Several years ago, after Hurricane Sandy devastated so much of the East Coast, help began to pour in immediately. But here in the farther inland parts of the U.S., we were left wondering what we could do, other than donate money?

In times of disaster, we all wish we were able to do more. Many people don’t want to give to a nebulous charity, fearing scams of all sorts.

One of my publishers friends, Rebecca Vickery, came up with the idea of a recipe book. The authors that wrote for her three imprints were asked if they wanted to contribute recipes to go in the book. The proceeds from the sales of the book would go to one of two charities, which we voted on. By a large margin, Save the Children was our choice.

The book was a work of love that we all participated in, some with more than one recipe. It was filled with quite a variety, and even though on the cover it says, “Featuring favorite holiday recipes by various authors”, there are several in this book that I have made all through the year.  Who can wait for the holidays to have some of these scrumptious treats–especially now when we are at home more and more?

I’m sharing my contributions with you today, but there are plenty more where this came from in this little gem of a book—many of them easy and geared for our hectic lifestyles. I’ve been cooking a lot more lately with the COVID-19 pandemic going on, so I’m always on the lookout for new and different recipes!

I can certainly vouch for the two below—Blonde Brownies has been a staple in our family since I was born. It was on a “Brownie” recipe sheet when both of my sisters belonged to a troop, and my mom was a leader. This recipe is one of those that doesn’t last long around our house—the ingredients are items you usually keep stocked, and it’s easy to make. Same with the Hello Dolly Bars.

Though the book is out of print, it’s still available in limited quantities on Amazon from 3rd party sellers. 



4 eggs

1 tsp. Vanilla

1½  cups flour

2 ½  cups brown sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

½  cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.



½ cup butter

1 ½  cup graham cracker crumbs

1 six oz. package chocolate chips (I always add extra!)

1 can Eagle Brand milk (sweetened condensed milk)

1 1/3  cups shredded coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

Pour melted butter into a 9×13 pan. Cover evenly with the following: graham cracker crumbs (press down to soak up the butter), nuts, chocolate chips, coconut. Pour milk on top. Bake at 350 F. until lightly brown or chips have melted (about 25 minutes). Cool before cutting.

(You can also add some butterscotch chips along with the chocolate chips for variation.)

Cheryl’s Amazon Author Page:

Blonde brownies are my go-to comfort food! I can eat them any time of the day or night!  Do you have a favorite recipe you love to make? PLEASE SHARE!


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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
I live in Oklahoma City with my husband of 40 years. I love to hear from readers and other authors--you can contact me here:
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    • I normally love cooking, but my husband has taken over a lot recently as pregnancy has sapped a lot of my energy. We have two children with allergies (dairy, peanuts, and soy) so I’ve spent a lot of time altering old favorites so they can enjoy them too. We recently discovered a company that makes dairy free white chocolate which is just as good (or better!) as regular. So my children have been delighted to discover peppermint bark. We melt dairy free dark chocolate for the base, sprinkle crushed candy canes over it, then add two layers of white chocolate, also with crushed candy canes sprinkled on top. They love it and we keep candy canes on hand year round, so it isn’t just a holiday treat.

      • JESS…that is my kind of recipe! I love peppermint bark. I remember my mom having some of that back when I was a kid and I asked her “What is that?” She said, “Peppermint bark.” I said…”YUCK! BARK?” She never said a word…LOLLOL I really do love that stuff and hate that it’s only “out there” at Christmas time. I’m going to try your recipe, because well, you know…it’s not good to buy 40 packages of that stuff at Christmas and try to eat a full year’s fill of it all at once…LOL Thanks for sharing!

    6 cups of Cornmeal= 3 batches of cornbread.

    6 biscuits all mashed up in large roaster
    1 tsp Natures Seasoning
    Cover dressing real lightly w/1 tsp poultry seasoning
    Pepper=fat tsp.
    Sage=2 tsp. (don’t add any more, this is perfect amount)
    Wash, clean, & chop a package of celery in 1/2 pieces and 1 large onion and add to dressing
    Then mix cornmeal dressing really good.
    Chicken broth- 2cans

    Beat eggs~ 3 big eggs & pour into dressing.
    More chicken broth- 2 cans
    1shredded red apple (right before cooking)
    1 more can of chicken broth
    Put turkey broth from cooked turkey in dressing until VERY MOIST (SOUPY)
    3 scrambled (not cooked) eggs pour in dressing and mix all again 1 more
    COOK 350 covered for 30 minutes and then uncover and bake another 30

    ENJOY, it will be the best dressing you ever tasted. My Mom is known in TX for her superb Dressing. She’s always elected to make & bring the dressing!!!!!!

    I’ve got to try your 2 recipes, they sound amazing, CHERYL. Have a blessed day.

    • Tonya, that sounds so good! It’s very similar to what I used to make when I still had a kitchen and a stove. Dressing is one of my favorite things to eat. I used to make it when I baked chicken. It’s also good with baked turkey pieces in it and all cooked together. That makes a great meal.

    • Tonya, that sounds soooo good! I love dressing. When I was growing up, my mom was the one who was always elected to bring the dressing, but sometimes her sister would make it. They had a very large family, so several pans of dressing were welcome! But I have not made her dressing in a while now–this sounds really good! I like that the apple is in there–my sister gave me a potato soup recipe that calls for 1 green apple grated up, and you sautee it with chopped onions to go in the soup. I don’t know what that apple does, but it makes a difference, and my husband who is not a soup person actually requests that I make that potato soup! Thanks for sharing this dressing recipe. I will definitely try this at Thanksgiving.

    • Laura, sometimes you just need some good ol’ comfort food. And believe me, I have comforted myself with these things more than once during this COVID time. LOL Hope you enjoy!

  2. Love the recipes. I have a really simple Butterfinger Cake my kids always request when they are home home
    Bake a box yellow cake mix in a 13×9 pan when done Poke holes all over it pour a 1/2 jar of caramel sauce and a 1/2 can of condensed milk over while cake is still warm. While cake is cooling mix 3 large crushed butterfinger candy bars with a container of Cool Whip and spread on cake once cake is completely cooled. Store in refrigerator or even freezer my bunch loves it straight from freezer especially in hot summer time.

    Just a hint as I hate to waste
    I usually take the remainder of the condensed milk and Carmel sauce and pour together in a plastic bowl and freeze until next cake.

    • Glenda, this sounds delish. Rob loves butterfingers so I will certainly try this. Love you my sweet Bestie.

    • OH, GLENDA! This sounds soooo good. I am making it! Butterfinger is tied with Milky Way for my favorite candy bar, but my dad LOVED Butterfingers above all else. He would volunteer to go do the grocery shopping when he and mom were older, and he’d go buy packages of Butterfingers and stash them away and eat them secretly, because when she went shopping and bought A PACKAGE (not multiples) of Butterfingers and brought them home, he would eat a couple at one sitting! LOL She’d get mad at him and say, “Your dad is just like a KID! He just has no self-control at all!” LOL If she’d ever made this cake I bet no one else would have gotten a piece but him. LOLLOL

    • I’ve been having to cook nonstop, Debra. We’re just not going out to eat or anything right now until this is all overwith. I’ve just given up on losing weight. SIGH.

    • I love to eat treats, period, Janine! LOL I will break down and bake them if I have to, and I’m a good baker, I just try not to make them because I will definitely eat them. Until they are GONE. LOL

    • I love chocolate brownies, too, Quiltlady. Have you ever had those brownies that Pizza Hut makes? Those things are sooo good. They’re “triple chocolate” or something like that and they are really excellent.

  3. the hello dolly bars, sound yummy, never been a fan of blond brownies,i give up on making brownies, i have tried, 8×8 9×13 even the perfect brownie pan, and this is from a mix, not homemade, they are either too gooey in the middle and burnt on the ends or hard as a rock

    • Elaine, you will be able to make those Hello Dolly Bars. They are easy to make and quick. Pretty rich, so you can cut them small if you are serving them at a get-together.

  4. I bet that is an awesome cookbook. I’m actually cooking about the same amount as before the pandemic. I’m a stay at home mom and we live in the middle of nowhere so we rarely eat out. I am missing my big day out with my girls we usually do once or twice per month, thrift stores, Goodwill, finding somewhere to take pictures and eating out. That day or two, doing my own grocery shopping, going to the YMCA to swim and not going to visit family at least 3x this year are the only changes in my life really. My oldest and I have auto-immune diseases so we just aren’t venturing out which I’m afraid I’ll end up regretting but it’s hard to know what to do with all the jumbled up info we’ve received. I didn’t like blond brownies as a child and haven’t tried them in years. I always just wanted a chocolate chip cookie, a little bit of crispness on the outside but a soft chewy cookie. I do love, love, love a chewy fudge like brownie but not a cake like brownie so I guess that is why I don’t particularly love a blond brownie.

    Recipes for summer:

    Cherry Delight Dump cake
    One recipe of angel food cake prepared torn into large bite size pieces, I large tub of cool whip, 1 large can of crushed pineapple, 1 large can cherry pie filling. We use a truffle bowl and start with about a 3rd of the cake put it on the bottom, top cake with 1/3 of cherry pie filling doloppeded around, then 1/3 of pineapple, the 1/3 of cool whip. Repeat 3 times. We do it in 3rd’s because it looks pretty in our truffle bowl which is maybe 7″-8″ wide. If using a larger container you’d need to just do 1/2 batches. Best if made the night before serving or even 2 days before.

    Dirt cake this is a large recipe version

    1 family size pkg of Oreo cookies crushed
    (Reserve 4 T for topping)
    2 large package cream cheese, softened
    2/3 cup butter, softened
    2 cups confectioners’ sugar
    6 cups cold whole milk
    2 large instant French vanilla pudding
    1 large carton frozen whipped topping, thawed

    In a bowl cream together cream cheese, butter with electric mixer until smooth and incorporated, add confectioners sugar and beat until well combined.
    In a separate bowl combine puddings and milk and beat for 2 minutes. Combine cream cheese mixture and pudding mixture then fold In cool whip. Place 1/3 of cookies in bottom of a container, top with 1/3 of pudding mixture and then repeat process twice more. Sprinkle remaining 4T of crushed cookies on top. For fun you can add gummy worms and then this is called worm in the dirt cake. Another fun tip is to serve it in a clean flower pot (be sure to cover any drain holes with duct tape) and if it is a flower pot with a dish, the inverted dish can be the lid. Best is made 1-2 days ahead.

    Be safe in these uncertain times!

    • Oh, gosh, both of those look wonderful! I think I have had the Dirt Cake many years ago at a birthday party one of my kids was invited to go to when they were really little. That was soooo good. I remember the gummy worms and how the kids got the biggest kick out of eating those! LOL And that cherry dump cake, I’ve had before, and it was wonderful. These are both going to be printed out and MADE at my house. Something different! Thanks Steph!

  5. These sound so good, Cheryl. I once participated in an author cookbook too and it was fun. Lord only knows what happened to it when I moved this last time. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of it. I love brownies and can eat them anytime. Sure wish I had a big pan of them right now. Or a little pan. I’m not particular. 🙂 Here at the Clairmont the chef occasionally makes a cherry cake that’s so good. It’s a white cake baked the normal way with holes punched in then cherry jello poured over it while it’s hot. He puts a thin white icing on top. It’s delicious. You could use any flavor of jello. You could even do a chocolate cake. Your blog made me hungry.

    • Linda, that cake sounds divine. I might use orange jello–I bet that would be really good. I love orange anything. LOL I had gotten to the point where I was not cooking much at all before COVID hit. Now I cook all the time. So last night I thought, I WANT PIZZA! I hadn’t had one in a long time, and Gary is not eating “stuff like that” anymore. So I ordered my pizza and waited, so hungrily. When it came, I had Gary’s dinner ready and I went into the kitchen and opened the lid on my pizza and…they had delivered the wrong one! Of course they were gone. I called and told the manager and she gave me credit for the next time I order, but…sigh. All that and bleh…it was “okay” but not what I was looking forward to. LOL About that cake, I bet you could do a chocolate cake and use chocolate pudding (the hot kind)–that would be sooo rich, but sooo good. LOL

  6. Welcome today. Yum thank you for the recipes. Funny, my grandmother had recipe cards like this. I still have a few of them. Both my husband and I love brownies. Unfortuately I have to eat gluten/soy free. So they are a bit different but still good. I have changed the recipe over a period of time to fit us.
    quilting lady 2 at comcast dot net

    • Hi Lori! My daughter is trying to eat gluten free, too. I bet you could make this brownie recipe with gluten free flour. Brown sugar and flour are the main ingredients in that one (and of course I put a lot more chocolate chips than the original recipe calls for!) LOL I have boxes of recipe cards. Some were my mom’s but I always had them growing up and during all my married years, and it’s hard to “switch” to anything else. LOL Thanks for stopping by today, Lori!

  7. Lots of good recipes here. I love brownies and blondies. one advantage is how easy they are to fix. I usually fix them when we are having the kids’ families over. Chocolate chip cookies are always a good treat. For me, if I am craving a good dessert, I’ll make a pie. I make fruit pies from whatever is in season. We will have a slice for dessert and then have it for breakfast. If the kid’s are over, I’ll make at least 2 pies to assure leftovers and some for them to take home if they want. I haven’t done much baking during isolation. We would eat it and neither of us need to gain any more. We have actually been losing weight. We have been cooking a little more, but we never ate out that often. My husband is actually missing it more than I am. We live too far out in the country for delivery and it doesn’t make sense to drive 20 to 30 miles for a burger and fries. When he does go into town to run errands, he will on occasion pick up a Blizzard/Blender (Heath Bar for me) on the way home, hoping they don’t melt too much before he gets here. Come to think of it, we have only had take-out 3 times since March. One of those was pizza which I have craved a few days, but we are usually too lazy to take the time to drive that far to get it. He usually does any errand running right when stores open in the morning, so it is too early to pick up take out for lunch.
    Sorry, off topic again. Stay safe and healthy.

    • Patricia, I got so mad the other day over ordering a pizza FINALLY and then when it came it was the wrong thing. SIGH. It’s the little things, you know? LOL We have a Dairy Queen here in OK City. ONE! And it’s a drive for us, so we don’t go there. My sister lives in a small town and they have a Dairy Queen that I look forward to going to when I visit her. Those Blizzards are wonderful things! LOL I am not a pie maker–probably because my mom didn’t make a lot of pies when I was growing up. Both my sisters were much older than I was, so when I was young, the house was full of teenagers and cakes went a lot further than pies. Mom told me she would sometimes make 2-3 cakes a WEEK so there would be desserts and snacks for everyone when they came. So glad you stopped by! You did make me want one of those Blizzards, though! LOL

  8. You had me with the Dolly Bars, Cheryl. I love coconut anything. And I think I have everything on hand but the condensed milk which may be too old. These look like really quick and easy recipes. Thanks for the great recipes. A big favorite around here, that I only make lately at Christmas is Sex-in-a-Pan. I double the recipe so there’s lots….it doesn’t last long with my five guys

    • Let me know how you like them Elizabeth. Those are one of my very favorite treats and they are so easy to make. I don’t usually like coconut in any kind of candy, cookies, cake, or pie. Shiver… I love it fresh! I don’t drink anything that tastes like coconut either, but I love the smell of it. My mom was a coconut lover–sometimes she’d buy herself Almond Joy candy bars because she knew I wouldn’t find them and eat them up. LOL But this recipe for Hello Dolly Bars is an exception. I buy shredded coconut just for this recipe when I make it. So sometimes I feel like to avoid waste, I need to make ANOTHER recipe of it when the first one is gone…LOL Thanks for stopping by!

  9. These recipes sound absolutely scrumptious, Cheryl! I do have a sweet tooth. 🙂 Tonya’s dressing recipe sounds delicious too and much like my mom used to make minus the shredded apple.

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