Category Archives: Dessert

Avocado Brownies

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That’s right.  You heard me.  Avocado BROWNIES.

My initial reaction was, “gross… I have to try these!” And when I did, they were surprisingly fudgy and delicious!

I have mentioned before how I have an addiction to chocolate.  I’m not kidding… chocolate addiction is very real and very serious, kids.  Indulge responsibly.   I’m on the road to recovery, but after Valentine’s, I had a pretty big relapse.  I’ve been clean for about 45 minutes.  I’m confessing this to you because I want you to know that you’re not alone.  You can get help.  These brownies can help you.  They’re packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.

I think it’s important to note here that fat contains 9 calories to the gram (compared to carbs being only 4 calories per gram), so if you’re counting calories, these don’t really help you.  BUT, I want to reiterate the importance of the CONTENT of those calories.  For example, you can eat one regular-sized cookie or you can eat 4 cups of broccoli.  Same calories.  But your body responds entirely different based on what you are putting inside.  So these brownies are an improvement, but you should still practice self-control. 😉

Okay, back to the important stuff.  These brownies are full of healthy fats and contain more nutrition than the empty calories of normal brownies.  Most people who tried them loved them! …with the exception of one 10-year-old boy who thought they were an abominable lie against everything pure and good.  So, 14 out of 15 people enjoyed them.  Not bad odds if you ask me.  A lot better than Grape Nuts, and they’re still in business!

I made these two or three times and tweaked the recipe a tad.  The original recipe post from the Frugal Mom has really great pictures where you can see the fudgy richness and everything.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out.

The only reason I made changes was that I didn’t have coconut flour. I also felt that the frosting needed more honey and cocoa powder.  I added some salt because salt really helps to round out the flavors in baked goods.  And I doubled the vanilla because, well, I always do that. 😉

TIPS: Make sure your avocados are pretty soft.  If they are too firm, they won’t have as much fudginess (which is the most important thing in a brownie if you ask me).  If you don’t like fudgy brownies and want them more cake-like, add another egg to the batter (this also works for box mixes and cookies).  Secondly, make sure you let them cool all the way.  If you get too impatient like I did, you will burn your mouth.

I hope you get the chance to make these!  They really are yummy!  Let me know what you think!  Comment and share!

-Abby Hughes

Fudgy Avocado Brownies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Fudgy, rich, and delicious. Perfect for those relentless chocolate cravings.
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 20 Brownies
  • 1½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 2 TBS Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Avocado Puree (4-5 medium hass avocados, soft)
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 2½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Eggs
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 cup Cocoa Powder
  • ½ cup Coconut Flour (I used coconut protein flour)
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line the base of a 9x13 inch pan with parchment paper allowing some overhang. Grease or spray pan.
  3. Melt the dark chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  4. Puree the avocados in a food processor.
  5. Stir one cup avocado, ½ cup honey, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate.
  6. Add eggs, one at a time.
  7. Stir in coconut flour, ¼ tsp salt, and ½ cup cocoa powder just until mixed.
  8. Pour batter into pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. While the brownies cook, combine the other cup of avocado, ½ cup honey, ¼ tsp. salt, ½ tsp. vanilla, and ½ cup cocoa powder in the food processor to make the frosting.
  10. When the brownies are done, cool completely before removing from the pan.
  11. Spread frosting in an even layer on top of brownies.
  12. Cut and enjoy!


Hummingbird Cake for Alice’s 87th Birthday

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Today is my Sous-chef Dish-washing mom’s 87th birthday! I am thrilled  to dedicate this blog post to her. She was born in 1931 during the Great Depression and her mother and father lived in Omaha, Nebraska. Her father died when she was young and she and her sister, Mary, were taken to an orphanage shortly afterwards. She spent many years in the Nebraska Children’s Home orphanage being adopted when she was 9. Even though her 87 years have dealt her many ups and downs you would never know it by her daily attitude of smiles, love, and gratitude.

She raised three sons and one wonderful daughter! (Hey, I am writing this so it is my perspective!😜 ) However, there are many, many others who call her “mom.” It doesn’t matter where we go she becomes the resident mom! All of my friends know her name is Alice but everyone chooses mom.  The name fits perfectly and looks awesome on her!

Even though she has been a Christian throughout her life, in 2011 she began studying the Bible in-depth through Community Bible Study.   At 80-years-old she let the Word of God totally transform her.  In 2014 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she persevered through 2 surgeries and radiation treatment with a strength and attitude that she credits coming from her faith in God.  Not once did she question her situation with a “why me?”  As a matter of fact, she was usually comforting and giving encouragement to others going through the same thing.

My brother Michael and his wife Kay drove from Lee’s Summit Missouri on Sunday to surprise her.   We had made an elaborate plan that included taking her to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for her birthday week.  You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men!  Last week an almost 87-year-old tooth abscessed and the process of getting that fixed has derailed travel this week.

But that didn’t stop us from celebrating her birthday Sunday evening before Michael and Kay left for East Tennessee without us!  My brother John and his wife Jeanne participated from afar as we gifted mom with some green stuff to go shopping!  It looks like Michael got the giggles watching mom blow out the candles!

As I am writing this blog post she received this lovely floral arrangement from dear friends, Catherine and Russ.  I couldn’t resist a quick photo!

Now … on to the cake! When the latest Southern Living magazine arrived I immediately knew I wanted a Hummingbird Cake for mom’s birthday.

First of all, she is enthralled with hummingbirds and much of our spring is spent waiting for them to arrive.  In the summer we watch them daily and in the fall we sadly say goodbye.

Mom has even had her great-grandkids on hummingbird watch!  All winter my hummingbird-watching mom wonders if they will be back in the spring!

Last fall my Chief Dessert Tester and I decided to cut out most sugar in our diets by cutting out desserts.  (I know!  Me? No sugar?)  So, I knew if I started baking a cake she would know something was up.  That is when I asked my neighbor and blogging partner, Abby Hughes to make the Southern Living Hummingbird Cake.  Abby is an accomplished chef, baker, and extremely good friend.  Quickly she said “sure!”

Abby made the cake and secretly brought it over the night before Michael and Kay arrived.  Whew!  Mom didn’t suspect a thing!

Since the Hummingbird Cake recipe originally ran in 1978, it has become the most requested recipe in Southern Living history.  Besides the usual suspects of flour, sugar, and eggs, this cake includes oil instead of butter, giving it an almost quick-bread like texture.  Undrained, crushed pineapple adds flavor and keeps the batter moist.  Chopped bananas are a surprise ingredient.  But the real southern flavor comes from the toasted, chopped pecans! Yum!  A cream cheese frosting is the perfect covering.  Abby added her own flair with edible glitter!  Beautiful and tasty!

The updated recipe is found here and includes a quick video that shows how easy it is to make this from-scratch cake!

1976 Paulsen Family Photo! Left to Right, Steve, Cathy, Dale, Mike, Alice, and John

With each passing year, we thank God for the life of our mother and father.  This year is no different when we remember our father and our brother Steve who have gone to Heaven before us.

This was our 2014 family reunion photo from Fort Robinson Nebraska.  We look forward to another reunion this summer.  We love you, mom!

Happy Birthday mom and many more!

Love and blessings,


Grandma Schultz’s Best Butter Cookies

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Lee, Richard, Nathan photo-bombed by Sue!
Over the new year’s holiday, we traveled to Missouri to spend time with our nephew, Richard.   We were invited to spend New Year’s Eve with friends Robert and Susan.  Robert’s parents Bob and Sue joined the party as well as my sous-chef dish-washing mom and Robert’s son Nathan.
Susan, Bob, Catherine, and Alice
 We had lots of fun, food, and laughs.  Starting with an array of appetizers, Robert treated us to his $40 Lasagna.  It is a recipe he has perfected over the years and after one bite I knew why it is his specialty and why it is aptly named $40 lasagna.  This lasagna was so packed with delicious ingredients and was in a HUGE party-sized baking pan.  I am even wondering if $40 would cover that grocery list!  Salad and garlic bread rounded out the menu.
Bob, Robert, and Nathan
Then Sue disappeared into the kitchen and returned with this plate.
Grandma Schultz’s Best  Butter Cookies
Butter cookies … ah, I’ll bet you can’t eat just one!  My Chief Cookie Eater and I decided last fall that we were going to cut out or at least cut back on our daily sugar intake.  I can down on mine, he basically cut the sugar in the form of dessert out of his diet.  So, having any dessert, let alone sugar cookies was tempting.  Actually, on the way to the dinner party we both agreed that since it was New Year’s Eve if we wanted dessert, we would enjoy a little.
A little … well, I’ll betcha can’t eat just one!  That was definitely the saying of the evening!
Later my sous-chef dish-washing mom admitted, “I’m pretty sure I ate 6!”  Yes, they are melt-in-your-mouth delicious.  These cookies are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  My Chief Cookie Eater says “they are perfect.”
I quickly told Sue about my blog and asked if I could share the recipe.  She quickly said “yes!” and emailed me the recipe.  Sue says “the recipe originally came from my mother.  I’m not sure where she got it, but as a child, we lived in New Jersey, about 25 miles from NYC.”   Sue and Bob report these cookies have been enjoyed on three continents that they know of — North America, Europe, and Asia!
Several weeks ago we were going to have a fellowship lunch at Community Bible Study.  Since my husband, my mother and I are all in CBS we needed to take a BUNCH of cookies to share.   Mom and I made 4 batches.  The entire house had that sugar cookie candle fragrance except it was the real thing!
Anxious to share with our CBS friends we carefully divided up the cookies freezing them for the big share day.  That is when mother nature decided to put nearly 3/4 of the United States in a deep freeze.  Then it rained, turned to sleet and eventually snow.  School was canceled for 3 days and Community Bible Study was also canceled.  A little snow and ice paralyze the South because the back roads just get impossible to drive on.  Oh, my word!  We have a lot of cookies in our freezer.
 This recipe makes between 3 and 4 dozen cookies depending on how big you make them.  Sue made them small, so we made them small.  I tried one panful of larger cookies and we just didn’t like them as well.  We sprinkled some with a little sugar and left some plain for those who want less sugar.  All-in-all these are the best butter cookies I’ve ever made.
Thank you, Sue Schultz, for sharing Grandma Schultz’s Best Butter Cookies!  We are thankful for family who are friends and friends who are like family!
Enjoy and happy baking!
Grandma Schultz’s Best Butter Cookies
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yes, they really are the best butter cookies! And easy too!
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4 dozen
  • 2 cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 4 ¼ cups sifted flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Candied Cherries (red/green) for decoration * Optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place parchment paper on cookie sheet.
  2. With the mixer on medium speed, cream softened butter, add sugar and cream thoroughly.
  3. Add egg yolks, flour, salt, and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Form small balls of dough using a small cookie scoop or 2 teaspoons of dough.
  5. Place each ball on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
  6. Flatten with the heel of your hand.
  7. Brush tops of cookies with lightly beaten egg whites. This is an important step because it causes the cookie to have that shiny browned look!
  8. Top with bits of candied cherries or sprinkle with sugar.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until lightly brown on top and around the edges. These burn easily because of the high butter content. Watch the first batch carefully to adjust oven time accordingly. Convection ovens may take less time.
  10. ENJOY!

Christmas Past …

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I am having fun today searching my blog for special treats and recipes I shared over the last seven  Decembers.  You can click on the posted link and it will take you to the original blog post and the recipe!   I must start out with my favorite sugar cookie recipe!

Christmas always means Sour Cream Coconut Cake at our house!

Looking for a few colorful recipes this one caught my eye.  Perfect for some Christmas eve appetizers this red and green taco dip is surely festive!

Layered Taco Dip

Hot fruit compote is so easy and incredibly good with breakfast on a cold, snowy, Christmas morning.  Okay, so it may not be cold and snowy where you are (or where I am) but the hot fruit compote is still my sous-chef dish-washing mom’s favorite!

Speaking of breakfast … this Apple Sage Sausage recipe was a huge hit every time we served it at our bed and breakfast.

Unbelievably Delicious Apple Sage Sausage Balls

It’s not too late to “gift from the kitchen” with this Better Than Starbucks Hot Chocolate! Check it out!

I am having a blast taking a walk down memory lane from Christmas’ past!  I hope you enjoy these pictures and recipes too!

Oh! Brine Your Turkey!  I know many of you deep fry your turkeys and I hear that is an awesome way to tuck in the moisture and flavor.  I haven’t ever eaten deep-fried turkey but I have brined a few and highly recommend as the way to go! 

My family can attest to the fact that if it is “broccoli” I love it! Add the au gratin and I am all in!

Another favorite au gratin comes in the form of Brussel sprouts.  Ah, so yummy!

Looks like I need to stop looking backward and get to the kitchen for some Christmas weekend cooking!  Before I sign off I would be remiss for not including this Peppermint Fudge Cake Roll.  Enjoy!

Happy Cooking!
~Blessings, Catherine

Isaiah 9:6

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

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