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Mini St. Patrick's Day Donuts

I hail from the land of the original glazed doughnut , and to this day they're my favorite kind.  There are few bites as good as a warm, sweet Krispy Kreme doughnut, hot out of the fryer. They melt in your mouth. You can never hide the fact you just ate one (say, on your lunch break, in the car) because the whisper-thin layer of sugar that gently coats them flakes off at the slightest touch, leaving a trail of tell-tale sweetness on your shirt.  And they're even still divine with a cup of hot coffee the next day. I used to work with an editor named Mike who had the rewarm protocol down pat. "It only takes eight seconds," he'd say. "Any less is not enough. Any more is too much." Around these parts, Krispy Kreme was a religion unto itself for a long, long time. But then something happened. That other donut-maker came to town. The one with the shortened spelling. The one that sold not only regular-size donuts but also the center out of each. (Wha

Chocolate Butterscotch Muffins

Why chocolate? Let me count the ways. Because my 7-year-old is begging for bakery-style muffins that cost $5 for 2, but I know I can whip up an entire recipe of them at home for a lot less. And yes, he wants those huge ones that are soft, slightly chewy, and incredibly chocolaty—chocolaty to the point they leave your fingertips coated in delicious chocolate goo to enjoy after the last real bite. This recipe is a lot like that, but these muffins are smaller and aren't filled with three days of calories. That's why chocolate. Why chocolate? Because I spent the better part of Saturday in the backyard with my daddy, my kids, and my dear husband, building and installing two of three raised vegetable garden boxes. And two of three means all that hoeing, digging, raking, and carting clods of grass in the wheelbarrow isn't finished because there is one more box to go. That's why chocolate. Why chocolate? Because although I did all that yard work this weekend I actua

Cheesy Baked Beef and Noodles

There are only a few basic things you need to know about this recipe. 1. I made it three times in a month. 2. One of those times was Christmas Day. All my guests raved. 3. It's easy and inexpensive and it feeds a lot of people. Just add a crisp, vinegary salad to cut the cheesy richness. 4. Every time I serve it someone asks for the recipe. So obviously it'll make you famous in your 'hood. 5. Best of all? Leftovers are even more delicious. That means Sunday lunch easily becomes Monday dinner. Bam. Enjoy! Cheesy Baked Beef and Noodles Adapted from Together as Family Printer-friendly version 1 lb ground beef Half a white onion, chopped 1/4 tsp Italian seasoning 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes Pinch of nutmeg 1 15-oz can tomato sauce 1 12-oz bag egg noodles 1 8-oz container sour cream 1 16-oz container cottage cheese 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese 1. Heat oven to 350 F. 2. In large pan over medium-high heat, brown ground beef until no pink remains. Add

Old-Fashioned Drop Sugar Cookies

These cookies were one of my Maw Maw's favorite recipes. The original version was written by a woman named Jane who at one time attended our church. I only remember from her time at a local nursing center that I often visited with my Girl Scout troop. She was a gentle lady, and she stands out in my memory because she carried around a stuffed gray kitten; it was her baby. I remember thinking what a wonderful grandmother she must have before she was unable to remember the life around her. If I close my eyes and think hard enough, I can still feel her frail shoulders and hear her tiny singsong yet unintelligible voice. There was a particular small giggle she would make when you paid attention to her kitten. It was sad and darling at the same time. Interestingly enough, I remember making these the last Christmas season Maw Maw was able to communicate—she had also started to quickly lose the ability to talk because of her Alzheimer's diagnosis. She was so easily frustrated bac