Category Archives: sweet tooth

a little love & chocolate fondue

Olivia cutting out little cookie dough hearts.

That’s Nina, even though the apron says, “Hannah.”

Some Valentines we made with lollipops.

Nina’s special Valentine she made for her teacher, Mrs. Jackson.

A little project I started last year, and finally finished this year. Tiny felt hearts with button flowers and embroidered stems. I stitched on a loop of ribbon for hanging on dresser drawers or doorknobs, just to spread a little love.

How was your Valentine’s Day? Ours was simple and fun. Nina and Olivia helped me make our traditional heart-shaped sugar cookies a few days early, and we packed them for our weekend with friends at the cabin. At the cabin we decorated them with pink frosting, candy hearts and red hots {my favorite on sugar cookies!}. Over the weekend we also had our usual Valentine’s breakfast of heart-shaped waffles with strawberries and cream.
The Valentines we made were super easy, super cute, and super inexpensive. I saw some other cute ideas here and here, but we’ll just save those for another year.
It wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day without a little chocolate fondue, would it? Some ideas for dipping are strawberries, bananas, oranges, kiwi, pieces of good french bread, pretzels, marshmallows, graham crackers, Oreos, coconut macaroons, and cinnamon hearts. Here’s my favorite {and easy!} recipe.
Chocolate Fondue
1 cup half and half {or cream}
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
In a small pot, warm the half and half over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Add the chocolate chips and whisk until the chocolate is smooth and fully incorporated. Mmmm….start dipping!

party time!

It’s that time again for the line up of family parties! Here are a few highlights from this year’s festivities…taken with our little point and shoot because I was too overwhelmed to pack in my good camera with loading all the kids, diapers, gifts, food, p.j.’s, etc. Dang it.

The annual Nativity put on by the Tycksen grandkids at my in-law’s house.

Clayton and all the brothers {minus Erik who is in Kuwait}, brothers-in-law and our friend Joey surprised Ruthie by singing a few carols. She loves to hear them sing, and I thought it was really sweet they put that together.

Needless to say, the white elephant game ended in tears.

Little Will overwhelmed by the chaos. Or maybe he’s enjoying it, I’m not sure.

My kids spent at least an hour on their gingerbread houses!

Liv decided to paint her fingernails with the frosting…

…and her toenails! I love that she’s wearing her angel costume in these pictures.

So pretty!

Casch and Ben at my mom’s dinner party. We always have “crackers” that pop with toys, lame British jokes and crowns inside.
Grandma reading her joke…I love that she’s wearing a crown too!

Me and “Willoughby.”

My BFF, Emily, came to town for the holidays…we had a sleepover at my house, soaked it up in our “KSL Hot Tub,” and went to the Carl Bloch exhibit at BYU.

All the girls {minus Cami} at my grandparents’ house on Christmas Eve.

Little Norwegian girls! Nina, Olivia, and my niece Bria.

Poppy Per making faces in the background, haha!

Baby Casch sporting his Norwegian costume. I love him!

Every Christmas Eve of my life {except for one} has been spent with my dad’s family, gathered around a constantly expanding table for a Norwegian Christmas dinner. It’s my favorite meal of the whole year! Clayton was sick this year and missed it, poor guy. He loves the dinner too. At the end of the night, Poppy Per drops one blanched almond into the giant bowl of riskrem {rice pudding} and whoever ends up with it in their bowl wins a tall chocolate Santa. Guess who won this year? Our own little Olivia! Hooray!

Here’s the recipe if you ever want to try it for yourself…it’s super delicious.
{Norwegian Christmas Rice Pudding}


3/4 cup long grain white rice {not Minute Rice}

1 teaspoon salt

1 quart whole milk

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups heavy cream, whipped and sweetened to taste

1 whole almond

Raspberry Sauce {recipe follows}


Cook rice, salt, and milk in double boiler until rice is soft and mixture is thick – about 1 1/2 hours. Fluff the rice a few times for the first half-hour to prevent lumps on the bottom. You want the rice to be nice and fluffy.

While still hot, add sugar. Cover with plastic wrap, directly onto the rice to prevent a hard film from forming on the top, and chill. When completely chilled, stir in almond extract. Fold in the whipped cream. Add the almond and stir to hide it. Serve topped with raspberry sauce.

The person who receives the whole almond receives a special gift {often a marzipan pig or a chocolate Santa}.

Raspberry Sauce

1 pkg. Danish dessert {near the Jello at the grocery store}

3 1/2 c. cold water

small pkg. of frozen, sweetened raspberries

Cook the Danish dessert and water until thickened. Cool, but do not refrigerate {if you do, it will jell too much}. Add desired amount of raspberries with some of the juice and serve on top of the rice cream.

pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

I can’t believe I haven’t posted these before. You have to make these for Halloween weekend! Everyone will love you for it.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

{I usually double or triple this recipe because as it is, it only makes about a dozen or so, and I could eat that many all by myself!}

1 c. canned pumpkin

1 c. white sugar

1/2 c. vegetable oil

1 egg

1 Tbs. Vanilla

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. milk

2 c. flour

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1 or 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips (depending on how chocolatey you want them)

  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, oil, egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, dissolve the teaspoon of baking soda in the milk, then add to pumpkin mixture. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, spices, salt and baking powder. Add to pumpkin mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

  2. Drop by spoonful on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 or 11 minutes, until firm and lightly browned. Let cool completely before removing from pan. They taste best cold from the refrigerator with a glass of milk if you ask me!

pear upside down cake

Okay, so I’m really not a big cake fan. I consider myself to be more of a brownie/chocolate chip cookie kind of girl. But, let me tell you, I would choose this cake over brownies any day of the week. This has been a fall favorite at my house for the last 12 years, since I first found the recipe {in the newspaper!}.
You just have to try it! It’s best topped with a soft little cloud of whipped cream, in my opinion.

Pear Upside Down Cake

1/3 c. butter, melted

1 c. brown sugar

3-4 c. sliced pears (fresh or canned)

2 c. flour

2 t. baking powder

2 eggs

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. milk

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 baking dish, making sure that the sides get buttered as well. Sprinkle with the brown sugar.

  2. Arrange the pears over the brown sugar, fitting tightly together. Set dish aside.

  3. Sift the flour with the baking powder in a mixing bowl and set aside.

  4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until light. Stir in the flour mixture. Add the cream and milk, mixing well.

  5. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared pan, being careful not to move the pears.

  6. Bake in preheated oven 40 minutes or until cake tests done.

  7. Remove cake from oven and let cool for five minutes before turning out onto a serving plate. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

crispix mix

This is the best for taking to a party or on a trip. It’s my aunt Heidi’s recipe, and I love it. It makes a TON too. Just watch out, because it is so addicting! My sister Erika said she likes it with shredded coconut and sliced almonds stirred into it. Sounds good, huh?
Crispix Mix
2 small boxes Crispix cereal (Chex works too, it’s just more crumbly)
1 pound butter (4 sticks…yikes! That explains why it’s so good.)
3 cups sugar
1 cup light Karo syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt
shredded coconut (optional)
sliced almonds (optional)
Melt the butter in a large pan, then add the sugar and Karo syrup. Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook to soft ball stage (about 230-240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 2 minutes). Take off heat. Add vanilla and dash of salt. Pour cereal (and coconut and almonds if using) into a large bowl and drizzle with the hot mixture. Stir and spread out on a baking sheet until cool.

triple chocolate brownies

Here’s one I LOVE from Nigella Lawson’s cookbooks. It has 3 sticks, plus 2 tablespoons of butter. Need I say more? I make these for almost every birthday, family gathering, etc. If I don’t have white chocolate chips on hand, I just use extra chocolate chips, like I did here.

The only way these could possibly get any better would be to top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some caramel sauce.
Click here to view the recipe.

I don’t have a 9×11 pan like she uses, so I use either a 9×13 (bake for about 30 minutes), or an odd 8×10 (bake for 50 minutes).

strawberry bread

I found this recipe when I was expecting Hannah, so every time I make it I have memories of that time in my life, when Ben was like Olivia is now. It’s kind of like banana bread, but with strawberries instead. It just smells so good, there’s nothing like it. This is probably one of my favorite things to make with all those strawberries on sale!
Strawberry Bread
3 c. flour
2 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. canola oil
2 c. sliced fresh strawberries
Mix dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and stir until moist and well combined. Pour into 2 greased & floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.