 350 F for between 45 – 50 minutes.  When cooled, cut with a sharp knife. Enjoy!

Old-Fashioned Apple Squares - -

‘The Summer of Cecile’ – Gardening, Traveling and Just Kicking Back !!

The Summer of Cecile - photo by Susan Morton

Wine, Cheese & Pâté.. mixed with a lovely evening and a good friend – heavenly!!

As you may know, I’m a BIG fan of the old Seinfeld comedy show.  In one of my favorite episodes George Costanza, played by Jason Alexander, announces he plans to spend the entire summer doing exactly as he likes.  He called it The Summer of George.  As it turned out, I had The Summer of Cecile, though there was no announcement and it was entirely unplanned!!

I Proclaim this the Summer of George

I didn’t posted anything here on My Yellow Farmhouse all summer….   My house was dusty and my gardens were weedy, but I did have one terrific summer!!   (Luckily a friend recently helped me with the weeding and mulching, so now my gardens are looking pretty great!!)

August 2015 - pink tea roses and dalhias - My Yellow Farmhouse.comAntique Chair and Flowers - August 2015 - My Yellow

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My Adorable Gardener -myyellowfarmhouse.comAugust 2015 - bird bath and bench - My Yellow

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I sure wasn’t idle during my Summer of Cecile.  I spent time at our Pocono house & actually accomplished quite a bit there.  Here’s a few shots of my visit to The Delaware Water Gap, taken during one of my trips back home to Massachusetts from the Pocono Mountains.

Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area

Delaware Water Gap Na'tl Recreation Area -

Dingmans Falls – Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area

Dingmans Falls - Del. Water Gap -

I frolicked in the waves at Wells, Maine, Situate, MA and New London, CT, and headed up to Quebec to visit with family and old neighbor’s in St. Antoine de Tilly.

Hazy, Lazy Day – Scituate, MA

Scituate, MA 2015

And I visited the lovely Berkshire mountains here in Massachusetts twice. In the spring I went to see a musician friend of mine play at the delightful old Naumkeag estate in Stockbridge, and later in the season spent a truly lovely day with friends at The Mount, writer Edith Wharton’s beautiful estate in Lenox.

                     A rather cloudy twilight at Naumkeag estate – Stockbridge, MA

Shawl from India - Naumkea estate gView from Naumkeag -

My musical friend, David Reed    (

David Reed @

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Another hazy day … Edith Wharton’s Estate – The Mount, Lenox, MA

Edith Wharton's Home


And here’s a bit of news!  My dear friend Chogo John (a.k.a. John Amici) recently published a cookbook containing delicious Italian recipes handed down from one generation to the next.  Along with terrific recipes, John has included family tales, which I always enjoy reading on his blog.  You can find John’s book, Recipes from the Bartolini Kitchens on – OR – follow this link to purchase John’s cookbook!!  ++

As for me, I’m ‘going back into the kitchen’ now that summer is officially over, and I’ll be posting my version of Chocolate & Cream Cheese Stuffed Monkey Bread very soon !!!  Sending out big hugs to you all. I’ve missed you during my Summer of Cecile.

Arrowhead Lake – Pocono Mountains, PA  – – Springtime

Poconos - spring 2015

++ Care to leave a comment?  Just scroll down a bit!!  ++

Pea Salad – A delicious and easy ‘make-ahead’ salad !

Pea Salad -

I just returned from spending two weeks at our home in the Pocono Mountains where we don’t have an internet or TV connection, which actually makes it very relaxing.  I also spent a few days outside of Philadelphia with one of my sons and his family & they ‘gifted me’ by bringing me to see The Lion King – what a colorful, lively and just plain fabulous play it is!!

While at the Pocono house I did some spring projects, such as giving the deck a BIG SCRUB with some pretty powerful cleaning products.  When the directions tell you not to get any of it on your skin etc., you know it’s strong. But it works!!

I didn’t have time to scrub the deck last spring… and look how bad it got in just 1 year!  (DO NOT invite me to your home to scrub your deck, thank you!  LOL!)

spring 2015 - deckI used CLOROX – “ProResults” – Outdoor Bleach – it worked great!

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View from the deck of the Lodge at Arrowhead Lake, PA

Poconos - view from lodge - spring 2015

Pea Salad -

Pea Salad, which I love, is a rather new dish for me because it isn’t generally served here in Western Massachusetts – at least not at the barbeques I attend.

There are many variations of Pea Salad, so feel free to add extras like bacon or pimento.  However you prepare this salad, it’ll be a big hit !

  • 1 (14.4 oz.) package of frozen peas  ++ Allow to thaw and drain in a colander.  No need to cook!
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, sliced thin
  • 6 oz. Cheddar (or American) cheese, cut into small cubes
  • 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Mix all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl – it’s as easy as that!  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours – or overnight. How’s that for quick and easy?   Enjoy!

Pea Salad -

Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

6 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake
 The ingredients for ‘Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake’ are probably already in your cupboard. Plus, it’s quick and easy to prepare!

This recipe makes enough for breakfast or ‘tea time’, with a bit left-over for snacking …. any time of the day.  Coffee cake is not ‘just for breakfast anymore’! ++ YIELD –  approximately 12 pieces   Greased 9 x 9 pan    Oven at 350 F      Bake for 25 – 30 minutes


  • 1/3  to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts  ++ I like a LOT of nuts, so I added 1/2 cup.
  • 1 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar   ++ Packed means the brown sugar is pressed down in the measuring cup – not lightly spooned in.
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs. softened butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups Bisquick baking mix  ++ I’ve included a recipe for making your own ‘baking mix’ at the end of this post.
  • 3/4 cup milk

small strainer - for coffee cake recipe++ I highly recommend putting a small amount of confectionery (icing) sugar in a strainer and then gently shaking it over the baked & cooled coffee cake. Not only will your coffee cake look nicer but the sugar adds a bit more sweetness. (‘Chocolate ‘n Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake’ isn’t overly sweet.)


Combine 1/3  to 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, 1 Tbs. cocoa powder and 1/4 cup packed brown sugar in a small bowl.  Set aside. In a medium bowl beat 1/2 cup sugar, 2 Tbs. softened butter and 1 tsp. vanilla. Add egg and beat until fully combined. Add 1 (of the 2 cups) of Bisquick to sugar/butter/egg mixture and beat to combine. Add 1/2 the milk and beat to combine, scraping bowl occasionally. Repeat with remaining 1 cup of Bisquick and and rest of the milk.

Spoon half the batter into a greased 9′ x 9′ baking pan.  Sprinkle on the walnut/cocoa powder/brown sugar mixture.  Spoon remaining batter on top. Using a knife, swirl the batter to make a marble pattern.

1 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake - myyellowfarmhouse.com2 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

Spoon remaining batter on top. Using a knife, swirl the batter to make a marble pattern.

3 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake myyellowfarmhouse.com4 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

Bake at 350F for 25 – 30 minutes. Check for doneness at 25 minutes by inserting a sharp knife into the center of the coffee cake.  If the knife comes out clean, your coffee cake is fully cooked.

5 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

Place baking pan on a wire rack to cool coffee cake a bit. ++ The coffee cake doesn’t have to be totally cool before you cut into it…. which is a BIG PLUS!!  (I am sooo bad – I ate three pieces in one go!  The coffee cake was warm, delicious and perfect with a glass of cold milk.)     ENJOY!!

6 - Chocolate-Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake

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Yield 6 cups  /   Units US


• 6 cups all-purpose flour • 3 Tbs.baking powder • 2 Tbs. powdered sugar • 1 1/2 tsp. salt • 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda • • 9 Tbs. canola oil


Whisk together 6 cups all-purpose flour, 3 Tbs. baking powder,  2 Tbs. powdered (icing) sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt and 3⁄4 tsp. baking soda. Using an electric mixer set on low, slowly mix in canola oil until no lumps remain and mixture is a uniform texture – about a minute.  Store in an airtight container. ++ Recipe for preparing substitute for Bisquick Baking Mix courtesy of – –

Spinach-Arugula Caesar Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives and Red Onion

Spinach-Arugula Ceasar Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts etc

This is NOT one of those Plain-Jane Pasta Salads! There’s tons of flavor from the artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and Caesar dressing!

I attended a fun Kentucky Derby party yesterday.  Luckily the weather cooperated and it was lovely and sunny outside.  The guests were asked to bring a dish to share and I decided to make some type of salad.  Liking the looks of the Kale Caesar Pasta Salad in the May issue of Good Housekeeping magazine, I riffed off that – and ended up changing pretty much everything.  However, I did stick pretty close to their caesar dressing ingredients ’cause it’s easy and delicious.  (In fact, yesterday one guy returned three times for more of this salad. Now THAT’S a recommendation!!)

I used spinach and arugula instead of the kale called for in the original recipe.  I HIGHLY recommend being sure to add arugula – no matter what other greens you may decide to use!!  The slight peppery flavor of arugula is perfect combined with the artichoke hearts, Kalamata olives and red onion.

+ I know this isn’t a traditional Caesar Salad dressing but it’s not a good idea to eat raw eggs. +

++  Arugula, also known as salad or garden rocket, is one of the nutritious green leafy vegetables of Mediterranean origin.  In fact, when we lived in Malta, we could pick arugula in a meadow or the side of the road. And I believe the British simply call it ‘rocket’.  ++  The young leaves are tender and less peppery than those of a mature plant.

  • 1 (12 oz.) box Farfalle (bowtie) pasta, cooked according to directions –  drained and cooled.
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/3 freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. milk
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 (5 oz.) bag spinach/arugula mix  ++  This is the first time I’ve found this mixture.  Otherwise, purchase spinach and mix with equal parts arugula.  ++  I prefer regular spinach (torn into pieces) for this recipe but baby spinach would also work.
  • 1 (6 oz.) jar brined, PITTED Kalamata olive – drained
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/3 cup chopped red onion

Cook Farfalle (bowtie) pasta according to package directions but add 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 tsp. salt to cooking water.  ++ I recommend covering cooked, drained pasta once or twice with cold water to eliminate any heat. 

In a small bowl whisk together 6 Tbs. mayonnaise, 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice, 1/3 freshly grated Parmesan, 1 Tbs. olive oil, 1 Tbs. milk, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.  Set aside.

Place 1 (5 oz.) bag spinach/arugula mix, 1 (6 oz.) jar brined, PITTED Kalamata olive – drained, 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts – drained and 1/3 cup chopped red onion in a large salad bowl.

Add cooled cooked pasta.  Mix pasta with greens.  Pour the caesar dressing over all and mix to cover all your salad ingredients.  And that’s all there is to it – your Spinach-Arugula Caesar Salad is ready!!


 Spinach-Arugula Ceasar Pasta Salad with Artichoke Hearts etc

‘S’Mores Cupcakes’ …. Buttery, Chocolatey, Marshmallow Goodness – No Frosting Needed !!

Final - S'Mores Cupcakes -

S'Mores Cupcakes -

These S’Mores Cupcakes are so rich and yummy that I found it very hard to wait ’til I’d finished taking photos so I could have one. (Actually…. I ate  two!!)  As you can see, the milk chocolate pieces on top of the cupcakes are melting. I just couldn’t wait!

I was pleasantly surprised how dense, moist and buttery the cupcakes turned out, and there’s the added yumminess of Marshmallow Fluff and Hershey Bars.  If you like S’Mores – you’re gonna LOVE these!!  In fact, I’d take one (or two) of these S’Mores Cupcakes over actual S’Mores anytime.

I actually baked a totally different recipe for S’Mores Cupcakes last week – but I did NOT like them at all.  So this time I tried something totally different – and something totally unexpected happened.  The Marshmallow Fluff slowly worked its way to the top of the cupcakes – while the milk chocolate chunks sunk to the bottom, which was actually perfect… albeit unplanned!

++ Recipe makes 12 cupcakes!   To make 24, double ingredients BUT do NOT double the salt.  Add 3/4 tsp. salt.
  • 12 paper cupcake tin liners
  • 1 cup graham crackers
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup room-temperature butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar   ++ NOT packed, just spooned into measuring cup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk  ++ I used 2 %
  • 12 heaping tsp. Marshmallow Fluff (marshmallow cream)
  • 4 Hershey bars total  – – 3 broken into pieces and 1 broken into rectangles to be placed on top.
  • ++ Any milk chocolate bar may be substituted for Hershey bars.
Method          Heat oven to 350F   Line 12-cup cupcake tin with paper liners

In medium bowl, whisk together 1 cup graham crackers, 1 cup flour, 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, with mixer set at medium-high, beat butter, 1/2 cup sugar and 1/4 cup (NOT packed) brown sugar until light and fluffy – about 2 minutes.

Beat in two eggs – one at a time – then add 1 tsp. vanilla.   ++  Scrape sides of bowl if necessary.

++  I goofed and used a small bowl to beat the eggs & sugar etc.

S'Mores Cupcakes -

Reduce mixer speed to low.  Beginning with dry ingredients, alternate adding dry ingredients and milk to butter/sugar mixture.  Mix until just combined.  Mix in the broken up pieces of Hershey milk chocolate bars.

Put a heaping tablespoon of batter into each paper-lined section.  Place 1 heaping teaspoon Marshmallow Fluff (marshmallow cream) on top of batter – followed by 1 heaping tablespoon of batter.  ++  Divide cupcake batter evenly for best results.

3 - S'Mores Cupcakes - (2)3 - S'Mores Cupcakes -


Bake at 350F for 20 – 24 minutes.  ++  My cupcakes were ready in 20 minutes.  The marshmallow cream will have risen to the top and browned slightly.  These S’Mores Cupcakes are so moist they may not look done when they actually are. To test for doneness insert a toothpick, or sharp knife, into the center. If the toothpick comes out clean, the cupcakes are fully cooked.

5 - S'Mores Cupcakes -

Leave cupcakes in tin and allow to cool – on a wire rack – for 10 minutes.  Remove S’Mores Cupcakes  from tin and cool fully…. unless you’re like me and just can’t wait!  When cupcakes are fully cooled, place a rectangle of milk chocolate into the marshmallow topping.  ENJOY!!

Final - S'Mores Cupcakes -

++ Recipe inspired by ‘s’mores cupcakes’ – – –  July 2014

Mason Jars ‘n More! Sharing Some Outdoor Decorating Ideas I’ve Saved on Pinterest

Happy Spring Everyone!! 

tulips - clipart

The last two days have been simply gorgeous – fierce sunshine accompanied by light breezes.  The daffodils broke out from their winter’s nap and are doing their very best to produce flowers in a few weeks…. which won’t be easy since, last summer, the guy who mows my lawn simply mowed over all the naturalized daffodils living under my big oak tree.  Spring flower bulbs need to absorb a good amount of sunshine through their leaves so they’ll have enough energy to push through the ground the next spring.

++ There’ve been years I’ve made fencing with small twigs and twine to protect (from my lawn mowing guy) the daffodils after they’d bloomed.  Those leave may not look like much – but they should remain until the tips begin to brown.  Only then can you be sure the bulbs will bloom in Full Force for the next spring.

duck in the rain++  I’d really love it if you shared some of your summer decorating ideas in the ‘comments’ section below.  (If you don’t see the comments section, click on the title of this post – which will bring you to another page.)

This morning the sun is hidden behind misty grey clouds and rain is soaking the thirsty perennials and bulbs.  So – I am forced to forget about working outside in my gardens.  Instead, I perused some of the great summer decorating ideas I’ve saved on Pinterest.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a few of these ideas, and that they might inspire you as they have done for me!   Enjoy !! 

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Mason Jars are so versatile… but you already knew that!  You can wrap them in twine and use them as vases – or as utensil holders for buffets or barbeques.  You can have the kids paint flowers on the outside, put a battery-powered ‘candle’ inside and, using florist wire, hang them from the nearest tree.  I’ve also tied raffia or ribbon to the tops of small mason jars and used them as candle holders. 

Mason Jar VASE... with twinePhoto Courtesy of Big Lots

Floating votives - mason jar - courtesy emmalinebride.com

Carnations in Mason Jar - courtesy of catchmyparty. com

Twig Vase - courtesy of Martha Stewart

outdoor tables from whiskey barrels and glass.

Whiskey Barrel Tables – easy and inexpensive.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea !! 

Eighteen inch Whiskey Barrels, sold at Home Depot, topped with 20′ glass table toppers from Bed, Bath and Beyond. is loaded with tons of excellent D.Y. I.outdoor ideas, including these tables.  I suggest you ‘drop by’.

I know the idea of placing a pot of flowers on an old chair is nothing new, but I’m finally going to do this  with an old ‘ladies rockerI’ve had for years. A ladies rocker is smaller than most old/antique rockers and there’s no arms on the rocker.

It took me awhile to be able to ‘save’ the photo of the chair on the right – but it was worth the effort.  I love the delicate lines of the back.  And I’ve been inspired to use yet another item from my barn – an old dining room chair.  Which means, if I actually get to it, I may have the ladies rocker in one area of my garden and the old dining room chair on my back porch.  (I’ll post photos of both, I promise.)

++ Follow link for directions to turn an old cane-seated chair into a flower display.   (Uses chicken wire and sphagnum moss.) 

ladies rocker - courtesy of wikiart.comChair with Flowers - courtesy of

To get the effect below, I suggest buying a hanging planter & removing the hanger.
And don’t forget, occasionally, to give all your potted plants a good dose of plant food !
courtesy of - media cache -
I hope these ideas have inspired you a bit – especially on a dark and dreary day such as today!

++ Woman in (Ladies) Rocking Chair – courtesy of

Mini Shepherd’s Pies (Also known as Cottage Pies)

Mini Shepherds Pies - and I do mean 'pies'!

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!

If you have parchment paper, place a strip, long enough so that it hangs out on each side, in each section of the muffin tin.  This will help when you remove the mini pies.

I had planned to share these with my neighbors…. but ended up eating them all – that’s how much I love them!  I based both the ground beef filling and creamy mashed potatoes on my recipe for Shepherds Pie, with a few adjustments.   – –

Mini Shepherds Pies are easy to make!  The recipe calls for purchased pie crust and – if you’re short on time – a 24 oz. container of ready-to-eat mashed potatoes can be used.  Making these mini pies is fun and easy – and so is eating them.

Ingredients and Method
  • 1 box refrigerated pie crusts
  • 24 oz. refrigerated mashed potatoes  –  OR  –  homemade mashed potatoes
  • Homemade Mashed Potatoes
  • 5 cups cubed Yukon Gold potatoes   ++ Peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
  •  3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 2 – 3 Tbs. butter
  • 1/3+ cup milk or Half and Half     ++  I used Half and Half
  • Ground Beef & Vegetable Filling
  • 1 Tbs. butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 medium-sized onion, chopped  ++ About 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 lb. ground (minced) beef  ++ I used 80%
  • 3/4 cup frozen corn     ++ No need to thaw
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas    ++ No need to thaw
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste    ++ Freeze tomato paste in 1 Tbs. portions in a ziploc bag. 
  • 1 beef or chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste

Place 5 cups chopped, peeled Yukon Gold potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan.  Add enough cold water to cover.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Lower heat and cover saucepan. Allow potatoes to simmer for 25 – 30 minutes or until potatoes can easily be pierced with a sharp knife.  ++  It’s better to cook the potatoes longer than end up with lumpy potatoes!!  I know – Been There – Done That!

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow

While potatoes are cooking, begin beef/veggie filling.  Place 1 Tbs. butter In a large non-stick skillet.  Add 1/3 cup chopped onion. Cook onions, stirring often, over medium heat until they soften.  Add 1/2 pound chopped (minced) beef.  Continue to cook until beef loses its pink color.  ++ Break up any large chunks of beef.   ++  Remove any extra grease, although I leave about 2 Tbs. – for the flavor.

Add 3/4 cup still-frozen corn and 3/4 cup still-frozen peas, 1/3 cup water, 1 Tbs. tomato paste, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/3 tsp. pepper and either a chicken or beef bouillon cube.

Mini Shepherds (Cottage) Pies - (2)

Continue cooking, stirring often, for an additional 4 to 5 minutes… until most of the liquid has been absorbed.  Set aside.

Now it’s time for the mini-pie crusts.  This is fun!  ++  Remove the pie crusts from the refrigerator about 15 minutes before so the crusts will be soft enough to work with.

Unroll pie crusts. Roll each crust into a 12″ circle, which only takes a second ’cause the crusts are almost that big already.  Using a 4″ circle (I used the 4″ top of a plastic food container – or you could use a piece of cardboard) cut out 12 circles.

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow Farmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow (2)


Place one pie crust circle in each of the sections of a 12-cup muffin tin.  Gently press pie crust to fit.

Bake at 400F for 8 minutes.  ++ Lower oven temperature to 350F once you’ve removed muffin tin with bottom crusts from oven.

Finishing the mashed potatoes

Mini Shepherds  Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!

Drain cooked potatoes. Mash down with a potato masher.  Add 2 – 3 Tbs. butter, 3/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper and approximately 1/3 cup milk – or ‘Half ‘n Half‘ – or Single Cream – and beat with a mixer until the potatoes are creamy but still stiff enough to hold their shape on top of the beef filling.

Putting it all together

Mini Shepherds Pies - My Yellow (3)

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, put a portion of the meat/vegetable filling in each section.  Top with 1/4 cup mashed potatoes.  ++ If you have extra mashed potatoes, add a bit more to each mini-pie.

Sprinkle with a bit of paprika to give the Mini Shepherds Pies a bit of color.  You know, part of finding a particular food delicious is often due to it’s color, so adding a bit of paprika not only makes things taste better but also gives them better eye-appeal.  You can also sprinkle on a bit of cheese!

Mini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!  myyellowfarmhouse.comMini Shepherds Pies - - and I do mean 'pies'!


Bake the Mini-Shepherds Pies at  350F  for 25 – 30 minutes.  Potatoes and crust will be slightly browned.     

++ Let stand 10 minutes before serving, which helps the pie crust to not fall apart when you remove the mini-pies.  Enjoy !!

Mini Shepherds Pies - and I do mean 'pies'!

++  Recipe adapted from

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce -
I just learned something….Toffee is basically sugar and butter. Caramel is sugar and cream or milk, with butter occasionally in the mix.  How about that?!
This was fun to make. But – if you’re short of time, you could buy a vanilla cookie crust and some caramel sauce.

This is actually my second attempt at making this pie! If you read my last post, I quoted Roseanne Roseannadana, “It’s always something. If it’s not one thing, it’s another.” And the ‘one thing’ happened to be that I fell and badly banged my head and sprained my wrist.  And the ‘other thing’ is that I ‘totaled’ the first version of this pie.  As I was placing my finished pie into the freezer, I scraped off about half the toffee candy and homemade caramel sauce on the ice maker. I attempted to repair the damage …. but the Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce just didn’t look right.  So, today, I made another pie.       And this version is perfect! 

  • 1 1/2 cups ground ‘Nilla Wafers – – or any other soft vanilla cookie
  • 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar      ++ NOT packed !!
  • 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • PLUS….
  • 1 pie pan      ++  NOT a deep dish pie pan
  • a quart of toffee crunch ice cream – slightly softened  
  • 2 English toffee bars, such as Heath, Score or Daim, broken into small pieces

CRUST – Combine 1 1/2 cups ‘Nilla Wafer crumbs, 2 Tbs. sugar and 1/3 cup melted butter in a medium bowl. Press crust mixture firmly on the bottom and sides of an 8′ or 9’ pie pan.  ++  I used a measuring cup today to press down the crust – and it came out much nicer than my first attempt!

1 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust - myyellowfarmhouse.com6 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust and Homemade Caramel Sauce


CARAMEL SAUCE In a medium saucepan melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat until it melts.  Add 1 cup light brown sugar  (NOT packed !!) and 1/4 cup dark Karo syrup.  Bring to a boil, stirring the whole time. Lower heat to medium and continue to boil – stirring – for about 4 minutes.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust -

Reduce heat to low.  Stir in 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Cook, stirring, for another minute.

Your finished product should look something like this.    ++ It’s best to leave the sauce in the saucepan, I just did this for ‘photographic purposes’ !

3 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust -

Place crust in freezer for 20 minutes.    Remove pie crust from freezer.     Drizzle about 2/3s of the caramel sauce over the pie crust.   ++  If your cookie crust isn’t too cold, you’ll be able to spread the caramel sauce.  Otherwise, just drizzle the caramel sauce onto the crust.

Toffee Ice Cream Pie -

Spread enough softened ice cream to fill the crust.

7- Toffee Ice Cream Pie with 'Nilla Wafer Crust and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Sprinkle broken up pieces of toffee candy on top of the ice cream. Drizzle the remaining caramel sauce over the candy bits.

++ The caramel sauce came out a bit too thin on my 1st try…. and it was a bit thick on my 2nd try – but it didn’t matter !!  When it was too thin, I put it in the fridge for a bit, and when it was too thick, I just added a bit of the heavy cream and gently rewarmed it.

Return pie to freezer for about 6 hours – or overnight.  ++  Pie will be easier to cut if you allow it to sit out for a few minutes after removing it from the freezer.   ENJOY !!

8 -Toffee Ice Cream Pie - (3)2nd - Toffee Ice Cream Pie with Homemade Cookie Crust and Caramel Sauce -

++  Recipe adapted from