August 2013 - Buttered Side Up

Grandma's Cooking School: Chocolate Crepes

This was originally posted on March 8, 2010 on Cooking for Seven. Because these lessons were such an important part of my life, I will be re-posting them here.

{Grandma’s Cooking School is my chronicles of the informal cooking lessons that my Grandma graciously decided to give us girls. Enjoy!}

Chocolate & Pudding. HOW could you go wrong with such a combination?

Grandma's Cooking School: Chocolate Crepes
Alright, I’ll admit it. When I attempted to make these chocolate crepes a month or so ago, they were a complete and utter failure. I must have let the batter sit too long – the crepes were very weak. This was a much-needed cooking lesson. 

Grandma's Cooking School: Chocolate Crepes
These crepes have been a family favorite for quite some time. They have been requested for birthdays, and are a wonderful breakfast treat.

Grandma's Cooking School: Chocolate Crepes

As you can see, with Grandma’s help, we succeeded at making crepes: Dad gave us the “thumbs up”!
Grandma advised us to keep our crepe-making secrets. Thus, I shan’t give you any recipes.
**Next Time on Grandma’s Cooking School: Roast Beef!**

Grandma's Cooking School: Chocolate Crepes

P.S. (added in 2013) -- Here's a recipe that I found online that seems quite similar to the one Grandma won't let us share. :)


Poppyseed Torte
Banana Cream Pie
Roast Beef Dinner
Apple Strudel
Homemade Bread and Sweet Rolls

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Hearty Pasta Sauce From Scratch

Hearty Pasta Sauce From Scratch | Buttered Side Up

Hearty Pasta Sauce From Scratch | Buttered Side Up

Hearty Pasta Sauce From Scratch | Buttered Side Up

Pasta is one of those things that's just hard to mess up. As long as you start with good ingredients, you're sure to end with something delicious.

While at the farmers market the other day, I was inspired by seeing all the fresh tomatoes to make a pasta sauce. I purchased a pepper and onion to accompany it. Another day, at our local health food store, I selected a bunch of vine tomatoes and a box of crimini mushrooms. Plus I had half a pound of grass-fed Italian sausage (also purchased at the farmers market) in the refrigerator to use up.

Once I got home I put Helen down for her nap and started prepping my ingredients. It's almost therapeutic for me to chop vegetables without interruption. I added the ingredients one by one to the pot and slowly cooked them together.

The blend of all the fresh ingredients made for an awesome sauce (yes, I did that on purpose). Reuben heartily approved.

When following this recipe, make sure you add your own personal touch. There's just something satisfying about making a dish your own. If you like your sausage with a kick, by all means use spicy Italian! If you don't care for mushrooms, leave them out! Experiment!

Hearty Pasta Sauce
recipe by Erica Lea of Buttered Side Up | Makes 2-4 servings (depending on how hungry you are)

  • 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced small
  • 1 small box crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 vine tomatoes (about 1 bunch), diced medium
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar
  • your favorite pasta (I used wide egg noodles)


1) Cook the sausage until no longer pink.
2) In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and the butter over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the onion, lower the heat, and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook until the onions are almost transparent, about 3 more minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until everything is nice and soft. Add the garlic and salt and pepper to taste and cook for 2 more minutes.
3) Add the tomatoes, oregano, basil, sugar and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Increase heat to medium and bring to a boil. Simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 20 minutes. Add the cooked sausage and stir to combine.
4) Meanwhile, as the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and stir in your pasta. Cook to desired firmness (I like mine a little past al dente). Serve with lots of sauce and a sprinkling of parmesan. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

Featured Photo 2

Homemade ice cream used to be such a long, tedious process for me. First, you must slave over a hot stove making custard. Then you have to wait hours for said custard to cool completely so you can churn without fear of the dreaded ice crystals. Next you need to crush some ice, layer it in the ice cream maker with salt, and you're FINALLY ready to churn. Whew. Too much work!

Then I received my ice cream maker for Christmas, and it opened up a whole new world. I discovered that you can get exceptionally good ice cream without making a custard base. No endless waiting required - simply mix the ingredients together and pour it into the machine!

But about this recipe. 

There's actually no need for a fancy machine to make this ice cream. Simply whip everything together and pour into a pan to freeze! Easy peasy. Of course I used my machine, because I love it so.

To get the recipe, head on over to the Good Life Eats blog.

See you soon!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Pudding is just one of those things that's best when homemade. In fact, I can't stand store-bought pudding. Even when I was a little girl, those pudding cups that come in plastic containers were repulsive to me. 

And pudding is so easy to make from scratch, there's hardly any excuse to do otherwise. All that's required is to mix the ingredients together and boil. The most annoying part is stirring the pudding so it doesn't scorch. But if you're particularly lazy (like me), you can just stir it frequently (or occasionally) if you don't mind the pudding getting extra cooked on the bottom. 

You may remember waaaay back in November of 2010 when I first posted this recipe. It's been nearly three years and this is still my favorite recipe. 

Make some tonight. Serve it hot like fudge sauce over ice cream. Or wait for it to cool (if you're that patient) and serve it with whipped cream. Any way you eat it, it's good.

Is there any store-bought food that's better than homemade?

Chocolate Pudding Adapted from Betty Crocker | Makes approximately 4 servings | Printable Page
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon (just a pinch) salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup or sweetener of choice
  • 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1) In a medium saucepan, whisk together the cornstarch, salt, cocoa powder, and maple syrup until smooth. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg yolks.
2) Slowly whisk the milk & yolks into the mixture in the pan. Set the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Boil and stir for 1 minute.
3) Remove from heat and stir in the butter & vanilla. Serve warm (over ice cream) or chilled (with whipped cream).

Homemade Chocolate Pudding

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