Filled Monster Brain Cupcakes

4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup seedless jam (any berry type)
1 2/3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cup sucanat
3 eggs
1/3 cup milk

1/2 pint whipping cream
1/4 cup seedless jam

3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 tbsp milk
1/2 cup butter, softened
food coloring

Preheat oven to 350º.  Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

Microwave chocolate and jam on high for 1 minute.  Stir.  Microwave again for 30 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  You can also do this in a double boiler.  Allow to cool on counter.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.  In an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.  Alternately add flour and milk in thirds.  Mix thoroughly.

When chocolate mixture is cool to the touch, slowly add it to the batter.  Mix well.

Let the batter sit for about 5 minutes.  Gently stir again by hand.  Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool on cooling rack.

Using an apple corer, press corer into center of cupcake about 3/4 of the way through.  Pull out "core" and eat it.  :)  Repeat with remaining cupcakes.

Whip cream in medium bowl until stiff peaks form.  Add jam and gently mix in.  Fill pastry bag (or ziptop bag with corner cut off) with whipped cream mixture.  Fill cupcake holes with cream.

Mix powdered sugar, vanilla and butter.  Add milk 1 tablespoon at a time until frosting is a spreadable consistency.  Add desired food colorings to make "brain" color.

Fill pastry bag (or ziptop bag with corner cut off) with frosting.  Using swirly zigzags, frost the tops of the cupcakes to look like brains.

Apple Cinnamon Toast

slices of whole wheat toast
apple, sliced thin
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl.  Place bread slices on a baking pan.  Place pan under oven broiler until lightly toasted.  Remove pan and flip slices over.  Butter each slice, top with apple slices and sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture over apples.  Place back under broiler and toast until lightly toasted and sugar is lightly caramelized.

Homemade Turkey Sausage

This is fantastic!  It tastes just like pork or beef sausage, but without all the fat!  You can make it into patties or ground sausage.

2 lbs ground turkey
1 egg
1 tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp fennel seed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (add more pepper or crushed red pepper if you like it spicy!)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours.  This is important!  It gives all the flavors time to meld and permeate the meat!

Brown sausage in a lightly greased pan and enjoy!


Cinnamon (or Orange) Rolls

Compliments of Marilyn N

About 3 dozen rolls

3 cups hot water
1 cup instant powdered milk
½ cup potato flakes (not pearls)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 eggs
½ cup sucanat
1½ tbsp yeast
½ cup butter (very soft)
2 tsp salt
8-9 cups whole wheat pastry flour

3 tbsp melted butter
½ cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon OR grated orange rind

4 tbsp melted butter
powdered sugar (½ bag or so)
cold milk OR orange juice (again, add till consistency is right)

Combine water, powdered milk, potato flakes, 2 cups flour and eggs. Add sugar and yeast. Mix well and add butter and salt until smooth. Add flour, enough to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth, at least 5 min.

Place dough in greased bowl. Cover with towel and place in warm oven. Let rise 1½ hrs. Punch down. Let rise 45 min. Punch down.

Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a large rectangle. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with mixture of sugar and cinnamon (or orange rind and sugar). Roll up from long side. Cut each roll using dental floss into ¾ inch slices. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 30-45 minutes or until double.

Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes. Frost rolls while still hot, using pastry brush.


Coconut Cream Rice Pudding

3 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/2 cups refrigerated coconut milk
14 oz canned coconut milk
2/3 cup sucanat
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon, divided
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut

Combine cooked rice, coconut milks, sugar and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan.  Add raisins.  Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  It should still be soupy.  Remove from heat.  Mix 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon into rice mixture.

Meanwhile toast coconut flakes in a dry skillet over medium low heat just until edges start to turn golden.  Remove from heat.

Spoon pudding into a serving dish and dust with remaining cinnamon and toasted coconut.  Serve warm or chilled.

Stuffed Red Peppers

4 large sweet red peppers
1 lb ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
3 cups cooked brown rice
2 tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 - 8 oz cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp + 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dried basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Cut tops off peppers; remove seeds. Cut peppers in half length-wise.

In a skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Remove from the heat and stir in rice, parsley, salt, cayenne and allspice.  In a small saucepan, bring tomato sauce and broth to a boil.  Stir in the vinegar, basil and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.  Stir 1/2 the sauce into rice mixture.  Spoon into peppers.  Place in a foil-lined baking pan.

Cover with foil and bake at 350º for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.  Uncover and bake for additional 5-10 minutes or until peppers are tender.  Serve with remaining sauce.


Chili Cornbread Muffins

I have a bunch of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mixes, so I've just been using them.  But I'm on the lookout for a "from scratch" recipes for corn muffins.  These are really good!  They come together really fast and are wonderful to freeze and save for a quick, healthy meal!

2 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mixes
1 can your favorite chili

Make mixes according to directions.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mix into greased muffin tins.

Spoon 1 tablespoon chili on top of the muffin batter.

Bake at 400º for 15 minutes.

Corndog Muffins

I have a bunch of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mixes, so I've just been using them.  But I'm on the lookout for a "from scratch" recipes for corn muffins.  These are really good!  They come together really fast and are wonderful to freeze and save for a quick, healthy meal!

1 Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
5-6 beef hotdogs (I like Hebrew National)

Make mixes according to directions.  Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mix into greased muffin tins.

Cut hotdogs into thirds.  Press hotdogs into muffin batter.

Bake at 400º for 15 minutes.

Peach Dessert

I have wonderful memories of sneaking into the orchard, picking the perfectly ripe peaches off the trees and savoring every bite with the sweet juices dripping down my arms as I sat in the shade of the peach tree.  My mouth is watering...

My mom would make this dessert every year when the peaches were coming on.  I don't have a peach tree so I don't think about making this very often.  I just talked with her the other day and she mentioned making it and I remembered how much I loved it.  So in the spirit of I-rarely-follow-a-recipe-exactly, I've made some changes.

The original recipe calls for 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 eggs and 1/2 cup butter in place of the Bird's Custard.  I used to not care about eating raw eggs, but now it bothers me.  So I used the custard.  I found it in the baking section or next to the pudding and jello.  If you can't find the Bird's, Jello and Junket both make a custard.  Two small packages either should work, but it won't be as good.  :)  Also, I didn't have whipped cream so I used coconut milk.  It works basically the same.  Refrigerate a can of coconut milk for a few hours.  The cream will separate from the coconut water.  Carefully spoon the cream off the top, put it into a bowl and whip it as you would whipped cream.

18 oz pkg vanilla sandwich cookies
1 recipe Bird's Custard
6-8 fresh peaches, peeled, pitted and slices
1 pt whipping cream OR 15 oz can coconut milk

Crush cookies in a ziptop bag.  Pour crumbs into a 9"x13" baking pan, reserving 1/2 cup for garnish.  Make custard according to directions on can.  Pour custard over crumbs.  Layer peaches on custard.  Whip cream, but don't add sugar.  Spread whipped cream over peaches.  Top with remaining cookie crumbs.  Refrigerate for about 2 hours and enjoy!


Experimental Brownies

I have a good recipe for moist, fudgy brownies.  But I have been trying to find a more healthy recipe for brownies using whole wheat flour.  Every time I have tried one they come out crumbly and dry.  So I doubled my recipe minus one egg and used half white/half wheat flour this time.  They still came out crumbly but more fudgy than other attempts.  I have a few other tricks I'm going to try, but it is getting better.

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups sucanat, powdered
3 eggs
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Grease bottom of 9"x13" baking pan.

Mix butter, oil and sucanat in a mixing bowl.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix throughly.  Add remaining ingredients and mix for two minutes on high.

Bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Whipped Ice Cream

I was in an experimental mood today.  I wanted to make ice cream but didn't want to use eggs.  I haven't had the best of luck with a cooked custard ice cream.  It always tasted eggy to me.  So I wondered what would happen if I whipped the cream beforehand?  It has a nice creamy texture without the eggs.  I love it! I'm going to try this again with half the cream and twice the milk.  I'll let you know how it goes!  :)

Makes 2 quarts

1 pint heavy cream
1 small package vanilla pudding
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup whole milk

Whip cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.  Pour whipped cream into ice cream maker.  Add remaining ingredients.  Mix ice cream according to directions.


Best Chicken Dinner Ever!!

I got the marinade recipe off the Old Bay seasoning tin.  It was fabulous!  I used frozen chicken and it cooked perfectly.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp Old Bay seasoning
1 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine everything but chicken in a ziptop bag.  Mix throughly and add chicken.  Refrigerate 20-30 minutes turning over half way through.

Preheat grill to medium-high.  Place chicken on grill for 5 minutes.  Rotate chicken 1/4 turn and grill additional 5 minutes.  Turn chicken over and repeat grill times.  Baste chicken with marinade every time you rotate it.  Test  temperature in thickest part of breast.  It should read about 175 deg.

Serve with cooked rice mixed with sauteed onions and a green salad.


Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

Yes, there is a reason that my tortillas are rectangle.  I used my pasta maker attachment to roll out the dough.  It's only about 6 inches wide so I was a bit limited in my circular shape.  I rolled them out thinner as well.  That will effect your cooking time, so be aware of that!!  It only took about 10 seconds per side.

adapted from CookingMexicanRecipes

5 cups of soft wheat flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup powdered milk
4 tbsp oil
1 1/2 cup warm water

Combine 4 cups of flour, baking powder, salt and milk in a mixing bowl.  In another bowl combine the warm water and oil.

With mixer on medium, slowly add the water and oil mixture to the flour mixture until everything is all mixed together.  Add remaining flour a couple tablespoons at a time.  Dough will begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl.  Add enough flour until dough is soft and not sticky.

Divide dough into small balls, about 2 tablespoons.  Place the balls on a baking pan or counter, making sure they don't touch each other and cover with a damp cloth.  Let them rest for 20-30 minutes.

Preheat an ungreased skillet or cast iron pan on medium high heat.

Lightly dust surface with flour.  Take a ball of dough and flatten it out to a 4-inch circle.  Rub flour on your rolling pin and roll the dough from the center out.  Roll the tortilla until it is 6- or 7-inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.

Place tortilla on preheated skillet.  Cook tortilla for about 15-30 seconds, just until it starts to look dry. Flip it over and cook an additional 10-20 seconds.

Don't over cook it!  You want the tortilla to be nice and soft.

Keep your tortillas warm by covering them in a towel on a plate or in a tortilla warmer.

Tortillas are best eaten hot right off the griddle, but you can refrigerate and freeze them too.

If you freeze the tortillas, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and put them in a ziplock bag. When you are ready to use them, first thaw at room temperature and then wrap them in foil and place them in a 250 degree oven for a 10-15 minutes.


Healthy Cheese Crackers

4 oz finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup oil
2 cups soft whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
6 tbsp cold water

Preheat oven to 350 deg.  Beat cheese and oil together.  Add flour, salt and baking powder.  Mix in water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough cleans the sides of the bowl.  It will be slightly sticky.

Grease baking pan.  Roll dough out on pan to about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares with a pizza cutter.  Sprinkle with salt (I used my salt shaker).

Bake for 15 minutes.  Cool on cooking rack.  Break into squares and store in an air tight container.  If you let these sit in the oven for about 30-45 minutes, after baking with the oven off, they will crisp up after cooling.  I  wasn't patient enough.  :)  They are still really good though!


"Healthier" No Bake Cookies

2 cups sucanat
½ cup almond or rice milk
1/3 cup butter
¼ tsp salt
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup cocoa
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups regular oats

Mix sucanat, milk, butter and salt in large saucepan over medium heat.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and add peanut butter, cocoa and vanilla.  Mix well.  Stir in oats.

Drop by tablespoonfuls (I use my 2 tbsp scoop) onto wax paper and allow to cool until firm.


French Toast Sticks

I liked this recipe because I didn't need to use a dozen eggs.  They still came out soft in the middle and crispy on the outside.  Lovely!

Adapted from allrecipes

1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used soft wheat pastry flour)
1 cup almond milk
1 pinch salt
3 eggs
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp sucanat
12 slices whole wheat bread

Measure flour into a large mixing bowl.  Slowly whisk in the milk.  Whisk in the salt, eggs, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sucanat until smooth.

Heat a lightly oiled or non-stick griddle or frying pan over medium heat.

Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated.  Cook bread on each side until golden brown.  Serve hot.


A Different Chocolate Chip Cookie

My husband found this website on StumbleUpon.  He found the Jacques Torres cookie recipe, but I didn't have bread or cake flour.  She said, "Now, I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I swear by. I love it, I think it is incredible, and I haven’t changed my mind about that. However, as much as it pains me to say it, these chocolate chip cookies by Jacques Torres are absolutely, without a doubt, the best chocolate chip cookies that I have ever made or tasted in my entire life."  Since I didn't have the needed ingredients, I thought I would try her "swear by" recipe.  They are fantastic!  The outside has a nice crunch but they are soft and gooey in the middle.  I'm guessing that if you made them smaller, they wouldn't turn out the same.  So make them big and enjoy the goodness!!
Compliments of Crepes of Wrath

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chunks (I didn't have chunks so I used chips.  But Sydney says that the chunks is what makes these cookies so great.  After trying them, I can see why.)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease or line your cookie sheets.  (I did neither and they came off just fine.)

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda together and set aside.

Mix the sugars and melted butter until thoroughly mixed.  Then add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until creamy.  Add the sifted ingredients and mix until just blended – don’t over beat!  Stir in chocolate chunks by hand.

Drop dough a bit less than 1/4 cup (I used my 3 tbsp scoop) at a time on cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.  Mine took 17 minutes.

Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool a bit.  This is important!  They will fall apart if you move them too soon.  Once they cool a few minutes, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Makes 10-12 cookies, depending on their size.  Mine made 21.


Easy Rice

I've always been intimidated by making rice on the stovetop.  I don't know why.  But it's really easy!!

Soak desired amount of rice in a bowl for up to 1 hour.  Drain.

Level rice in a pot and add warm-ish water.
Add enough water to reach the first knuckle of your finger, about 1 inch above rice.
The picture shows the amount for brown rice which will need a bit more.  About 1 1/4 inches.

Cook rice over medium-high heat until it just starts to boil.
Turn heat to low (a gentle simmer) and cover.
Cook for 15-18 minutes for white rice.  Brown rice takes about 30-40 minutes.

Leave lid on and let sit for at least 10 minutes.
This allows the moisture to distribute evenly throughout the rice and so you're not left with dry rice on top and mushy rice on the bottom.
Now go enjoy your beautiful rice!!

I like to make a big batch of rice and then freeze it in zip top bags.
Then I warm it in my microwave and I have quick and still beautiful rice!


German Chocolate Cake

Adapted from Simple Healthy Tasty

1 1/2 cups soft wheat flour
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sucanat
1/2 t salt
5 tbsp oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 350'F.

Mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, sucanat, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Make three deep holes in the mixture.  Pour oil in one, vinegar in another and vanilla in the last.  Pour water over all of it.  Mix well.

Pour into 9"x9" pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Cupcakes for 15 minutes.

Salmon Patties

12-14 oz canned salmon
2 eggs
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/2 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Form mixture into 5 or 6 patties.

Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat.  Fry patties about 5 minutes on each side.  Serve with Dill Sauce.

Dill Sauce
1/4 cup mayonaise
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp pickle juice
1/2 tsp dried dill
1/4 tsp garlic salt

Combine all ingredients together and serve over Salmon Patties or fish sticks.


Torta Caprese

a.k.a Flourless Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Food Lovers Odyssey

9 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces (I didn't have dark chocolate, only semi sweet.  So I decreased the amount of sugar to 1 cup.)
1 cup butter
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 tbsp almond extract
1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ cups ground blanched and toasted almonds (see instructions below)
6 eggs, room temperature

Preheat an oven to 310° and line the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper.

Slowly melt the chocolate and butter over a double-boiler.  In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk together the melted chocolate mixture, the cocoa powder, almond extract and sugar until combined.  Add the ground almonds and whisk until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, adding each egg after the first has been incorporated into the mixture.

Pour the mixture into the spring-form pan.  Make sure the mixture is level and smooth on top.  Bake for 50-60 minutes.  Cool and serve with chocolate spirals or shavings and powdered sugar.  Serve with gelato or whipped cream.

Blanch:  Boil some water and add desired amount of almonds.  Let almonds sit in water for 30 seconds.  Drain almonds and place on paper towels.  Pinch the almond at the fat end and the almond should pop right out!  Get the kids involved.  It was lots of fun!

Toast:  Heat oven to 350°.  Place almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minute intervals stirring in between, until almonds are blonde to light brown in color.  They will smell divine!

Grind:  Pulse almonds in blender until somewhat fine in texture.


Vegetable Frittata

I didn't measure any of the ingredients for this.  I just added what looked good.  So be creative and make this to your family's tastes!  Here's my best guess:

6 eggs
3/4 cup pureed spinach (I had it on hand but 10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and throughly drained would work just as well.)  :)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small potatoes, diced
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 cup onion, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp canned green chilis (I had some open from a previous recipe.  My kids don't like it, so it was more for a bit of flavor.  So add more if you like.)
2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup olives, chopped (I think green would be fantastic!)
1 tomato, diced
grated cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350'F.

Beat eggs and spinach together in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a large oven-safe skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add potatoes, onions, garlic, a pinch of salt and saute for about 5-8 minutes.  Add red pepper, mushrooms, chilis and oregano.  Continue to saute until potatoes are tender about 10 minutes more.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add olives and mix together.  Level vegetables in pan and gently pour egg mixture over top.

Cook frittata for 30 minutes or until egg is set.  Top with tomato and cheese.  Serve with a side of pasta al olio and a green salad.

Pasta al Olio

A simple dish of cooked and drained pasta, usually spaghetti or farfalle, tossed with a few tablespoons of olive oil, salt and pepper and maybe a bit of basil or Italian seasoning.  If you want take it up a notch, add some sauteed onion, garlic and crushed red pepper and cook until onion is carmelized.  Fantabulous!!!


Chicken & Pepper Skillet

South Beach Diet Friendly (Phase 1)
Adapted from

1 tbsp olive oil
12 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch strips
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 bell peppers, cut into thin strips  (red, green, and yellow)
8 mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper
1 tomato, diced

In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil oven medium-high heat; add chicken and stir-fry until done and lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add garlic and cook 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Add bell pepper strips, mushrooms, sliced onion, cumin and oregano. Stir-fry for 2 to 3 minutes or until crisp tender.

Add lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper; toss to combine well and serve topped with tomato.


Pot Roast alla Napolitano

2 1/2 - 3 lb pot roast
2 15 oz cans diced tomatoes
6 oz tomato paste
1 small carrot, shredded
5 medium carrots, 1" chunks
1 small onion, chopped
2 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 cups water
16 oz penne pasta

Combine all ingredients except pasta in slow cooker.  Cook on high 5-6 hours.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Remove roast and carrots to serving plate.  Serve sauce over pasta.

Tuscan Soup

Adapted from

12 oz Italian sausage
8 cups water
2 tbsp vegetable broth powder
2 tbsp onion soup mix
4 large potatoes, cubed
salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and chopped
8 oz penne pasta

Brown sausage in frying pan.  In large pot, combine sausage, water, broth powder, soup mix and potatoes.  Cook on medium heat until potatoes are just tender, about 20-30 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente.  Drain.

Add spinach and pasta to soup.  Continue cooking until spinach is lightly cooked, about 5-10 minutes more.


Zucchini Tomato Pasta

When cooking vegetables, you want to salt each "layer" as you go.  About 1/8 tsp for each.

16 oz linguini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 zucchini, halved and sliced
3 roma tomatoes, chopped
12 fresh basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion, garlic, red pepper, salt and saute until soft and golden.  Add more oil if needed and stir in zucchini and salt.  Saute about 5 minutes or until soft.  Add tomato, salt and cook just until warm.  Chop basil and add to vegetables.

Plate pasta and top with vegetables and freshly grated parmesan cheese.


Vegetable Lo Mein

Adapted from Allrecipes

I know this isn't traditional Lo Mein, but I like it!

14 oz thin spaghetti
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 cups vegetables ie, carrots, red peppers, onion, mushrooms, sugar snap peas, etc.  (I like the stir fry vegetable blend from Costco)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/2 head green cabbage, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup water
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp grated fresh ginger

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.

Heat oil in a large wok or saute pan. Stir fry vegetables and garlic until tender. Stir in bean sprouts, cabbage and green onions; cook one minute. Mix cornstarch and vegetable broth in a small cup and add to stir fry. Mix hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce and ginger.  Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.
Add cooked spaghetti, and toss.  Serve immediately.


Dirty Dutch Boy Pancakes

a.k.a. Big Dutch Babies
a.k.a German Pancakes
a.k.a Hootananny Pancakes

½ cup butter
1 cup almond or rice milk
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
6 eggs
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.  Melt butter in 9”x13” pan in oven.  Mix remaining ingredients in blender.  Pour batter into pan and bake for 20 minutes then turn off oven and continue baking for another 5 minutes.

"Cinnabon" Rolls

Makes 17 rolls

½ cup warm water
2 pkgs active dry yeast
2 tbsp sugar
3½ oz pkg vanilla pudding
½ cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
6 cups flour

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
4 tsp cinnamon

Combine water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl.  Stir until dissolved and set aside.  In a large bowl, prepare pudding according to directions.  Add butter, eggs and salt; mix well.  Add yeast mixture; blend well.  Gradually add flour; mix until smooth.  Place in a greased bowl; turning once to grease top.  Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.  Punch down.

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 34”x21”.  Spread butter over dough.  Mix sugar and cinnamon in small bowl; sprinkle over butter.  Roll up dough tightly on long edge.  Cut dough with floss every 2”.  Place on lightly greased cookie sheet.  Lightly press down each roll.  Cover and let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until light brown.  Do NOT over bake.  Frost warm rolls with Cream Cheese frosting.

8 oz cream cheese
½ cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp milk

Combine all ingredients and mix until smooth.



Makes about 14 crepes

4 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tbsp oil or melted butter
1 cup flour
½ tsp salt

In bowl or blender, beat eggs slightly.  Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Heat a 7- or 8-inch fry pan over medium high heat.  Be sure pan is hot before adding batter.  Grease pan lightly before cooking each crepe.

Pour a scant ¼ cup of batter at a time into fry pan, tilting pan to cover bottom.  When crepe is set, remove or if desired, turnover to brown other side.

Serve with butter, cream cheese or whipped cream and fruit, jam, prepared pudding and pie fillings or sugar.

To make ahead: Cook, cool and refrigerate or freeze.  Reheat, covered at 350° for 20-25 minutes.

For main dish crepes combine 2-3 cups cubed cooked meat, seafood or poultry with ½ can condensed soup.  Spoon mixture into each crepe, roll up and place in baking pan.  Add ¼ cup milk to remaining soup; spoon over crepes.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until bubbly.

Baked Dutch Apple Pancake

1/3 cup syrup
½ cup sucanat
3 tbsp butter
2 apples, thinly sliced
1 egg
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp butter, melted
1¼ cup whole wheat flour
4 tbsp sucanat
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat over to 400°.  Combine maple syrup, sugar and butter in a 9” round baking pan.  Put in the oven for about 5 minutes, until butter melts.  Remove and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Arrange apple slices, overlapping, over the syrup mixture in the pan.  Set aside.  Whisk together egg, milk, applesauce, and the 1 tablespoon melted butter.

In a medium bowl combine flour, the 4 tablespoons sucanat, baking powder and salt.  Pour in the milk mixture and stir until smooth.  Pour batter over the apples.

Bake for 20- 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn out onto a serving plate.

Old Fashioned Pancakes

2 cups whole wheat flour
3½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sucanat
1 tsp cinnamon
1½ tsp nutmeg
1¼ cups almond milk
1 egg
1 tbsp vanilla
3 tbsp butter, melted
½ cup bananas, sliced & quartered
½ cup blueberries
½ cup, strawberries, sliced & quartered

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar cinnamon and nutmeg.  In another bowl whisk milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter together.  Pour milk mixture into flour mixture and gently fold together; leaving some lumps.  Gently fold in fruit.

Heat griddle to 360°. Pour batter onto griddle, using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake.  Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Rocky Road Brownies

Favorite brownie recipe to fit a 9"x13" pan  (I used a box mix.  No need to fix what's not broken!)
1/3 cup buttermilk
½ cup butter
3 tbsp cocoa
1 lb powdered sugar
2 cups mini marshmallows
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts

Make brownies.

While brownies are cooling, combine buttermilk, butter and cocoa in saucepan.  Bring to boiling, stirring constantly.  Mix in powdered sugar.  Stir in remaining ingredients quickly.  Immediately pour over brownies.  You can also use this with a chocolate cake.  But come on!  Brownies are WAY better!


Oatmeal Cookies

I love this recipe! (Thanks mom!) I've made these cinnamon chips and they were really good. It's a nice flavor and not overpowering. But the cookie itself is the winner!! These cookies have a nice "crust" and are soft and chewy inside. Just how I love them! They are simple to make, just don't over bake! They will be hard and crunchy. Keep them in an airtight container or ziplock bag.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

¾ cup butter
1 cup sucanat
1/3 cup honey
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup flour
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins, cinnamon chips, or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Mix butter, sucanat, honey, egg and vanilla; beat on medium-high speed about 3 minutes until fluffy. Add salt and baking soda; mix well. Add flour and oatmeal and mix until combined. Stir in raisins.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto un-greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Don't over bake! Tops will be firm while the inside will feel soft. Cool on cookie sheet about 1 minute then transfer to cooling rack.


Orange Chicken

Adapted from Deals to Meals

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 cups water
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice (or from concentrate)
1/3 cup rice vinegar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp orange zest
1 cup sucanat
1/2 tsp finely minced ginger
1 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp green onion
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup water

Heat oven to 350 deg F. In a ziptop bag combine flour, garlic powder and pepper. Put chicken pieces in bag and shake to coat evenly. Pour oil in a foil-lined 9"x13" baking pan. Arrange chicken in pan and bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan combine water, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and orange zest. Whisk over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in sucanat, ginger, garlic, and green onion and bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water. Add to sauce and whisk until thickened.

After chicken has baked, turn each piece over and pour 1/2 sauce mixture evenly over chicken. Bake another 20 to 30 minutes, basting frequently (or until chicken is cooked through). Serve chicken over rice with extra sauce on the side.


Sausage Alfredo Pasta

This is far from healthy but it was so good!  I'm going to make it again sometime, but with better ingredients.

12 oz Italian sausage
24 oz farfalle pasta
1/4 cup butter
2 packets Alfredo sauce mix
5 cups water
1 can cream of mushroom soup

Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, brown and crumble sausage in a large saute pan.  Drain sausage on a few paper towels.

Melt the butter in the saute pan over medium-low heat then add the Alfredo sauce mix.  Add water and whisk together.  Continue whisking until sauce thickens.  Add the mushroom soup and mix to combine.   Add sausage back into pan and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Garlic Bread

1 loaf french bread
1/2 cup butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp dried basil
3 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated
2 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut bread in half lengthwise.  Mix butter, garlic, basil, Parmesan and olive oil in a small bowl.  Add salt until it tastes almost too salty.

Spread butter mixture over the two halves of bread.  Cut bread into 2-inch slices.  Don't cut all the way through the crust.  Place bread halves on cookie sheet.  Bake about 10-15 minutes; just until butter melts and bread starts to lightly brown.  Move bread under broiler and broil until nice and crispy.


Best Whole Wheat Bread Ever

3 3/4 cups warm water (110 deg)
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tbsp dough enhancer
2 tbsp wheat gluten
9-11 cups whole wheat flour
(I've started adding a 1/2 cup ground flax seed and 1-2 cups of rye four in place of the wheat flour.  The flax has Omega-3 fatty acids and rye is a good source of fiber and iron.)

Mix water and yeast

Add oil and honey.  If you want Honey Whole Wheat Bread, double the honey.
Pour the oil in your measuring cup first and then the honey and it will all slide out nicely.

After a few minutes the yeast will start to foam.
That way you know if it is alive.

Add the salt, dough enhancer and gluten.
Why add dough enhancer and wheat gluten?
Dough enhancer helps preserve the bread and makes is nice and fluffy.
Gluten helps make the bread elastic, giving it a nice chewy texture.  It also helps the bread to rise properly, keep it's shape and prevents it from crumbling. 
Wheat flour doesn't have a high gluten content so you will end up with crumbly bricks.  Blah.

Now we add the flour.  I grind my own wheat each time.
I use hard red (on left) and hard white wheat (on right).

The amount of flour you use will vary each time.
On very humid days, you'll use more.  On hot, dry days it will be less.
After 10 cups of flour (5 of each), the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
It's still sticky but don't worry.  If you add flour until it's not sticky, you will have added too much and the result will be a hard, dense brick.

Now we mix for 10-12 minutes.  This activates the gluten.
If you don't mix long enough, your bread will crumble to bits.  And that's no good.

A lovely lump of dough.

Now cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise about 1-2 hours.

Until it looks like this!

Now turn it out onto your counter and cut it into loaves.


You don't have to weigh it, but I like to.  I think it cooks more evenly when they are the same.
Two loaves are around 2 1/4 lbs.  Three loaves are around 1 3/4 lbs.

Here's a fun trick.  When you spray your pans, put them on the open door of your dishwasher.  That way any over spray will get washed off next time you run it!  No mess!!

Now shape them in to lovely loaves and put them in your pans.  I got mine from IKEA.  Love that place!
You may be wondering what happened to the third loaf.
Well, I tried to make hot dog buns, but they came out very sad and I don't want to show you.

Moving right along.  Here are our pans of bread and the hidden hot dog lumps.
Cover and let rise until the loaves reach the top of your pan.  Then preheat your oven to 350 degF.
When it comes to temperature, the loaves will be ready to bake!
Bake for 25 minutes.  Tap on the top when it's done.  It should sound hollow.

Cool on a cooling rack.
I tip my pans sideways to cool.  That allows the steam to escape and it helps loosen the bread so it doesn't stick.  After about 5 minutes turn them on the other side.  Wait another few minutes then gently pull the bread out.

And presto!!  How beautiful is that?!?!
If you want, you can butter the tops, but I don't bother.  It does taste really good though!

The reason I make 3 loaves is because we end up devouring one right out of the oven.
Then one goes in the fridge and the other goes in the freezer.  They should fit nicely in a gallon zip bag.

Ranch Dressing Mix

Compliments of Heavenly Homemakers

2/3 cup dried onions
1/4 cup parsley flakes
2 tbsp + 2 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a jar and shake!

For dressing: Mix 2 tbsp dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1/2 cup buttermilk.

For dip:  Mix 2 tbsp dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend nicely.
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