Kaitlyn follows her grandmother's lead in hostessing.
"My granddaughter thinks we're having a party because I keep a tablecloth on."
Kaitlyn enjoys getting in on the act. "She says, 'Let's have a party for papaw.'"
To create a festive look for the table, Kaitlyn often cuts out fish from construction paper since she knows her grandfather likes to fish.
In choosing special treats for her guests, Bennett likes to create foods that are simple but elegant.
"I'm not like Martha Stewart where I do a big souffle. I just like to make things pretty."
Ideas from food magazine
A food magazine that Kraft sends in the mail gives her some ideas. "I always get ideas somewhere and I change them a little bit."
A recent find in the Kraft magazine was Oreo Truffles. They use one of her favorite ingredients.
"If anyone asks me what I keep in my refrigerator at all times, it's cream cheese."
She often works with peanut butter because it is a favorite taste of her husband.
Cheesecakes are tricky, but they are one of her favorite desserts to prepare. One tip she offers is to put the cheesecake in a pan of water to bake.
"It makes it creamier," she says.
Bennett says she learned to cook while growing up in Portsmouth, Ohio. Her mother was a cook at a school and a state hospital.
"That's funny because she didn't like to cook at home. I was the one who always cooked when we were at home," Bennett said.
Mother-in-law was inspiration
When it comes to making fancy desserts, Bennett credits her mother-in-law as an inspiration. Her mother-in-law makes wedding cakes, including Bennett's when she and Brian married 30 years ago. "She's tried to teach me to make roses and I can't."
When not hostessing, Bennett devotes her time to redecorating the house.
"They tease me because I'm at Lowe's every day," says Bennett, who has painted the entire house. Kitchen projects included painting it a dark red and installing hardwood floors, granite countertops and tile on the walls. The cabinets received a new finish and one was raised in the center.
A new interest is gardening.
"Next summer, I have big plans," she says, noting she already made one flowerbed.
Chocolate Turtle Cheesecake
2 cups graham crackers
1/2 cup melted butter
12-ounce jar caramel topping
2-ounce bag pecan pieces
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine crushed graham crackers and melted butter. Press firmly into bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Pour caramel topping over crust, then sprinkle with pecan pieces. Melt chocolate chips 1 1/2 minutes in microwave and set aside to cool slightly. In medium bowl, cream together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with mixer on medium speed until blended. Add eggs, one at a time. Blend in chocolate chips. Pour over pecans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
Loosen from rim, then refrigerate for two hours before removing rim.
1 package Oreo chocolate cookies
8-ounce package cream cheese
Two 8-ounce packages semi-sweet baking chocolate
Crush six of the cookies to fine crumbs. Reserve for topping. Crush remaining cookies to fine crumbs. Place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese. Mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into balls. Melt chocolate following directions on box. Dip balls in chocolate. Place on baking sheet covered in wax paper. Sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Refrigerate until firm.
Puff Heart Pastry
1 package frozen puff pastry
8-ounce package cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
8-ounce tub Cool Whip
1 square semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1/2 cup fresh or frozen fruit (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Cut pastry into shapes with cookie cutters and place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.
Cream together cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Fold Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture. Cut each shape horizontally in half. Fill with cream cheese mixture. Top with fruit if desired and cover with tops. Drizzle with chocolate. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.
Servings vary by size of cookie cutter. A pizza cutter can be used to make squares.
2 packages cream cheese
3 tablespoons Accent
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, chopped
2 packages dried beef, finely chopped and divided in half.
In medium-size bowl, mix together cream cheese, Accent, Worcestershire sauce and onion. Add 1/2 of finely chopped beef. Form mixture into a ball.
Cover with remaining beef. Serve with crackers.