Salads & Dressings

Emmy’s Homemade Lemon Caesar Dressing

  • 1/2 c.  Mayo (I use the olive oil one from Best Foods)
  • 1/4 c. Parmesan (freshly grated)
  • 1 T. White Wine Vinegar
  • 4 T. Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 T. Dijon Mustard
  • 2-3 cloves of fresh garlic
  • 1/2 t. salt & pepper
  • 1/4 c. olive oil


  • Whisk together all ingredients with the exception of the olive oil.
  • Slowly drizzle in the olive oil whisking vigorously.
  • Cover and chill.
  • Toss lightly with your choice of lettuce.

Em’s Perfect Spinach Salad

  • 3 T.    Pomegranate Molasses
  • 2 T.    Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1  t.    Honey
  • 2  t.    Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 c. Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Whisk together all of the ingredients, with the exception of the olive oil.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly and whisk vigorously.  Lightly add the dressing to washed baby spinach leaves, dried and sweetened cranberries, almonds, and shredded chicken breast.  Toss and serve.

Em’s Green Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 c.   Fresh lemon juice 
  • 3 T.     Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 T.     Dijon Mustard
  • 2 t.      Honey
  • 1/3 c.  Olive Oil
  • 1/4 t.   Salt & Pepper


Again, whisk together all of the ingredients, with the exception of the olive oil.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly and whisk vigorously.  Lightly add the dressing to romaine lettuce, crumbles feta cheese, chopped green onions, and diced avocado.  Toss and serve.

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 1/2 c.    Olive Oil
  • 1/2 c.    Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 t.  Garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 t.  Dried Basil
  • 1 1/2 t.  Dried Oregano
  • 3/4 t.    Ground Black Pepper
  • 3/4 t.    Sugar
  • 2 1/2 c.  Cooked Elbow Macaroni
  • 2 c.        Sliced Mushrooms
  • 15          Cherry Tomatoes Halved
  • 3/4 c.     Crumbled Feta Cheese
  • 1 can     Whole Black Olives
  • 3/4 c.     Sliced Pepperoni Sausage, cut into strips


In a large bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, garlic powder, basil, oregano, pepper, and sugar.  Add cooked pasta, mushrooms, tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and pepperoni.  Toss until evening coated.  Cover and chill for 2 hours.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

  • 3 T.     Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 T.     Dijon Mustard
  • 1 t.      Minced Garlic
  • 2 T.     Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3 T.    Canola Oil
  • 1 T.    Fresh Basil, finely chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste


Whisk together all of the ingredients, with the exception of the oils.  Drizzle in the oils slowly while whisking vigorously.  Add this dressing to a salad made of romaine lettuce, carrots, mushrooms, and shredded Monterrey jack cheese.  It’s very strong and can also be used to marinate chicken.             


Summer Lovin’ Fruit Dip

  • 1 jar             Marshmallow Cream
  • 1 container   Cool-whip (refrigerated, but not frozen)


Mix together with a hand mixer and serve with chilled fruit.  In my opinion, it tastes the best with all berries, peaches, pineapple, grapes, and mango.  


Baking can be somewhat intimidating because what you are making has to look, as good as it tastes.   When it comes to baking, looks are EVERYTHING.  There are several things that I have learned over the years when it comes to baking.  First, it’s never easy in the beginning.  The baking part itself is, but the decorating can be challenging.  Find great recipes on the web to start your creations.  I love Martha Stewart, ok I don’t and every baking recipe that I have tried was awful.  A great website that I use is called Glorious Treats.  They have delicious recipes for white cake, chocolate cakes, and frosting.  I highly recommend this website for recipes.

Also, decorating tips can be found everywhere on the web.  I learned how to make Cake Pops from Bakerella (the official cake pop maker) and learned how to frost a cupcake from tutorials from Glorious Treats.   The trick to frosting cupcakes is having the right tip.  Go to a baking store or Michael’s and ask for their best cupcake frosting tips.  Every Baking Moment  in Dixon, CA, offers decorating classes in a wide range of areas and also sell everything that has to do with cake making, cupcake decorating, and cookie baking.  This place quickly became one of my favorite stores.  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites

Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Bites by

Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes

  • 1 ¼  cups cake flour
  • 1 ¼  teaspoons baking powder
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾  cup sugar
  • 1 ½  teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½  cup oil (vegetable, canola or extra light olive oil)
  • ½  cup buttermilk (or ½  cup milk plus ½  teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice- add acid to the milk then set aside for 5 minutes before using)


  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • In a medium bowl, add cake flour, baking powder, baking  soda and salt.  Stir together with whisk, and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, add eggs and beat 10-20  seconds.  Add sugar and continue to beat on medium speed  about 30 seconds.  Add vanilla and oil, beat.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add about half of  the flour mixture.  Add half of the milk, then the rest of   the flour and the rest of the milk.  Beat until just  combined.  Scrap down the side of the bowl.
  • The batter will be thin.   Pour batter into a muffin pan prepared with paper liners.  Fill liners about 2/3 full.
  • Bake cupcakes in pre-heated oven for 12-14 minutes.
  • Cool in pan 1-2 minutes, then remove cupcakes from pan (carefully) and finish cooling on a wire rack.
  • Frost as desired when fully cool.
  • A note about Cake Flour–  Cake Flour has a lower protein content than traditional all-purpose flour, which results in a more tender, delicate crumb in the finished product.

Source:  Glorious Treats

Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¾  cups all purpose flour
  • ¾  cup unsweetened cocoa (best quality available)
  • 1 ½  teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½  teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½  cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (best quality available)
  • 1 cup boiling water


  • Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Heat oven to 350F.
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  • Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for one minute.
  • Stir in boiling water (the batter will be thin, don’t worry, this is right).
  • Fill liners 2/3 full with batter.  (I usually put the batter into a large measuring cup with a pour spout, and then pour the batter into the liners.)
  • Bake cupcakes for aproximately 22-24 minutes.
  • Cool completely on wire rack before frosting.

Source:  Glorious Treats

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting  (To Die For!)

  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter- somewhat cool still
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (directly from fridge)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered confectioners sugar
  • 1 to 4 Tablespoons heavy cream, heavy whipping cream


  • Place butter in a large mixing bowl and blend slightly. Add cream cheese and blend until combined, about 30 seconds.
  • Add vanilla extract and powdered sugar and blend on low speed until combined. Increase to medium speed and beat until it begins to get fluffy.
  • Slowly add the heavy cream, a little bit at a time until desired consistency is met. (Don’t add too much if you want the frosting to stay in place when piped on cupcakes.)
  • Beat until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  • Use at once or keep refrigerated. (This frosting will keep well in the refrigerator for several days, but you may need to re-beat it for the best texture.)

For a Stronger Cream Cheese Flavor: Use an additional 4 oz. (½ block) of cream cheese. This is good for any Carrot Cake or Red Velvet Cake.

For Chocolate Frosting: (my favorite!) add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (I use Ghirardelli brand, it’s really good). Add the cocoa powder before adding the powdered sugar, so it gets fully incorporated into the butter and cream cheese.

Strawberry, Blackberry, etc: Add 2-4 tablespoons of preserves. Depending on how chunky or seedy the preserves are, you may want to blend it in the food processor, and/or strain it through a fine strainer before adding it to the frosting. Add the preserves to the frosting mixture before adding the heavy cream. Depending on the amount of preserves you add you may need very little or no cream.

Source:  Glorious Treats

Fresh Whipped Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Place the bowl and beater of your electric mixer in the freezer for 5 minutes (this will help the cream beat up faster).  Remove bowl and beater from freezer and pour in heavy cream.  Beat cream until it begins to thicken.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until stiff peaks form when beaters are raised from the bowl (this only takes a few minutes, but carefully not to over-beat).

Lisa’s Sugar Cookies

  • ½ cup butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt


  • Mix the butter and sugar for about 1 ½ minutes.  Add the egg and the vanilla.  Beat an additional minute.  Scrape bowl.
  • Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add to the wet mixture slowly.  Beat and scrape again.  Beat on slow.
  • Shape into a flat ball and wrap in plastic wrap.
  • Chill for 2+ hours.  Roll out and cut.
  • Bake at 375 for 7-10 minutes.

Lisa’s Buttercream Frosting

  • 1/3  cup butter (softened)
  • ¼ cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powered sugar
  • low-fat milk (if needed)


  • Beat the butter until creamy.  Add cream, vanilla, salt and one cup powered sugar.
  • Scrape the bowl and beat additional 30 seconds.  Slowly add the sugar one cup at a time.
  • Add milk 1 teaspoon at a time if needed to thin.
  • Note: One batch is enough to frost cookies, but you must double the recipe for frosting cupcakes.

Lisa’s Snickerdoodles

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½  cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ¾  cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼  teaspoon salt

For rolling-

  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
  1. Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla.  Beat until fluffy (30 seconds).
  1. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  1. Using a large cookie dough scoop, make balls of dough, and then roll each ball into the bowl of cinnamon/sugar.
  1. Place dough 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
  1. Bake 9-12 minutes, or until set but not too hard.  Remove from baking sheets and cool on a cooling rack.

Cake Balls or cake pops


  1. Bake cake and cool.
  2. Divide cake and crumble completely
  3. Add your choice of ½ to ¾ of a can of frosting
  4. Blend into cake completely with the back of a spoon
  5. Roll into ½ to ¾ inch balls
  6. Place onto wax paper, cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  7. Remove about ½ dozen at a time and dip into melted candy melts and place on a piece of wax paper to harden.
  8. Decorate.

Before you start, be sure to watch this awesome tutorial:  Bakerella

My favorite combinations:

Yellow cake & vanilla frosting dipped in chocolate candy melts

White cake & vanilla frosting dipped in chocolate candy melts

Strawberry cake & vanilla frosting dipped in vanilla candy melts

Red velvet cake & buttercream frosting dipped in vanilla candy melts

Chocolate cake & chocolate frosting dipped in chocolate candy melts


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