After a trip to the Balboa Candy store in early June, my mom placed a package of C. Howard’s Violet mints in my hand.  My brother had told me his wife really likes them and my mom thought I might, too.

The first one I tasted reminded me a little bit of… soap.  I tried a second one and this time the taste was more flowery, like tasting a piece of lavender.  I noticed that they really cleansed my palate, like ginger.  By the end of the package (which came far to soon) I was hooked.

A little research taught me that these mints were first marketed in the 1930’s and the recipe is still the same.  I love the silver and violet colored wrappers, the shape of them, everything.  When we visited Balboa Island ourselves a week later I took my kids to the Balboa Candy store.

Don’t you love that sign?

All the children chose a treat and I got mints.  C. Howard’s also makes violet gum, which we tried.  The wrapper made me smile.  The advertisement that it “refreshes after eating, smoking or drinking” is certainly reminiscent of times now gone.  I’m really not a gum person so I prefer the mints but my husband liked the gum a lot.   We also got a pack of the lemon mints but my children ate them so fast I have no pictures.

Now I’m all stocked up on my favorite mints.  Yum.

Hopeful Homemaker

Strawberry Shortcake (with a twist)

This dessert has become one that I love to serve when we have guests.   It’s quick and simple but elegant too.

It’s made with pound cake, strawberries, vanilla ice cream, homemade chocolate sauce and whipped cream.

Most of the time I just buy Costco’s package of 3 loaves of poundcake, but you could substitute angel food cake as well.  Next comes  a scoop of ice cream, then fresh strawberries.  A drizzle of chocolate sauce follows the strawberries, and a spoonful of whipped cream on top.


If you cut the strawberries in advance, then it only takes minutes to whip some cream and make a warm chocolate sauce.  It’s a fresh dessert without too much preparation needed.

Someone out there has probably got a fantastic recipe like this, but the first time I made it I was just scrambling to put together a last minute birthday celebration for my sister-in-law.  I happened to have these ingredients on hand and threw them together as an experiment.  It worked, and now my family loves it.

So, next time you’re in a hurry, consider this treat.  It’s delicious!

Hopeful Homemaker

Peanut Butter Cups

peanut butter cups

I begin this recipe with a disclaimer.  I had no recipe for these peanut butter cups.  I just felt like making some and they happened to turn out.  They were creamy in the middle, and everyone seemed to like them, so hopefully the simple nature of the recipe will work for you, too.

In a bowl, combine 1 1/4 cups creamy peanut butter with 1 cup confectioner sugar and 1/4 cup powdered milk.

If you need to add a bit more of something to get the right consistency, go ahead.  I wanted mine to be thick enough to roll into balls but not hard.

Roll into 24 balls.  You can let your little ones help, if you like, and get some wonky balls.

Melt some dipping chocolate.

I happened to have some candy molds that worked, but you could just stick with the balls and have peanut butter balls instead.

Pour a spoonful of chocolate into the mold…

and push a peanut butter ball into the chocolate.

Repeat until all the peanut butter balls are submerged in chocolate, and refrigerate while the chocolate sets.  Remove from the refrigerator, pop out of the molds, and dip the tops in more chocolate.

Let chocolate harden, and you’re done!


Have a great day!

Hopeful Homemaker