Crock Pot Caramel Apple Bar


  • 28 oz (Approx. 2 pound bag) caramel squares
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 8-9 Granny Smith or Pink Lady Apples (Or any of the more tart apple types.)
  • Optional: 1 Large Bag of Chocolate Chips (for adding a second coat, if desired)
  • Parchment Paper
  • Apple Sticks or Popsicles Sticks
  • Toppings of choice: Sprinkles, Chocolate Chips, Crushed Pretzels, Peanut Butter Chips, Toffee Pieces, Sweetened Shredded Coconut, Cereals like Rice Crispies, Graham Cracker Dust, Decorative Sugars, Finely Chopped Nuts, Crushed Candy Bars like Butterfingers – the sky is the limit!


  1. Prepare your apples ahead of time by washing them in hot water, and then placing in the fridge for a few hours or over night. Skewer your apples before dipping.
  2. Unwrap your billion squares of caramel and place in small crockpot with 1/4 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of butter. Melt until combined, then be sure to set the crock pot to low or warm to prevent scorching.
  3. Dip cold apples in the caramel, place apples on wax paper to set.
  4. If coating with melted chocolate: place caramel apples in fridge for at least 10 minutes before coating in chocolate. Dip in chocolate, then immediately in toppings before returning the finished apples to parchment, then to the fridge.
  5. If coating caramel apples with toppings only: after caramel apple has set for a few minutes, roll the apples in your toppings. Set decorated apples back on wax paper, and place finished apples in fridge to fully set up.

Pro Tips:

  • If apples seem too large or time consuming to create: cut the apples into large slices or wedges. To prevent browning: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon salt in 1 quart (4 cups) of water. Soak slices for 3 minutes. Place slices on paper towels to dry and then place in fridge to get cold before dipping. Note: You can also soak slices in lemon-lime soda like Sprite or 7-Up instead.
  • Use small bowls to make dipping/rolling your apples in toppings quick and easy.
  • To make apples even fancier: use spoons to drizzle different melted chips (milk chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, etc.) on your apples after your toppings.

Store your gourmet apple creations in the fridge.



“Say Cheese” and Ham Sliders

These little slider sandwiches are so versatile and scrumptious, they can be made for 2 or 10+ people with relatively the same amount of time and effort. They’re simple to make too, and perfect for campfire nights, parties, and family gatherings.


  • 2 packages of Hawaiian style sweet dinner rolls, 24 rolls total
  • 1.5 lbs ham slices (Virginia (country) ham, dinner style, or even deli style ham works)
  • 12 slices of Swiss or Muenster cheese
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder


  • Carefully slice the whole tray of dinner rolls so there is a top and bottom. Ideally, without separating the rolls.
  • Place roll bottoms in 9 x13 cake pans, as your first layer.
  • Layer the ham and cheese on top of the roll bottoms.
  • Place roll tops on the sandwiches
  • In a sauce pan, melt butter and mix in the onion, poppy seeds, garlic powder and Worcestershire sauce
  • Generously brush the tops of the sandwiches with the butter mixture.
  • Cover sandwiches and refrigerate over night or for at least one hour.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted. Be sure to watch the sandwiches so they do not burn.

Yum! Enjoy!



Soda Pop Popsicles

These delicious popsicles are delicious and very easy to make.


  • 1 can of sweetened condensed milk. Low fat, fat free, or full fat all work.
  • 20 oz. (one small bottle) of the soda of your choice – orange, grape, lime, strawberry… even diet sodas make great pops!


  1. In a large bowl, slowly combine the soda of your choice with the sweetened condensed milk using a silicone spatula to combine.
  2. Fill popsicle molds a little over 3/4 of the way, allowing for expansion in the freezer.
  3. Freeze until firm.

Popsicle Alternatives:

  • No popsicle molds? Use a silicone ice cube tray, or paper cups with popsicle sticks.
  • Don’t like popsicles? You can use this same mixture in an ice cream maker to make a delicious sorbet.
  • TOO SWEET? Use diet soda instead of regular soda to cut the amount of sugar. We make ours with diet soda and fat free sweetened condensed milk – we can’t even tell there’s diet soda in it because the sweetened condensed milk has sugar in it, no matter how low fat it is.
  • MAKE IT FANCY: Add fruit bits or flavor enhancers that match or compliment your soda flavor.
    • Pineapple bits with pineapple soda
    • Thin strawberry slices with strawberry soda
    • Raspberries or blackberry bits with lemon lime soda
    • A squirt of matching water enhancer flavoring to boost flavor intensity.



Red, White, and Blue Bark

This DeAnna specialty is absolutely delicious, and the perfect way to celebrate the holiday with a themed dessert!


  • 1 package of White Chocolate Chips, or 3 White Chocolate Bars
  • 1 package of fresh Raspberries
  • 1 package of fresh Blueberries
  • 1 box of Vanilla Wafers
  • Vegetable, Coconut, or Olive Oil


  1. Place a sheet of wax paper in the tray of a cookie sheet.
  2. Arrange Vanilla Wafer cookies in a single layer on top of the wax paper. The cookies should be touching.
  3. In a microwave-safe glass bowl, melt white chocolate with a tablespoon of vegetable, coconut, or olive oil – slowly and carefully in the microwave. Stir the melting chocolate every 15 to 30 seconds until smooth and pourable. Do not over heat the chocolate, it will become stiff and burn.
  4. Pour the melted white chocolate over the vanilla wafers and work quickly to spread the chocolate evenly over they entire sheet with a silicone spatula. (Spray spatula with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking.)
  5. Quickly sprinkle as many of the blueberries and raspberries as you would like over the white chocolate.
  6. Cool the entire cookie sheet in fridge for at least 1 hour until the white chocolate has hardened.
  7. Lift the bark from the cookie sheet using the wax paper, and transfer the bark to a large open space on the counter. Carefully break the hardened bark to produce random shaped pieces. Try to avoid smashing the fruit. Arrange on plate and serve.

Store left over bark in fridge to keep the fruit fresh and to avoid melting.


Instead of sprinkling the fruit on top, you can arrange it in a USA flag pattern by creating a grid of blueberries in the top left corner, and using the raspberries to create the red horizontal stripes, leaving the white chocolate to shine through between the red stripes.



Pineapple Whiskey Sour

Note: This drink recipe contains alcohol, but you can skip the alcohol, replace it with ginger ale, or add more lemon and water for a lovely non-alcoholic drink too.


1 to 2 parts whiskey of choice (depending on how strong you’d like it to be)
5 parts pineapple juice
3 parts water
1+ teaspoon sugar or honey (to taste)
1 squeeze of lemon


  • Combine all ingredients into shaker, add ice. Shake until sugar is dissolved.
  • Strain into sugar rimmed glass and enjoy!

How to sugar rim a glass:

  • Place 1/2″ of water or pineapple juice in small bowl that is slightly wider than your cup
  • Place a small pile of rimming or turbinado sugar crystals on a small plate or bowl
  • Turn your cup upside down and dip rim into the liquid
  • Press cup rim into the sugar – gently rolling it around as needed to pick up the sugar crystals

DeAnna’s Crock Pot Beans

If you’ve ever had this DeAnna specialty in person, you already know it’s an absolute crowd pleaser! The secret is: it’s her spin on another recipe from her favorite vintage Betty Crocker cook book!


1 cup chunky salsa
1 oz. envelope of taco seasoning
4 (15 oz.) cans of baked beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can of kidney beans, drained
1 (15 oz.) can of black eyed peas, drained
9 oz. package of frozen lima beans
12 oz. package of spicy ground pork sausage


  • Cook sausage on stovetop, and drain.
  • Combine cooked sausage and all other ingredients in crock pot, stir to combine.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4-6 hours

Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies

Fresh egg whites – 5 (from actual eggs, not a box)

Lemon – 1 slice

Vanilla – 1 teaspoon

Sugar – 1.5 cups

Chocolate Chips

Heat oven to 220 degrees

For this recipe, you will need a stand mixer or electric hand mixer.

In a small bowl, collect the egg whites by separating the egg whites from yolks. Make certain to not get any yolk in the egg whites. Let the egg whites sit for a few minutes to come closer to room temperature before you start mixing.

  • Slide lemon slice over the mixer beaters and the inside of a large mixing bowl
  • Add egg whites to the bowl you’ve rubbed the lemon on
  • Add the vanilla to the egg whites
  • Blend on medium speed, until you have soft peaks
  • Add sugar SLOWLY by sprinkling a thin layer at a time into the bowl as you continue to mix on medium speed. Adding the sugar should take several minutes.
  • Blend until all the sugar is fully incorporated, and the mixture forms very stiff, glossy, white peaks
  • Turn off mixer to add chocolate chips – I try to keep it to 3/4 cup or less so that the cookies stay big and fluffy – gently sprinkle the chocolate chips in an even layer over the surface of meringue mixture, then use a spatula to gently fold them in by hand. Mix just enough to incorporate the chocolate chips, do not over mix.

Use an ice cream scooper to drop big even portions onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, keeping cookies an inch or two apart. (You can use cooking spray if you don’t have parchment, but it can discolor the bottoms of the cookie slightly.)

Bake for 60 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the oven closed for several hours to cool. The longer you leave the cookies to cool in the (turned off) oven, the better they will be. Properly dried meringue cookies will be crunchy and sound hollow when you tap on the bottom.


  • You can eat them plain, of if you’d like to get fancier: dip/drizzle with milk chocolate or sprinkle with a cocoa/powdered sugar mixture (pictured).
  • Make them spring/Easter themed by adding a tiny drop of food coloring to lightly color your meringues just before you add your chocolate chips.
  • If you’re great with a piping bag, you can skip the chocolate chips and use an extra large star attachment, or freehand pipe large Peep shapes.



Pub-Style Shepherd’s Pie (Hello Fresh)

We have been relying on (and LOVING) our Hello Fresh subscription for fun and delicious meals safe at home during the pandemic. The Pub-Style Shepherd’s Pie was one of our many favorite meal kits from them.


Since Hello Fresh sends us the exact portions to make each dish, the recipe here is more of a “little-of-this, a little-of-that” approach.

Note: *This is not an ad, we really have a Hello Fresh subscription and we really enjoy this recipe!


Mashed Potatoes (5 to 6 Yukon Gold or 2 to 3 Russet)
Sour Cream – about 2 tablespoons (for making the mashed potatoes)
Carrots – 2 to 3
Onion – 1
Celery – 3 stalks
Ground Beef – 1 pound – OR make it plant-based with Impossible Burger instead, same directions.
Tomato Paste – 1.5 ounces
Flour – 1 tablespoon
Beef Stock – 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup
White Cheddar Cheese – 1/2 cup
Garlic Powder – 1 teaspoon
Fresh Thyme – 1 teaspoon for mashed potatoes, 2 teaspoons for meat mixture
Vegetable Oil
Butter – 1 to 2 tablespoons
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Wash and dry all produce

  • Finely chop onion and celery. Peel, then slice carrots length wise and chop into 1/4″ half moons. Strip thyme leaves from stems and roughly chop leaves. Cut potatoes into 1/2″ cubes.

Next, make mashed potatoes and vegetables separately but simultaneously.

  • Mashed Potatoes: Place potatoes in large pot and cover with cold water (2″ of water above potatoes), add a little salt. Bring to boil and cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes are tender. Drain. Return potatoes to original pot. Mash potatoes with sour cream, butter, and about 1 tsp of fresh thyme. Add splash of water as needed to loosen.
  • Vegetables: Drizzle oil in large pan, (use an oven safe pan if you’d like to make  the pie assembly easier). Cook carrots in a little salt and pepper for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened. Add celery, onion, and a large drizzle of oil. Cook 5-7 minutes until tender. Add splashes of water to keep veggies from browning. When veggies are fully cooked, add garlic powder, and 2 tsp of fresh thyme and cook for 30 seconds.

Add ground beef to vegetables, and season with a little salt and pepper. Break meat apart while cooking. Cook until meat is browned and thoroughly cooked.

  • Add 1 tablespoon of flour and 1.5 ounces of tomato paste to ground beef and vegetables and cook until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
  • Gradually add 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of beef stock to ground beef and vegetables. Bring to a boil and cook until mixture is very thick, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.

If using oven safe pan: top ground beef/veggie mixture with even layer of mashed potatoes, leaving a gap around the pan edge. Sprinkle with shredded white cheddar cheese. BROIL about 3 minutes until browned. CAREFULLY WATCH it to avoid burning.

If using a baking dish: If you don’t have an oven safe pan, assemble pie in baking dish. Ground beef with veggies in the bottom. Top with even layer of mashed potatoes, leaving a gap around the pan edge. Sprinkle with shredded white cheddar cheese. BROIL about 3 minutes until browned. CAREFULLY WATCH it to avoid burning.