Posted in In The Kitchen


I know you know all about lemonade. We make that here, too. And I know you know limeade. We have that on occasion. The real hit around my house is orangeade. My kids love it. I love it. The Pastor loves it. Guests love it (for the most part). And it is super duper simple to make. Basically, it is just like making lemonade, only with oranges. Nothing ground breaking or revolutionary here.

– 4 medium oranges

– 1 cup of sugar

– water

– a gallon pitcher or jug of some sort

Put a couple cups of water on to boil. (I have friends who just microwave water in a pyrex measuring cup. I use my tea kettle on the stove because I have no microwave.)

Pour the cup of sugar into your pitcher. Cut 4 oranges in half. Squeeze the oranges into the pitcher. Throw at least half of the orange “skins” into the pitcher. (If you skip this, for some reason, your orangeade tastes a little weak. Same for any other citrus-ade.)

Pour the hot water over the orange juice, orange skin, and sugar. Stir until the sugar is melted. Add cold water to fill the pitcher.

That is it. And you’ll love it. You should also try with grapefruits. It is fabulous! (3 medium grapefruits or 2 huge grapefruits)

Posted in In The Kitchen

Southern Squash

Yellow squash is a staple food here in the south. It grows crazy easily. (If you’re looking for a vegetable to plant that kids will enjoy tending to, plant squash. You’ll get results for sure. Unless you live in Greenland. I’m not sure squash would grow all the way up there.) There are lots of ways to cook yellow squash. You can fry it. You can cover it in cornmeal and bake it. I prefer to cook it this way.

Get yourself some yellow squash and some shallots. (If you are unclear on what a shallot is and you don’t care to try it OR your local grocer doesn’t have them- you can use any onion for this recipe.) I usually cook about one squash per person, 1/2 for kids. So, on this day, I had 6 adults and 9 kids, so I cooked 10 squash. As for the amount of shallots, I use 1 per 3 squash. So, on this day that I cooked 10 squash, I added 3 shallots.

Step 1: Slice your shallots and your squash.

Step 2: Add a few T of olive oil to a pan. (The size of your pan depends on the amount of squash you’re cooking. If you’re cookin’ for less than 4 people, a skillet is big enough. If, like me, you’re cookin’ for the masses, you need a big ole pot.) Once the oil gets warm, add the shallots. Stir. Cook until the shallots are softish. Add the squash and sautee with the shallots for a few minutes. Add salt to taste. (Pepper if you’re feelin’ it.)

Step 3: Add just enough water to cover the squash. Once the water comes to a boil, lower the heat, cover it, and let it simmer.

Step 4: Well, the simmering was really the end. You just simmer it until everything else is done cooking. Or, until the squash is your preferred consistency. I’ll tell ya, the southern way is to cook it to mush. That’s it. Sometimes an older Southern lady will tell you to “cook it down.” That just means cook it until you’re ready for dinner. You can “cook it down” in 15 minutes. Or you can “cook it down” in 45.

It doesn’t look pretty, but everyone in your house will love it. Kids will even eat it. (Shocking, I know!) Enjoy!

Posted in In The Kitchen

Pecan Spice Cupcakes with Rum Icing

I decided to make these cupcakes for the Faith Methodist Church Christmas party. Let me tell you, they are yummy! I think these are my new favorite cupcakes.

For the cupcakes:

2 and 3/4 cups AP flour

1 and 1/2 t baking soda

1 and 1/2 t baking powder

1 T ground cinnamon

2 t ground nutmeg

1 t ground ginger

1 t salt

1 and 1/2 sticks butter

1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (I used light)

3 large eggs

1 T vanilla

1 and 1/2 cups of buttermilk (buttermilk for cupcakes makes them so light and fluffy!)

1 cup roughly chopped pecans

In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. I use a whisk to make sure they are well mixed. Set this bowl aside.

Beat butter until it is light and fluffy. Add brown sugar to the butter and mix until smooth. Once butter and brown sugar are well mixed, add one egg at a time. Once eggs are well mixed, add about half the flour mixture. Mix until well combined.  Add vanilla and buttermilk- mix until well combined. Add the rest of the flour mixture. Mix until well combined. Add in the pecans and mix them in.

Spoon your batter into cupcake cups. (Will make between 2 and 3 dozen cupcakes, depending on how full you make your cups.) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Now the rum icing! Yep, I said rum! Yum! So, I was sitting there thinking, “What kind of icing will go with pecan spice cupcakes?” My usual cream cheese icing has a bit of a citrus taste, which I didn’t want. I come up with the idea to make cream cheese rum icing. It turned out so yummy! Here’s what you need:

3 blocks of cream cheese

3 sticks of butter

powdered sugar (amount is up to you- probably between half a cup and 2 cups)

rum (use what you’ve got. Don’t have any? This Tattoo rum by Captain Morgan is on the sweet side- perfect for desserts.)

You can scale this recipe down. I find that 2 blocks/2 sticks is not quite enough for 2 dozen generously iced cupcakes, so I use 3/3 and have a bit of icing left over. (Which The Pastor eats with graham crackers for a midnight snack.) If you don’t like a lot of icing on your cupcakes, 2 blocks/2sticks will be enough.

Set out the cream cheese and the butter while you’re working on your cupcakes. They’ll be room temperature by the time you get around to making the icing.

Mix the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add about 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Add a few T of rum. Blend well. Taste. (I keep plenty of spoons on hand when making icing because I taste quite often.) Add more powdered sugar as you see fit. (Some folks like super sweet icing. Others like not overly sweet icing. I fall in between. I use about a cup of powdered sugar.) Add more rum to taste. I used about 1/4 cup of rum. I didn’t want it too rummy. But you may want it more rum tasting, so add more if you like!

Once your icing is mixed to your liking, spoon the icing into a gallon size freezer bag and place in the fridge. When your cupcakes have completely cooled and you’re ready to ice, knead the bag of icing a bit, cut off one corner of the bag, squirt icing onto cupcakes. Top the icing with a pecan. Eat and enjoy!

(You can also drizzle a little rum over each cupcake before serving. Adds a little extra zip to it!)

Posted in In The Kitchen, Under Our Roof

Big Foot Cannot Hide From Me!

Bugaboo Creek left us. I know! So sad. I began thinking about their menu and what exactly I’d miss. Wedge salad? I can get that elsewhere. Steak? On every corner. Big foot cookie? Oh. My. Milk. Where on earth am I going to get a big foot cookie?!

What? You don’t know what a big foot cookie is? Giant chocolate chip cookie cooked and served in an iron skillet and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now you see my panic! Now you are going crazy trying to figure out how you’ll ever have one of these awesome treats! Calm down. I figured it out. (With the help of The Pastor. That man can cook!) Now you can have a big foot cookie at home! (Send your waistline my apologies!)

Sorry that I couldn’t stop myself in time to get a picture of my cookie uneaten. I got too excited!

Get your iron skillet. We have a huge one and a not so huge one. (Very specific, huh?) Our not so huge skillet is bigger than the ones Bugaboo had, but what can you do? Rub butter all over the inside surface of your skillet. Sprinkle in crushed graham crackers in the bottom. (If you don’t have graham crackers, which I didn’t, use wheat germ and a pinch of brown sugar.) (I know. It is probably weird that I had wheat germ on hand but not graham crackers. That’s just how it is around the parsonage.) Take chocolate chip cookie dough and make a “pancake” out of it roughly the size of your skillet and about half the thickness of your skillet. Put it in the oven (on a typical 350 – 375 cookie baking temp) and wait! (It takes a good 40 minutes or so to bake, depending on your skillet size.) Once your cookie looks done (same eye you use for regular cookies- brown edges, golden top) take it out to cool. Don’t let it cool completely! Big foot cookies are best eaten hot! (Just not so hot you get 3rd degree burns in your mouth.) Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream straight on top of the cookie in the skillet, grab a spoon, an dig in! (You can share if you are so inclined.)

My Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Recipe:

– 2.25 c all-purpose flour

– 1 t baking soda

– 1/4 t salt

– 1 c butter

– 3/4 c sugar

– 3/4 c brown sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 8 oz. chocolate chips of choice

Posted in At The Sewing Table, In The Kitchen, On The Reading Chair, Under Our Roof, With The Kids

Tea Party Birthday Party

Imogene turned 5 last week. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. On one hand, yes, it seems like she was just born. But on the other hand, it does seem like she’s been with us forever, not just 5 short years. Anyway, for her party, she wanted a tea party. I declared that the party had to be outdoors and I would be “keeping it simple.” I somehow managed to stick to the simplicity despite her constant nagging about how fancy the party should be. I think I pulled off simple and fancy. (Though, it is my version of fancy, which is very shabby chic.) She was thrilled and I didn’t go into labor with all the work, so I’m calling it a job well done!

Remember me raving about the cookbook Sweet Chic? Well, these vanilla cookies covered in colored sugar came from that cookbook. They look amazing. So pretty. (The trick to get the sugar to stay on in such quantities is to use an egg white wash on the cut cookies before baking and sprinkle the sugar on before you bake. The egg white glues the sugar onto the cookie.) They tasted amazing. I didn’t have a single cookie left over.

I got 3 pots of Mexican Heather to put on the tables. (Which will now be planted in the yard.) I just put some pink tulle around the pots to make them look fancier.

I searched high and low for cups for the party. Imogene insisted we use fancy cups and not just plastic Dixie cups. It finally occurred to me the week of the party what to do! I went to TJ Maxx and looked in their clearance section for cups. I found several boxes of random glasses for $4 and $5 a box. So, I bought 26 random glasses (some wine glasses, a few highballs) for $20. I figured if the kids broke them, they weren’t my crystal glasses or anything, so I really wouldn’t care. Turns out, not a single glass got broken. (Had I used my crystal, at least half of them would have been broken. But since I planned for the breaking, none got broken.) Kids love drinking out of wine glasses. I’m not really sure why, but even the boys thought it was great.

Also from the book Sweet Chic came these yummy little cupcakes. These are vanilla cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. I colored the icing the yummy yellow color. I’m really not very good at cake decorating. Actually, truth be told, I am very bad at it. So, I make cupcakes. Imogene picked the pearl sprinkles and the icing color. They were also very, very yummy. Seriously, this vanilla buttercream icing is some of the most tasty icing I’ve ever had in my life. I know they aren’t beautiful, but they were super yummy. And since it was so hot, the icing was getting a bit melty sitting out. So, it is probably a good thing I didn’t try to make them beautiful.

It was a tea party, but not a hot tea party. (It is summer in Georgia, after all.) We had a sweet tea bar instead. We had blackberries, peaches, lemons, limes, and mint to mix into your sweet tea to make in fancy. It was a hit! Everyone, kids and adults, seemed to enjoy mixing their fancy sweet tea and experimenting with flavors. (Blackberry mint was a big hit. My personal favorite was lime and mint. Yum.)

The birthday girl getting ready to blow out her candles. I realized when putting up pictures, that I completely failed to get a good shot of her in her dress. Ugh. Fail on my part, since the dress was so very cute.

Here is the closest to a full shot of the dress. It is a pillowcase dress with one bigger ruffle around the bottom and 3 rows of ruffles on the top front. I didn’t use a pattern, I was just winging it. Imogene picked out her fabric (she loves picking out her own fabric) and then asked that I make a dress with “fruffles on the bottom and lots of fruffles on the top.” She was thrilled with the outcome. It did look a little busy once she put on several necklaces with the ruffles at the top.

I put pillowcases on the backs of the folding chairs, then tied pink tulle (she picked that out, too) around the chairs. I made the pillowcases with fabric from my stash. I’ve been trying to get my stash down to a normal size and use a lot of it up. This party turned into the perfect opportunity to thin my stash!

To make the pillowcases: Cut the fabric length to between 32″ and 36″. (Finished length should be between 31″ and 34″.) You’ll use the whole width of the fabric. Just fold the fabric in half, selvage to selvage, with the wrong side of the fabric together and sew the top and side. Finish the seams the way you like. (I serge mine.) Hem the bottom open end. And you’re done. Once you figure out how to make a solid one, you can experiment with piecing different fabrics together for different looks. Add piping, ribbon, bias tape, ruffles, etc. as you see fit. They really are quick and fun. (Plus, you could make them as gifts. Kids LOVE having their own special pillowcase. With all the fun novelty fabric out there, you could make a special pillowcase for every kid in your life.)

I also made the tablecloths with stash fabric. My tables were 8 foot long folding tables (borrowed from the church). I cut random pieces of fabric in random lengths. (I kept a pad of paper next to the ironing board and wrote down the lengths as I cut them.) When I got to around 9 ft. (108″) I quit cutting. I pieced all those together, lining up one side of the selvages. I sewed the cut sides together. When I had all of them sewn together, I used a yard stick to even out the selvage side that was uneven. (Some fabrics are 44″ wide, some are 45″, and some are closer to 42″. I just picked the shortest side and cut all the others to match it.) I then had a 9 ft. long (maybe a couple inches more) and about 40″ (plus an inch or two) wide piece of fabric. I knew that would cover the table, but wouldn’t give much “hang” over the sides. So, I grabbed another piece of fabric and 3 pieces 10″ long. I sewed those strips together selvage to selvage. Then, I sewed that long strip down the side (just pick one of the 9ft. sides) of the larger piece. You’ll have some leftover when you get to the end. Just grab a rule and cut it off, making sure the corner is squared. I serged all the seams on the back of the tablecloth. I then serged around all the edges. That is it. If you don’t have a serger, you’ll have to finish you edges some other way. (I’d recommend a double fold hem, even though it’d take some time.) You could tuck under your serged edges and finish them, but I just left them. I used blue and green serging thread, so the edges looked pretty neat just serged.

I also made homemade popsicles. Of course, I have no pictures of them. They were Southern Sweet Tea Popsicles from the book Pops! I bought a popsicle mold (well, 2) that I could use wooden popsicle sticks in. I made the popsicles and put them into little Wilton bags. (I think they were large sucker bags or something.) Then, everyone had a little bag with a popsicle inside. They were a big hit. Very yummy. They were super strong, super sweet tea base with peaches and mint added to them. The frozen peach slices in the popsicles were heavenly. Seriously. I’m not sure I can ever go back to buying boxes of popsicles now that I know I can make my own gourmet popsicles for half the cost that taste 10x better! Kids and adults LOVED the popsicles.

As far as activities went, I didn’t plan any. I’m not big on planning out birthday party activities. It just isn’t my thing. It stresses me out to keep things on track and I stress the kids out trying to keep them on task. We put our kid size play tables in the driveway and set a box of sidewalk chalk on them, several containers of bubbles, and a few jump ropes on them. We also had a few of the kids outdoor riding toys out (not planned, I just forgot to put them in the garage). That was plenty to keep the kids all entertained and happy for 2 hours. The adults sat sipping sweet tea and eating cupcakes and cookies while the kids ran around the yard, drew pictures in the driveway, and blew millions of bubbles. Aidan also showed everyone how he rides his inchworm down our front sidewalk. (It really isn’t something for the faint of heart. That boy is going to be into extreme sports, I just know it.) Of course, none of the other kids were really brave enough to try it. (Or their parents were really into letting them try such a feat.) But he had fun showing them how fast the inchworm could go. (And if you have a reckless boy of your own, I will say that an inchworm down a hill is much better than most of the other riding toys we own. The inchworm can only move forward, so there is no accidental rolling backward down the hill on their way up the hill. It also only goes straight. No steering wheel. That greatly reduces the turn overs on the way down. You may want to look into buying your little daredevil one.)

All in all, I think the party was a success. And it was pretty easy to pull off. (I did have to make a schedule for the food making, since I didn’t want to get stuck having to do it all the day of the party. A week before, I made the first batch of popsicles. The Monday before, I made the second batch of popsicles. The Wednesday before, I made the cookies. The day before, which was Thursday, I made the cupcakes and the icing, but didn’t put them together. The day of, I iced the cupcakes. The Pastor made the tea and the ice. Then, an hour before the party, we set up everything.)

Posted in In The Kitchen

Christmas Party Recipes

For our annual church Christmas party, I racked my brain trying to come up with something to take! (The church provides the meat. The sides and desserts are potluck style.) I don’t usually cook things that are potluck friendly, so I was in a jam.

Then I remembered this great black eyed pea salad that I had made for a potluck in Ackerman one time. And while no one in Ackerman seemed to particularly like it, I liked it. So, if nothing else I knew I’d eat it. (And The Pastor would eat it out of sympathy for my failing dish!) It was actually a hit this time! Surprise to me! It makes a lot, but is good cold or warm, so you can make it not for a potluck and have it on hand for lunch food in your fridge! And I made it with purple hull peas this time since black eyed peas were NO WHERE to be found!

I also decided to take homemade tortilla chips and two dips! Even though I knew there would be sausage dip aplenty, I figured a couple more dips wouldn’t hurt. Especially since there were homemade chips involved! Below are the recipes for the chips and two dips!

Homemade Tortilla Chips

Homemade tortilla chips are so yummy and so easy! You’ll wonder why you ever settled for bag chips before! The Pastor likes corn chips, I like flour. We don’t make our own tortillas, we buy the small ones (taco size) and cut them into 6ths. Then you just toss ’em in smallish batches into the deep fryer until they are crispy. That is it.

Pico De Gallo

So, when I go to a Mexican restaurant, I always have them add pico de gallo to the top of my food. When I make Mexican food at home, I want pico de gallo on top! It adds extra freshness and flavor to a heavy meal. And, of course, you can eat pico de gallo (also known as “fresh salsa”) with just chips. (Though I am always tempted to eat it alone with a spoon!)






Chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapeno. Toss together, Squeeze lime juice over it and salt to taste. (My usual ratio is 7 or 8 small tomatoes, 1 yellow onion, 1 bunch of cilantro, and 1 jalapeno. Like it more spicy? Add more jalapenos! Like more onion? Add more. You can customize it to fit your tastes and size needs!)

Black Bean Dip

I made this one up on the fly. I usually use this (though I smash it up a bit) for filling in my enchiladas. I figured it would make a good dip, too. And it did.

2 cans black beans (drain but don’t rinse)

1 jalapeno

1/2 large yellow onion



chili powder

Chop onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Add a little (a tablespoon or so) olive oil to a pan and sautee the onion, garlic, & jalapeno. When the onions are soft enough for you, add the black beans and heat through, stirring to make sure nothing sticks. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt to taste. (I like about a tablespoon of cumin & a teaspoon of chili powder.) That it is! If you’re using it as dip, then dip away. To use as filling, mash the beans up a bit with the back of a fork and roll into 8″ tortillas and add sauce and cheese. (I then put mine in the oven to make the cheese nice and melty.)

We also took Cranberry Sauce to the party. But that is The Pastor’s deal. I’m not sure how he makes it. You’ll have to harass him for it!

Posted in In The Kitchen

The Best Roast Beef Sandwich

I have had so, so many requests for how to make my unbelievable roast beef sandwiches and for the horseradish sauce I make to go with. So, instead of writing the recipe over and over, I figured I would share it here! Believe me, this is how you make a man happy!

I got both recipes (for the roast beef and for the sauce) on Recipe Zaar. Of course, I made my little changes and it turned out beyond perfect!!!


For roast:    3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast

soy sauce

1 beef bouillon cube

1 bay leaf


dried rosemary

garlic powder

dried oregano


For horseradish sauce (taste like Arby’s horsey sauce):

horseradish (I got the jar of minced stuff)




white vinegar

For sandwich assembly: french bread

cheese (I used muenster, but anything creamy would work well.)

The original recipe for the roast beef is a slow cooker recipe. If you work or like your slow cooker, you can go with that. My slow cooker has been broken for 6 years and I never missed it, so I never replaced it. (Though the dumb, broken thing is sitting in my cupboards and somehow manages to move with us every time. Why? Who knows!) I changed the recipe to an oven roasting method. You can change it back if you want. Ready for this super roast that will make your man think you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day?

Put the beef in your roasting pan. (I used my shallow one.) Pour soy sauce over it and cover the bottom of the pan in soy sauce. (I do not measure things unless I am baking.) Pour a couple cups of water over the roast. Sprinkle the roast with dried herbs and throw the peppercorns on top (I threw in a small handfull of peppercorns). Throw in the beef bouillon cube. Place the bay leaf on top. Put the lid on your roasting pan and put it in the oven (on 300 for the first 2 hours, then turn it down to 250 for the next few hours). Don’t touch it. I cooked mine for 5 hours, but it could have gone 6 and it was probably done at 4.

To make your horseradish sauce, you’ll need a container with a lid. Mix a few Tablespoons of horseradish (I did a little under 3.) with about twice as much mayo. Add a couple teaspoons of sugar, a dash (maybe a Tablespoon or so) of vinegar, and a pinch of sugar. Mix it up and refrigerate!

Assemble your sandwiches just before serving. (I pull the beef apart with a fork.) Spoon the sauce from around the beef into small bowls for dipping! (Believe me, you want the au jus!) Put on an apron and make him think you spent all day in the kitchen making the perfect roast! (Warning: he will insist you cook this often once he’s tasted it once! The beautiful children even ate this and loved it! Made about 6 sandwiches (most eaten by The Pastor).

Posted in In The Kitchen

Unimpressive Pie

I thought I would let you in on a little secret. Fruit pie is EASY to make. Like, ridiculously easy! I say “unimpressive” pie, because once you realize how a simple fruit pie is made, you’ll never be impressed by one again. You’ll just think, “Well, I can do that!” Here is how you make a simple, unimpressive to those in the know, pie. (I realize I am revealing one of my secrets and now no one will be impressed when I bake a pie. But it is still tasty. If you want to be impressive, you may want to keep the recipe a secret.)

Pick a fruit. Blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are super easy since they require no cutting- just wash them! Peaches work beautifully. You can try any fruit, but these 4 seem to work best to me. (For peaches, just wash and then cut them into smaller chunks that will cook quicker.)

Get a package of rolled pie crust. (They come in packs of two, and you’ll need both for your fruit pie. Pillsbury makes a nice one or the Kroger brand is good.)

About a cup of sugar to pour over your fruit.

About half a stick of butter.

Wash your fruit. If you need to cut it, do so. Put it in a bowl and pour about a half a cup to a cup of sugar over it. You can let it sit like this for 24 hours if you want, or go ahead and use it.

Unroll the first pie crust into your pie pan. Dump the fruit and sugar in. Cut pats of butter and place around in the pie. Put them wherever you like, just space them out. You can use as much or as little as you want. Unroll the second pie crust over the top of the pie. Roll the edges of the top crust over the edges of the bottom crust and press to the edge of the pie pan. Cut a few slits in the top of the pie crust.

Put your pie in the oven. (I usually bake mine at around 400 degrees. To keep the edges from getting too brown, you can take it out after 15 minutes and put aluminum foil strips around just the edges.) Bake until the top looks done.

That’s it. It is that easy. You can let it cool, put it in the fridge, or serve it hot. If you serve it hot out of the oven, you are going to have a lot of “juice” in your pie. The easy remedy is to cut one piece of pie (for the cook?!) and then either carefully drain by pouring straight from the pie into the sink, or you can use a small ladle to scoop the extra juice out. If you let your pie cool completely, you won’t have this problem- but I cannot resist pie straight from the oven, so I end up draining mine so we can eat it right away.

Now you know how unimpressive my simple fruit pie really is. It usually takes me longer to decide what fruit to use than it does in actual labor making the pie. Here are some really good fruit combos you should try:

Triple Berry (Blackberry, Raspberry, and Blueberry)

Blackberry Peach

Lemon Blueberry (Just squeeze a little lemon juice and put some lemon zest in your blueberry sugar mixture. Usually one lemon is plenty!)

Play with it and figure out what fruit you like best! And you can tell yourself it is semi-healthy since you made it with fresh fruit. (I know that is how I justify my second or third piece!)

Posted in In The Kitchen

Twinkie Tiramisu

The Pastor loves Tiramisu. For our fifth anniversary last Saturday, we all went to eat at an Italian joint and ate some tiramisu for dessert. For Father’s Day, the Pastor requested I make him some of my fabulous Twinkie Tiramisu. Of course, I made it for him. Would you like to know how to make it? It is super easy!

First, you need to know what to buy, right? Get a box of regular Twinkies, a regular sized tub of Cool Whip, a box of instant vanilla pudding mix, and you’ll need a little cocoa for sprinkling on top and about a sup of coffee.

You will have one extra Twinkie for eating when you make this dessert! I call it a treat for the cook! (Even though there is really nothing to cook- this is all assembly.

Arrange 9 Twinkies in a square dish. It is a tight fit, but as you can see, they do fit. Pour the cup of coffee over the Twinkies. Try not to add too much- you really just want it to soak into the Twinkies. If you prefer it to have a stronger taste- you can brew super-strong coffee or use expresso.

In a bowl, mix the instant vanilla pudding according to the directions of the package. Once you have it mixed up (before it sets), add about a third of the Cool Whip to the pudding. Mix it up well. It makes your pudding oh-so-light-and-fluffy!

Pour the pudding mixture over your coffee-soaked Twinkies. (You’ll notice mine in the picture has chocolate chips. That is because I didn’t have regular vanilla pudding on Sunday. I only had vanilla pudding with chocolate chips. It worked. It was actually pretty good.) Try to get it evenly on there.

Now, take the rest of the Cool Whip and spoon it over top of the pudding. Spread it over and make it look nice. Now, sprinkle cocoa on top! (You can use as much or as little as you want. I like mine to have a good  heavy dusting of cocoa.) Put it in the fridge to let the pudding set. (It really only needs about 15 minutes or so to set perfectly.)

Serve and enjoy!