December 17, 2012

homemade almond joys

i grew up making chocolates every Christmas with my mom and sometimes grandma.  i have carried on this tradition in my own home since i started my own family.  i love this holiday tradition so much.  yet occasionally it gets a little stressful.  sometimes the candy gets overcooked or undercooked and successive batches are scrapped and much time is lost....or sometimes the chocolate turns white and the resulting chocolates look less than appealing and therefore unworthy of gifting.

that's why i love this recipe so much.  it's mostly foolproof (i'll get to that later), it's delicious and you can seem really fancy when really what you did was super easy.

i got this recipe from my exceptionally talented friend, liz, who has been making absolutely beautiful chocolates and scrumptious fudge for years.


1/4 t salt
1/2 C light corn syrup
12 large marshmallows (or 1 and 2/3 C mini marshmallows)
1/2 t vanilla
1 3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut (available at whole foods or like stores)
1 lb dipping chocolate (i prefer dark for this so i got a 70% cacao guittard, but a good quality milk would work well, too)
whole toasted almonds


heat syrup, marshmallows and salt until melted.  add vanilla and pour over coconut.  stir well.  let stand and cool until able to handle.  roll into balls (it helps to grease your hands).  push an almond into each ball and form some of the coconut mixture around the nut to hold it in place.  dip.

the "mostly" foolproof part comes in the dipping.  if you're using high-quality chocolate, it will be really sensitive to heat, so make sure you melt it slowly.  melting it on low power in a microwave at very short intervals will usually work fine, but you do have to be careful.  then if it's your first time dipping it will take some practice to get them to look nice, but they will certainly taste amazing regardless of what they look like.

November 14, 2012

fish cakes

some friends of ours gave us a whole bunch of pollock and i've been looking for ways to use it.  the whole family liked this one.


  • 1 lb of cod fillets (or other mild, white-fleshed fish)
  • 2 medium-sized russett potatoes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • Grapeseed oil, or other high smoke point oil such as canola oil, for frying--i just sprayed them with cooking spray and fried them on my electric skillet

Boil and mash the potatoes, set them aside.

Boil the codfish until it flakes easkly. Drain and flake the fish with a fork. Be sure to remove all bones.

Mix the flaked fish, the potatoes and the rest of the ingredients together well by hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add another egg. If too sticky, add some more bread crumbs.

Form the mixture into cakes and fry them on medium high heat in a skillet coated with oil, until nice browned on one side, then flip them over and continue to cook until well browned on the other side.

stuffed acorn squash

i think you really have to love both squash and mushrooms to like this recipe and i really do.

from everyday food magazine.

  • 2 acorn squash (1 pound each), halved crosswise, seeded, and bottoms trimmed to lie flat, if necessary
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound cremini or button mushrooms, trimmed and diced small
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, season cut sides of squash with salt and pepper, drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, and turn cut sides down. Cover sheet tightly with foil and roast until tender, about 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium straight-sided skillet, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high. Add mushrooms, onion, and thyme; season with salt and pepper. Saute until mushrooms are golden, 8 minutes. Add rice and broth and bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 20 minutes.
  3. Remove squash from oven and heat broiler. Carefully scoop out 2 to 3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half and stir into rice; season with salt and pepper. Divide rice mixture among squash halves, sprinkle with Parmesan, and broil until melted, 2 minutes.

November 09, 2012

sweet-potato sausage soup

trying new recipes is a risky business.  either you create something fabulous or something fabulously revolting.  i was a little nervous when i started making this for dinner because i thought there was a really good chance it could swing either way.  lucky for me, this time it was fabulous.

i adapted it from everyday food magazine.


1 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced large
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 large spicy chicken sausage links, casings removed
2 yams (1 lb), peeled and diced medium
4 C chicken broth
2 C water
3/4 C small pasta shells
1 1/2 C roughly chopped swiss chard
parmesan shavings


in a large pot, heat oil over med-high.  add onion and garlic and cook until onion is softened, about 6 min; season with salt and pepper.  add sausage and cook until browned, about 5 min.  add yams, broth and water and bring to a boil.  add pasta and cook 3 minutes less than package directions.  reduced to a simmer, add swiss chard and cook til pasta is tender and chard wilted, about 4 min.  top with parmesan shavings and serve.

November 07, 2012

sausage, pear and brie calzones

my kids love "pizza pockets." i normally fill them with the typical ricotta, mozzarella, meat and marinara, but this week i was just yearning for something out of the ordinary.  this was absolutely delicious.  just a perfect blend of flavors and textures.  and the fact that i cheated and used a ready-made pizza dough--thus cutting the prep time in half--made the meal all the more enjoyable.  done in less than 25 minutes!

from everyday food magazine.


1 pillsbury thin crust pizza dough--i will always make it using this instead of making my own dough.  there's no way i could replicate the light, airy...almost flakiness of this crust.  it was perfect.
4 chicken sausage links, casings removed, sliced and sauteed til brown
1 pear, thinly sliced
6 oz brie, torn off into chunks


unroll dough and cut in half (now you have two smaller rectangles).  on the bottom half of each rectangle arrange the sausage, then pear slices, then brie.  fold top half onto the bottom.  pinch and roll over to seal.  bake @ 400 for 15 minutes.

everyday food magazine adds a few suggestions for other calzone concoctions that might be worth a try.  here they are (i also tried the ham and broccoli version and really liked that as well):

1) mushrooms, artichoke hearts and fontina; 2) ham, broccoli and sharp cheddar; 3) ricotta, spinach and fresh mozzarella; and 4) 3/4 ricotta, 3 tablespoons powered sugar, 3 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate and 1/2 C chopped nuts of choice.

October 26, 2012

spiced pumpkin bran muffins

a muffin makes the cut at our house if it's delicious, healthy and still moist two days after baking.  these definitely made the cut.  i'll add a titch more ginger next time.


  • 1 can pumpkin puree (no pumpkin? try sweet potato puree instead)
  • 1 cup wheat bran
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (low fat yogurt/fat free buttermilk work too--i used non-fat greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 cup raisins--i used golden

bake @ 400 for 20 min.

October 01, 2012

rolled omelet

i just loved this concept of being able to make a huge omelet all at once and not stand at the stove for an hour, making individualized omelets for each family member.  this way, the adults can have their half with veggies and herbs and "nasty" cheese and the kids can have theirs the boring way.  from everyday food magazine.

  • Olive oil, for pan
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/3 flour
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper
  • add-ins
  • cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush a 10-by-15-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan with oil. Line bottom of pan with parchment, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the two shorter sides. Brush parchment with oil.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together milk and flour. Add eggs, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, and teaspoon pepper; whisk to combine. Pour into pan. Sprinkle spinach over top in an even layer.
  3. Bake until edges of omelet are set, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with cheddar; bake until cheese has melted, 2 to 4 minutes. Beginning at one shorter end, lift parchment, and roll up omelet tightly, peeling back parchment as you go. Slice and serve.

September 30, 2012

salmon with soy sauce and brown sugar

my daughter wouldn't touch salmon before we tried this recipe.  thumbs up all around.  i adapted it from an recipe.  after doing some research on how to grill the perfect salmon filet, we got the grill hot, hot, then placed the fish flesh side down first for 3 minutes, then flipped them over for 4 minutes more.  it was perfect.  and, if you carefully slide your spatula under the flesh, you can leave the skin right on the grill for clean up later.

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon fillets
  • ginger to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
marinate at least two hours.

stuffed pork chops

i just love these.  use a really sharp cheddar and a slightly sour apple.  from


3 thick sliced pork chops
2 slices bread
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. thyme
1-2 tbsp. raisins
1/2 med. apple, cored and chopped
1/8 c. or less shredded cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp. orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pam or other spray vegetable oil

Cut a pocket into pork chops; trim off fat. Salt and pepper inside pocket. Cube the bread into small pieces and put in baking dish. Add butter. Place in preheating oven until butter is melted. Toss bread and butter; pour into small bowl. Sprinkle with nutmeg and thyme. Add raisins, chopped apple, cheese and juice; toss together. Stuff pork chops, place in baking pan. Spray with vegetable cooking oil. Bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour. Serves 2 adults and 2 children.

indonesian chicken

i made this years ago and forgot all about it until a while ago when i saw some mangoes in the store and thought, "hey, i ought to make that again."  i'm glad i did.  i served it over jasmine rice that i steamed in coconut milk and lime juice.  i found it at


1 1/2 c. onion, chopped
3 c. garlic
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/2 tsp. curry
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 - 2 ripe mangos
3 tbsp. horseradish
1 tbsp. hot taco sauce
1 - 2 tbsp. honey
1/4 - 1/2 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
6 chicken thighs (i used breasts)

saute onion in oil with garlic until very soft. add mustard, curry, ginger and continue to saute to develop flavors. mash mango and add remaining ingredients. simmer with onion and garlic 15 minutes to blend flavors. Sauce should be thick like waffle batter.  put chicken in shallow baking dish. pour sauce over chicken and marinate in refrigerator 1 to 2 hours or overnight. bake at 350 degrees until chicken is done, 1 hour.

hot rice cereal with nuts and raisins

i can't get enough of variations on rice pudding.  this was one i easily whipped up for breakfast before school and yet it was still scrumptious!


3 C cooked rice (i used a mix of jasmine and sushi rice which made it more filling and more sweet)
2 C whole milk (i used a mix of half and half and 2%.  i think next time i might try almond milk and omit the syrup)
3 T maple syrup
roasted chopped almonds
golden raisins
freshly ground nutmeg


stir rice, milk and syrup over medium-high heat til hot.  top with everything else and enjoy!

romaine salad with crispy prosciutto

prosciutto is something i see in a lot of recipes and always avoid because it's completely foreign to me.  well, last week i was feeling bold (and rich, apparently--it's super pricey) and finally got myself some prosciutto to try.  i bought a 1/4 of a pound and used it for three different recipes.  they were all delicious.  this and the next two posts are the recipes.  

from everyday food magazine.
  • 1 small ciabatta roll, torn into pieces (i used some sourdough french bread)
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 slices prosciutto, broiled til crisp
  • 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 romaine heart, chopped
  • 1/2 cup canned white beans, rinsed and drained
brush bread with olive oil and broil til crunchy.   toss it all together.  yum, yum and yum!  the vinegar is great, but i also absolutely love cardini's honey mustard.  i will never buy another honey mustard!

gemelli with cauliflower, bacon and sage

this was so delicious and so quick to make!  the sauce is quite spare and works great if you eat it piping hot.  however, if it sits a few minutes, or you want to have leftovers, i would mix about 1/2 C of some sort of dairy (just whatever you have on hand--milk, half and half, even a thin sour cream) when you add the pasta water. 

i used prosciutto instead of bacon and therefore didn't cook it over the stove, but briefly broiled it.  i also added some parmesan shavings on top.  from everyday food magazine.


3/4 lb gemilli or other short pasta (i used casarecce)
5 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 in pieces
3 T butter
5 green onions, sliced (white parts only)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (our local grocer had orange cauliflower--that was a fun change)
2 T fresh sage leaves, chopped (i had some freeze dried that worked perfectly)
2 t red wine vinegar


boil and drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 C of the water.  meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, cook bacon over medium until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 10 minutes. with a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. add butter, onions, and garlic to skillet and cook until onions are softened, 10 minutes. add cauliflower, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender, 8 minutes. stir in bacon and sage and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. add cauliflower mixture to pot with pasta. stir in vinegar and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce that coats pasta. season with salt and pepper.

pesto and prosciutto sandwiches

another great way to use prosciutto.  you can leave it as-is, or broil it for a couple minutes for crispy.  from everyday food magazine.


toast some thick slices of crusty bread (i used sourdough).  spread on the pesto.  top with prosciutto, slices of hard-boiled egg and parmesan cheese shavings.  delicious!

a different kind of meatloaf

in all our nine years of marriage i have never once made meatloaf because i remember him telling me when we were engaged that he didn't care for it.  this version, however, gained his and my children's approval.  

you can make it with pork or turkey.  i used turkey and substituted the fresh parsley, salt and italian seasoning with harry and david's turkey rub.  it's from everyday food magazine.


1 1/2 lb ground pork or turkey
2 C thawed frozen hash browns
1 large carrot, shredded
1 small onion, shredded
1/4 C parsley, roughly chopped
2 large egg whites
2 t coarse salt
3/4 t pepper
2 t italian seasoning


mix everything together.  transfer to a parchment-lined loaf pan and form into a loaf.  bake @ 350 until golden brown, about 1 hour.  serve with your favorite gravy.

August 15, 2012

apple butter

tell me why i don't have a year's supply of this in my food storage!?!  this should be nestled comfortably next to my raspberry freezer jam.  yum and yum.  found it at  i put only a 1/4C sugar in and it was plenty sweet.


  • 12 – 14 sweet-tart apples (like a Winesap)
  • 2 cups apple cider or juice
  • sugar
  • ground cinnamon
  • ground allspice
  • ground cloves
  • freshly ground nutmeg

 Lightly oil crockpot. Don’t peel, but wash, core and quarter apples. Put in crockpot. Stir in cider. Cover and cook on low for 10 – 18 hours (or high for 2 – 4 hours).

Put soft fruit in food mill to remove skins. Measure fruit back into crockpot. For each pint (2 cups) of fruit add: 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/2 ground cloves and 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 6 to 8 hours. Stir every 2 hours. Remove cover after 3 hours to allow fruit and juice to cook down. Spoon into hot canning jars and proceed according to canning jar directions. Or spoon into freezer containers. Allow apple butter to cool and then store in freezer.
Makes about 5 cups.

July 17, 2012

spinach gorgonzola cornbread

i thought this was so tasty.  however, i couldn't think of an occasion or a main dish where i would say, "what would be really great with this is that spinach gorgonzola cornbread!"  it almost tastes like quiche, just a touch sweeter.  so when i make it again, i might add some ham and vegetables to just make it a main dish.

this same recipe is on a few websites so i don't know who to attribute it to.  all the recipes say to cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.  mine wasn't quite done in the middle after that and needed about 45 more minutes on low.


17 oz cornbread mix (i used marie calendars) 
3 eggs 
1/2 cup cream 
1 (10 ounce) box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained 
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola 
1 teaspoon ground black pepper 
paprika (optional--for color on crust) 


spray crock pot with cooking spray.  combine all ingredients and scoop into crock pot.  cook on high for 1 1/2 hours.

June 21, 2012

hello, hummus--just added cilantro lime

recently i went on a trip and the airline served pita chips with some sort of cream cheese nasty. since then i've been craving pita chips the real way--with hummus!
i've made hummus several times in the past but haven't ever found the perfect recipe. i think i've finally found the right mix of flavors, specifically with regards to the garlic.
i'll give you the base recipe and then show you the two variations i made that i was really pleased with.

plain ol' hummus
1 garlic clove
1/2 tsp salt
2 T tahini (sesame seed paste)--not optional, folks!
1/8 C lemon juice
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/4 C olive oil

blend the first three ingredients until smooth in a food processor. then add the last three. yum!  
cilantro and lime hummus
prepare as directed, substituting the lemon juice with 3 T lime juice and then adding 1/3 cup packed fresh cilantro and 1/2 t (or more to taste) cumin.

sun-dried tomato hummus

after everything else is blended and smooth, add about a 1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes (the kind that are packed in oil) and some generous shakes of basil. double yum!
roasted garlic and artichoke hummus
substitute the 1 garlic clove for one full bulb of roasted garlic (see instructions below*) and follow directions above. after everything else is blended and smooth, add about a 1/3 C canned artichokes, drained and some generous shakes of oregano. the yummiest!
*preheat oven to 400. leave the skin on the garlic bulb and cut a little bit off the top so the garlic is exposed. super lightly drizzle with olive oil and a twinge of salt. wrap in foil with enough room for steam. roast for 30-40 or until it becomes brownish and mushy.
as a sidenote about the roasted garlic--i roasted a few bulbs and used one bulb for two large baking potatoes to make roasted garlic mashed potatoes. my kids devoured it. seriously. even the one that usually hates potatoes of any kind.

June 20, 2012

cardamom and lemon rice pudding

i adore rice pudding.  this variation was unique and delicious!  i adapted it to lower fat and calories from a recipe i found at  super yummy to add toasted slivered almonds...

  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
  • 5 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 cups cooked medium-grain white rice
  • 1 cup golden raisins

 In slow cooker, whisk together milk, cream, eggs, granulated and brown sugars, vanilla, zest, cardamom pods, and nutmeg. Stir in rice, cover and cook on high 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, add raisins, and cook 1 hour more, stirring occasionally. Serve warm.

June 19, 2012

thai chicken wraps

yum, yum and yum!  i cheated and bought some thai peanut salad dressing at the store and i love it because it's not too spicy for me (i'm a spice whimp) but still flavorful enough for my husband.  also, i wanted it to be more filling so i added some jasmine rice.

p.s.  the seasoning on the chicken is super flavorful and versatile.  i'll use it for stir-fry or for any number of salad combinations.  also, i didn't have grill seasoning, so i threw some together using this recipe.

from rachel ray


  • 3 (6-ounce) chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grill seasoning


  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced on an angle
  • 2 cups fresh bean sprouts
  • 1 cup shredded carrots, available in pouches in produce department
  • 3 scallions, sliced on an angle
  • 12 leaves basil, chopped or torn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint leaves (4 sprigs)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar or white vinegar
  • Salt

Spicy peanut sauce:


Heat a grill pan over high heat. Toss chicken with soy and oil and grill 6 minutes on each side.

Combine cucumber, sprouts, carrots, scallions, basil, mint and sesame with a generous sprinkle of sugar and vinegar. Season salad with salt, to taste.

Whisk peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne together. Stream in vegetable oil.

Slice cooked chicken on an angle. Toss with veggies and herbs.

In a very hot nonstick skillet or over a gas burner heat tortillas 15 seconds on each side.

Pile chicken and veggies in wraps and drizzle liberally with spicy peanut sauce before wrapping and rolling.

grill seasoning

it's a good one!  from
  • 3 tablespoons fresh coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder or flakes
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

soy-ginger chicken

our kitchen is under construction so i have been trying out slow cooker recipes.  the whole family really enjoyed this one.  and, for the record--if you can't seem to find the cornstarch you packed and you don't have access to a cook top, mixing flour and water together for the last step and then heating it in the microwave works fabulously!

p.s.  i wanted more carrots.  i'll use 4 or 5 next time.


  • 1/3 cup(s) soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) dark-brown sugar
  • 5 clove(s) garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2/3 cup(s) fresh cilantro, chopped, plus sprigs for garnish
  • 1 piece(s) (about 2 inches long) fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 5  scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal (1 cup packed)
  • 1 tablespoon(s) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon(s) ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground pepper
  • 4  chicken drumsticks and 4 thighs (about 2 1/2 pounds total), skin removed
  • 2  carrots, thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 tablespoon(s) cornstarch
  • Cooked white rice, (for serving)

  1. In a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker, stir together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, cilantro, ginger, 1/2 cup scallions, vinegar, coriander, and pepper. Add chicken and carrots; toss to coat. Cover, and cook on low until chicken is tender, about 6 hours. Using a large spoon, skim off and discard any fat from surface of cooking liquid.
  2. In a 2-cup glass measuring cup, whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon water. Ladle 1 cup cooking liquid into measuring cup; whisk to combine. Pour into a small saucepan, and bring to a boil; cook until thickened, about 1 minute. With slow cooker turned off, stir in cornstarch mixture. Serve chicken with white rice, and garnish with cilantro sprigs and remaining 1/2 cup scallions.

April 22, 2012


i haven't bought rice-o-roni since college, but if i had had a box in my pantry today, i would have used it.  what i improvised turned out to be quite good and the whole family gobbled it up.  this would be a good base for pilaf and one could have fun experimenting with whatever other add-ins.


2T margarine
3/4 C jasmine rice
1/2 C orzo pasta
2 C chicken stock
a few shakes garlic salt
a few shakes oregano
a few shakes basil


melt margarine over med-high.  saute rice and orzo til browning.  add chicken stock and bring to a boil.  reduce heat to simmer, add garlic and herbs, cover and cook til soft, about 10-15 min.

multigrain bread

i had been looking for a good multigrain bread recipe and decided to look up because so many of my friends rave about the recipes there.  this recipe didn't disappoint.  i feel like all good bread has a few tricks, so go to the website here before you make it the first time.  the first time i made this recipe it seemed like there were a few extra steps and that it was complicated, but after making it a second time, i feel like it's a recipe i could get used to and actually make several times a month.  the basic recipe is below.


1 1/4 cup (6 1/4 ounces) seven-grain hot cereal mix
2 1/2 cups boiling water
3 cups (15 oz) all-purpose flour (not bread flour)
1 1/2 cups (8 1/4 oz) whole wheat flour
1/4 cup honey
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled*
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon salt
Optional (I omitted): 3/4 cup unsalted pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (1 1/2 oz) old-fashioned rolled oats or quick oats

*If you’re using salted butter, just decrease the additional salt by just a bit.


Place cereal mix in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook and pour boiling water over it; let stand, stirring occasionally, until mixture cools to 100 degrees and resembles thick porridge, about 1 hour.  Whisk flours together in separate bowl.

Once grain mixture has cooled, add honey, butter, and yeast and mix on low speed until combined.  Add flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, and knead until cohesive mass starts to form (*note: some at high altitudes have noted they have not needed all of the flour, go by look and feel and stop adding flour if you need to!) 1 1/2-2 minutes; cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20 minutes.  Add salt and knead on medium-low speed until dough clears sides of bowl, 3-4 minutes (if it does not clear sides, add 2-3 tablespoons additional all-purpose flour and knead until it does.  Don’t add more!) continue to knead dough for 5 more minutes.  Add seeds (if using) and knead for another 15 seconds.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand until seeds are dispersed evenly and dough forms smooth, round ball.  Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl; cover tightly with plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size, 45-60 minutes.

Grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.  Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and divide in half.  Press 1 piece of dough into 9×6 inch rectangle, with short side facing you.  Roll dough toward you into firm cylinder, keeping roll taut by tucking it under itself as you go.  Turn loaf seam side up and pinch it closed.  Repeat with second piece of dough.  Spray loaves lightly with water or vegetable oil spray.  Roll each loaf in oats to coat evenly and place seam side down in prepared pans, pressing gently into corners.  Cover loaves loosely with greased plastic and let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in size 30-40 minutes.  Dough should barely spring back when poked with knuckle.

Thirty minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.  Bake until loaves register 200 degrees, 35-40 minutes.  Transfer pans to wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes.  Remove loaves from pans, return to rack, and let cool to room temperature, about 2 hours, before slicing and serving.

healthy banana muffins

i found the recipe here and then tweaked it a bit.  these are super moist and super tasty.  i didn't add the chocolate chips or pecans, but i'm open to adding them a different time for a treat.

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons ground flax seed
1 egg
1/4 C oil
3/4 C applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I use at least 60% cacao)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

bake @ 350 for 20 minutes.

April 17, 2012

yummy yams

i love yams and could eat them as-is, but my family members...not so much. so i thought i'd try out a recipe from my fun friends over at little birdie secrets. if you're not familiar with their blog, you really should check them out here.

the yams were delicious, but a little too sweet for me and i even halved the amount of sugar. and then because i reduced the sugar, i think the nutmeg needs to be reduced, too. the original recipe is here.

ingredients and directions

4 c. mashed yams (about 4-5 large yams, peeled, quartered, and boiled until tender)
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 - 3/4 tsp. nutmeg

Put ingredients in a large bowl. Blend together with a mixer or beaters and put in a greased casserole dish (approx. 9" x 13").

1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. flour
1/4 c. melted butter
1/2 c. chopped pecans--almonds would work, too.

Mix and drop spoonfuls on top of yams. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes.

March 09, 2012

homemade lemonade

my friend brought this to lunch one day and it was so refreshing. i loved it because it wasn't overly sweet and it was perfectly tart. i love adding fresh mint leaves or ground cloves to lemonade for something different once in a while.

5 quarts water
3 C sugar
2 T citric acid
1 T lemon abstract.

March 04, 2012

creamy cauliflower soup--without the cream!

this soup was so delicious! it made just barely enough for my family and we were all sad that we didn't have leftovers today. i didn't have sharp white cheddar so i did half regular cheddar and half emmentaler. it came from everyday food magazine.


3 T butter
1 medium yellow onion, diced small (i used 4 green onions)
1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and cut
4 C chicken broth, maybe more for consistency if needed/wanted
1 1/2 C sharp white cheddar
coarse salt and ground pepper
cayenne pepper


1. in a large pot, melt butter over medium. add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 8 minutes. add cauliflower and cook until just beginning to brown, 12 minutes. add broth and 1 C water; bring to a boil over high. reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is very tender, 20 minutes. transfer mixture to a large bowl.

2. in batches, fill a blender halfway with mixture and puree until smooth. return pureed soup to pot and add more broth or water for a thinner consistency, if wanted. heat over medium until warmed through; and cheese in batches and stir until melted. season with salt and pepper. serve sprinkled with cayenne.

January 26, 2012

crock pot dinners

i would love to cook dinner in my crock pot more often. however, i distrust a lot of recipes i find because i guess i just don't always believe that only three ingredients are all you need for a scrumptious main dish. what are your favorite crock pot dinner recipes? i'd really love to have some trusted recipes to try. thanks!

January 23, 2012

1 chicken, 5 ways, 7 days

last sunday i roasted a chicken and we used it all week for various meals. i thought i'd share what i did.

day 1: roasted chicken with roasted root vegetables

i had a 4lb chicken, doused in harry and david's turkey rub, that i roasted @ 375 for a little over an hour and a half in my roasting pan. while it was cooling and i was making gravy from the drippings, i made cooked my roasted root vegetables. save the gravy for a meal later in the week.

day 2 and 3: chicken soft tacos

i took some of the breast meat that wasn't covered with turkey rub and marinated it in a little bit of olive oil, lime juice, garlic salt and cumin. then i quickly sauteed it and added all of our favorite soft taco toppings and voila! i served it with chips and my corn and bean salsa.

day 4: chinese noodles

this is something i grew up eating and i'm probably the only one who likes it, but my kids didn't seem to mind it, so it'll go on the list of possible future dinners. warm your favorite chicken stock. add fresh soba noodles (quickly cooked however you'd like--boiled, sauteed), shredded chicken, chunked boiled egg, green onions and soy sauce. i served it with some egg rolls i had made previously and frozen.

day 5: chef salad

some of my favorite add-ins are boiled egg, kidney beans, broccoli, tomatoes, cauliflower, cucumbers, olives, sunflower seeds and croutons.

day 6 & 7: chicken and dumplings

i have never had, nor made this before so i had nothing to compare this to, but the whole family enjoyed it, so for right now, it's good enough for me. i got it from the better homes and gardens cook book and since the chicken was already cooked, i saved steps by using that and the gravy i had reserved from day 1. i served this over the roasted root vegetables we had on day 1 as well and it proved to be a good use of leftovers.


2 - 2 1/2 lbs meaty chicken pieces
3 C water
1 medium onion, cut into wedges
1 t dried basil
1/2 t salt
1/4 t dried marjoram
1/4 t pepper
1 bay leaf
1 C sliced celery
1 C sliced carrots
1/2 C sliced mushrooms
1 C flour
1 T snipped fresh parsley
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1/4 t dried oregano
1 beaten egg
1/4 C milk
2 T vegetable oil


1. skin chicken and rinse. in a large pot combine chicken, 3 C water, onion, basil, 1/2 t salt, marjoram, pepper and bay leaf. bring to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer 25 minutes. add celery, carrots and mushrooms. return to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer 10 minutes. discard bay leaf.

2. for dumplings, in a mixing bowl combine the 1 C flour, parsley, baking powder, the 1/4 t salt, and oregano. in another bowl combine the egg, milk and oil; add to flour mixture. stir with a fork til just moistened. drop batter onto the hot chicken and not onto the broth. return to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the dumplings comes out clean. transfer chicken and dumplings and vegetables to a serving platter, keep warm.

3. make gravy with remaining broth.

January 11, 2012

health nut blueberry muffins

a fun way to use some of the blueberries we picked this summer and a perfect after school snack. i got it from i didn't have oat bran so i substituted wheat bran and i didn't have a banana so i substituted about 1/3 C applesauce. they took 20 minutes in my oven.

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, oat bran, quick-cooking oats, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir in the blueberries and walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed banana, buttermilk, egg, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix just until blended. Spoon into muffin cups, filling all the way to the top.
  3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly touched.