Baking the Semi-Homemade Way


Some of my earliest memories contain fingers coated in flour, sprinkles dancing away, and sitting on top of the counter to roll out pie dough. As a result, I’ve always loved baking. I’ve done my best to instill a love of baking with my kids, and my son’s goal to be an astronaut chef is fairly good evidence I’ve succeeded so far. 

But with busy schedules of preschool, working from home, activities and events, we don’t always have the time to give baking its due diligence.

I was beyond grateful when I discovered some shortcuts that let us have fun baking, but with just a little bit less work so we can fit it in more frequently. I wanted to share a couple of recipes in case you, too, would like to bake more.

[yumprint-recipe id=’1′]These cookies are firm enough to not fall apart, but soft and chewy inside. I love using chocolate cake mix with peanut butter chips to make Reese’s style cookies. Bonus: cake mix is often half the price of cookie mix!

[yumprint-recipe id=’2′]

I spent years making these without knowing the ‘semi-homemade’ language that goes with it. What are your favorite semi-homemade recipes and baking hacks? 

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Christine Derr
Hey, y’all! I’m an adventurous wanderer who put down roots here in East Tennessee back in 2014. My little family moved here from the wilds of suburban Alaska in 2014. We love exploring Knoxville and the surrounding areas, especially the Smoky Mountains. I’m a freelance writer and teacher who loves looking at the mountains when my nose isn’t in a book. I’m a mom to two bookish kids, a wildly clingy dog, two cats, and a fish I’d be in trouble for not mentioning. Since becoming a mom, I’ve been able to add Lincoln Log architect, LEGO contractor, and mediator to my resume. I’ve always been a bit of a jack of all trades, as I’ve been a tutor, teacher, circus instructor, bookseller, amateur baker and, of course, writer. I remind myself of this as I tell my kid not to sit on my other kid’s head while stopping the dog from chasing the cat and the other cat from jumping on top of the fish tank. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and am currently pursing my Master of Fine Arts while keeping all these creatures who live in my house alive. I survive on coffee, writing fiction, reading, Disney, and snuggles. You can read more of my work at


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