Summer Grape Salad

This salad would be PERFECT for a barbecue or summer gathering. It’s sweet, bright and citrusy with a hint of vanilla. Yum!!

*Note – Double of triple this recipe for a party or potluck.


½ cup sugar

½ cup water

juice of ½ an orange

1 tsp vanilla extract or caviar from one vanilla bean

1 pint strawberries; quartered

1 pint blueberries

1 lb green grapes, halved

1 lb red grapes, halved

Combine sugar, ½ cup of water, orange juice and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and stir to until sugar dissolves.

Bring mixture to a boil then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until thickened. Allow mixture to cool.

Prepare fruit in a large bowl, pour cooled syrup over fruit, stir and chill until ready to serve.


Red, White & Blue Cheesecake Triple

(Originally posted May 28, 2016)


2 (3.4 oz) packages instant cheesecake flavored pudding mix

4 cups milk

Pre-made pound cake – cut or torn into bite-sized pieces

1 lb strawberries

2 containers blueberries

1 container blackberries

12 oz Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)

** you can sub the cheesecake pudding for anything – white chocolate or french vanilla would be yummy too


Combine milk & pudding mix using your mixer according to package instructions.

Spread cake pieces into the bottom of the trifle dish – about half the cake.

Top with about 1/2 of the prepared pudding.

Top pudding with about 1/2 cup of each kind of berry.

Top berries with about other half of the Cool Whip.

Layer other half of cake, rest of pudding, remaining Cool Whip and decorate the top layer with strawberries, blueberries & blackberries.

Refrigerate for about 2-3 hours, until ready to serve.


On the Cake Stand: Nonny’s Texas Sheet Cake

This was the first of many recipes I have received from Grandma Nonny. Daddy and I were just dating and when we had dinner at Nonny’s, this cake was a show stopper! I immediately asked for the recipe. It’s moist on the inside, slightly crisp on the outside and divine everywhere in between!

(This is the actual email from Nonny.) Thursday, August 13th, 2009


  • This cake was good the first night, but it was much better the second day, and what was left on the third day was possibly the best cake I have ever eaten.  It just kept getting better and better.  Next time I will make it a day ahead of time before I want to serve it.  It is Texas Sheet Cake — not Sheath like I thought it was called.  Oh, well.
    Texas Sheet Cake
        2 cups granulated sugar
        2 cups all-purpose flour
        1/3 teaspoon salt
        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
        1/2 cup vegetable oil
        1 cup water
        3 tablespoons cocoa powder
        2 eggs, beaten
        1/2 cup buttermilk
        1 teaspoon baking soda
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
        1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
        6 tablespoons milk
        4 tablespoons cocoa powder
        1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (optional) — I did not use in the cake I made
        1 (16-ounce) box confectioners sugar
        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    **Note from Mommy – I added chopped pecans because pecans make everything better
    For the cake preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl mix together the sugar, flour, and salt.  In a saucepan over medium heat mix the butter, oil, water, and cocoa powder.  Bring to a boil.  Pour this over the sugar mixture.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla.  Mix with a spoon.  Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 inch pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.
    For the frosting, in a saucepan on medium heat combine the butter, milk, and cocoa powder.  Heat until boiling.  Remove from heat.  Stir in the peanut butter if desired.  Add the confectioners sugar and vanilla.  Pour over the hot cake.
    I hope you enjoy it.
    Julie Brants