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Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's a Tip About Dishes

Do you have any baking pans or dishes that are stoneware and say microwave safe?

Well, they are, but they aren't.

If they have unglazed feet-or a section that is plain pottery- you could have problems with them cracking.

The reason is because water absorbs into the unglazed stoneware and when you put it in the microwave, the moisture heats up and pops and possibly causes cracks or breaking.

The best way to solve this problem is to make sure you don't soak the pan or dishes in water.

If it needs soaked, pour water into it.
Don't set the whole dish into the water.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Gingerbread Cookies

Making gingerbread cookies is a tradition in my house. Usually my nieces and sister come down and if they can't, it is just me and my daughter.
We have a lot of fun.

I usually mix the dough up a day or two before baking and stick in the fridge, but you can just make it a couple hours before and it still works out.


3 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon  cloves
3/4 cup brown sugar
12 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg

Soften the butter in a large mixing bowl.
Add the brown sugar and cream.
Add the molasses and egg and beat until well blended.
Add the baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and mix in.
Gradually add the flour and mix on low speed until well blended.
Take the dough out the the bowl and pat into a disk. This makes it easier to roll without cracking.
Cover with plastic wrap or put into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To bake:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
Take the dough out of the fridge and let rest for ten minutes. You might want to just roll out half the dough at a time.
Flour your counter and roll out the dough. If you want thinner, crisper cookies you need 1/8 inch thick. If you want thicker, softer cookies you want to roll out to 1/4 inch.
Cut into whatever shapes you want.
Bake for about 10 minutes. A little less for smaller cookies, a little more for larger cookies.
If you want them crip, the cookies need to be firm to the touch.
If you are wanting softer cookies, take them out a little before that and they will finish cooking after removing from oven and they will still be soft. 
Let cool and decorate as you want.

Depending on size and thickness, you may get up to 19 dozen.
If you make them larger and thicker you will get about 3-4 dozen.

If you roll them too fat, they have a tendency to poof out and lose some of their shape.
Use unsalted butter. If you use salted, don't use the salt.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Baked French Fries

Who doesn't love french fries?
Sometimes they can seem a little greasy so this is a great alternative. They taste great and are really simple to make.

You will need a large baking sheet.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/230 Celsius.
You will also need a large bowl.


4 medium size potatoes
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
salt to sprinkle
pepper to sprinkle

Peel your potatoes and cut them into fries between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
Add the sliced potatoes to the big bowl and add the olive oil.
Mix the fries and oil to make sure all the pieces are coated well.
You don't need lots of oil, just a light coating is good.
Lay the fries out in a single layer on the baking sheet.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Put in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Turn the fries over, sprinkle with the salt and pepper, and bake another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven and serve.

Serves 4-6 people.

Monday, July 23, 2012

1-2-3-4 Peanut Butter Cookies

These peanut butter cookies are a breeze to make. They have no flour in them and you won't miss it. They are called 1-2-3-4 peanut butter cookies because they only have 4 ingredients.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius
You will need 2 or 3 cookie sheets, ungreased.


1 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

In a mixing bowl, stir everything together until smooth.
Drop by teaspoon or small size cookie scoop onto the cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until set.
After taking out of oven, let stand on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing.

As soon as they appear set, take them out. If they are in the oven too long they will end up dry and get very crunchy/crumbly after they cool.

I made these with the peanut butter I made.
It will work with creamy or chunky peanut butter.

Makes between 3 and 4 dozen cookies.


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Homemade Peanut Butter

Making your own peanut butter is super simple. It takes almost no time to do.

You will need a food processor.


16 oz. dry roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon salt- optional. Use up to 1 teaspoon if you like a saltier peanut butter

Add the peanuts to the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle with the salt.
Put the cover on and turn the processor on.
In just a couple minutes the peanuts will go from chopped to butter.
When it is starting to turn to butter, it will ball up.
At this point, you may need to put your hand over the shoot cover because the ball could start to push it up.
After it has turned to butter, remove the cover and test to see if it is as smooth as you like.
You also may need to scrape the sides to get all the nutty crumbs into the bowl.
Turn on again if needed and check it after another couple minutes.
Scrape into a bowl and refrigerate. This will make 16 oz. of peanut butter.

For variety, you could use honey roasted peanuts or any variety of seasoned nuts.
If you use seasoned of any kind, you will not need the salt.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Broccoli Salad

This is a great way to use broccoli. It has a variety of tastes and textures that compliment each other in a way that may surprise you.

You will need a large bowl.


2 heads of fresh broccoli, cut up into bite size pieces. DO NOT cook!
1 small red onion, chopped
4 to 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped cashews- salted or unsalted

1 cup mayonaise
1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar

Combine all the salad ingredients in your large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Start off with the lesser amount of sugar and add more if it is not sweet enough for you.
Pour the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix well to coat.
Refrigerate until chilled.


Serves 6 to 8.

You can use the broccoli stems. Some people don't like them because are a little tougher.
To get rid of the toughness, peel the stem pieces with a vegetable peeler.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fried Green Tomatoes

I love fried green tomatoes. They are really simple to make.
When it comes to this dish, either people really love them or they really hate them.

My mom used to say they were an acquired taste. I am not sure I agree with that.
I will say that it really isn't a taste most young children like.

The tomato is a bit tart, but the coating and frying just makes it yummy.

You will need a large skillet.
You will still need to cook in batches unless you have a big electric skillet.


2-3 green tomatoes, sliced into slices 1/4" or less
1/2 cup flour, cornmeal, or a mixture of flour and ground flax seed
4 Tbs. butter for frying. Or you can substitute cooking oil.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
While the pan is heating up, dip eat slice of tomato into the flour. Turn to make sure both sides are coated well.
One by one, add the tomatoes slices and season well with the salt and pepper.
Cook for a few minutes, flip the slices over, and season again with salt and pepper.
Cook another few minutes.
You may need to turn the heat down so the coating won't burn.
To see if they are done, you can poke one slice with a fork.
They will be tender when done.
Remove to a paper towel covered plate.

This will make enough for 4 people depending on the size of tomato and how thickly they were sliced.
The thinner the slice, the faster the cooking time


Monday, June 11, 2012

Breaded Zucchini

Zucchini is a staple in many people's homes during the summer. You can do so many things with it.
Breaded zucchini is  really simple and really tasty.

You will need a large frying pan.
You will need a large shallow container with a tight fitting lid, like tupperware or rubbermaid.
You will also need a bowl for mixing.


2 small or 1 medium-small zucchini
1 egg
2 Tablespoons water
2 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 cup flour
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter, for frying

Beat the egg, water, and seasoning salt in a bowl large enough to fit the sliced zucchini into.
Wash and trim ends off the zucchini. Slice into 1/4"( or a little less) rounds.
Add the zucchini to the egg mixture and stir well.
Let the zucchini marinate in the egg mixture for 15 to 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Put the flour into the large, shallow container.
One by one toss the zucchini slices into the flour.
Cover the container and shake well to coat the zucchini with flour.
You may need to do this in batches if you don't have a large enough container to spread the zucchini out.
Heat a large frying pan and add 1/4 cup butter.
Add the zucchini slices and fry until golden brown. Turn over and fry the other side.
Drain on paper towels.
You may need to fry in batches and you may end up needing to use more butter.

Serves 3 to 4 people.

Soaking the zucchini in the seasoned egg mixture imparts more flavor to the zucchini than just dipping it into the mixture and than right into the flour.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Grilling With Frozen Vegetables

When it comes to grilling a meal, I like to put as much of the food on the grill as I can.
This includes vegetables.

I don't buy many vegetables. I grow them and freeze or can my bounty.
And eat a lot fresh too.

But, grilling time comes sooner than most garden veggies are ready.
But, you can impart some grilling flavor to your frozen vegetables and it's oh so tasty.

Heat your grill up.
In an oven proof pan, add a little water, your frozen vegetables, and whatever seasoning you want.
Leave the pan lid off.

Put the pan on the grill for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
You will want to cover the grill so the vegetables get that nice smoky flavor.

This will work with charcoal as well as gas grills.
The charcoal may give it more of a smoky flavor.

Happy grilling!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Cilantro Pesto

There are many different ways of making cilantro pesto. Some call for hot peppers or cheese and some don't. They are all simple to make and tasty.
This pesto is great served over pasta or with chicken or shrimp.

You will need a food processor or blender.


2 cups tightly packed Cilantro leaves
1 to 2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 heaping cup shredded or grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tablespoons lime juice(juice of 1 lime)
1/2 cup olive oil

Combine the cilantro, garlic cloves,Parmesan cheese, and lime juice in the container of food processor or blender.
Put on the cover, but leave the chute open or the middle of lid off.
Turn on the food processor and slowly add the olive oil through the opening.
Run the food processor until everything is well incorporated.

Remove to a bowl and serve. Makes 1 to 2 cups cilantro pesto.


One bunch will give you about 3/4 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's an Award!

Brownbugz over at a ladybug's life has given me the Kreative blogger award.
This is the first award I have gotten for this blog.

I am supposed to tell 10 things about myself that you probably don't know.
Normally I write these kinds of things on my welcome to me blog.
That's more my random life type of blog and this is just about cooking and baking.

So, to keep in line with this blog, my 10 things will center around food and cooking.

1. The first thing I cooked all by myself was spanish rice. I didn't know I was supposed to turn it down and the bottom scorched. It wasn't good, but my dad ate it without saying a word. I was 11.

2. The only fats/oils I cook with are butter,extra virgin olive oil, grape seed oil, and virgin coconut oil- all organic.

3. I am hit and miss when it comes to decorating cakes. Sometimes it looks great. Other times, it looks like a 2 year old was given a pastry bag.

4. I have a huge cookbook collection. I have to keep some in a big tote because I have nowhere to keep them.

5. When I grill out, I will cook as much of the meal as I can on it. Meat, veggies, bread- everything is better cooked on the grill. Charcoal all the way!

6. If I find a recipe that sounds good, but starts with a mix, I will either modify it or not make it.

7. I love making jams and jellies. They are so easy. And yummy! You can start off with frozen fruit or bottled juice if you need to.

8. I made my own venison summer sausage last Christmas. It tasted good, but was not as nicely shaped as the ones you buy.

9. My favorite pudding is butterscotch and it needs to be warm.

10. I have a marble slab that I roll my pastry out on. My husband bought it for me for Christmas many years ago. I love it.

Now, I am to pass this on to 6 other bloggers.
Without further adieu, here they be:

Domestic Goddess's Recipe Box
Positive Letters...Inspirational Stories
The Pearson Report
Wrinkled Mommy
life on the muskoka river

Please check all these bloggers out.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Tuna Patty with Parm Sauce

The Alfredo-like cheese sauce is really what makes this dish. I was never a big fan of tuna patties. But I like tuna and I love cheese so this seemed like a good fit.



7 oz canned tuna
3 Tablespoons ground flax seed
1 egg
3 to 4 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
pinch salt
pinch pepper
pinch garlic powder
1 Tablespoon cooking oil 


1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon dried basil OR 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped basil
2 teaspoons corn starch OR 1 Tablespoon flour
pinch pepper
pinch salt
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a skillet, add the cooking oil and heat it up.
While the oil is heating up, mix all the tuna patty ingredients in a bowl.
Shape into 3 or 4 patties and add to the pan.
Cook for a few minutes on one side. Flip and cook the other side another few minutes.
Turn pan to low and keep warm while you make the parm sauce.
In a small pan, melt the butter.
Add the salt, pepper, and corn starch OR flour.
Stir well until the mixture is bubbly.
Add the milk all at once.
Stir until it starts to get thick and bubbly.
Turn down the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese.
When it is all smooth, stir in the basil.
Serve the tuna patties with the parm sauce.

Flax seed is found in most grocery stores near the flour. Instead of ground, it may be called meal or milled flax seed.
Fine bread crumbs will work. But, the flax seed does a better job of binding.
Plus, it is healthier.

Serves 3-4.


Monday, April 30, 2012

Cheesy Sausage Zucchini Casserole

This is a great casserole. It's full of yummy zucchini and fresh tomato. I don't know about you, but I can never find enough ways to use zucchini.

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit/165 Celsius.
You will need a 2 quart casserole dish.


1 cup water
1/2 cup white rice
16 oz pork sausage
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped tomato-1 to 2 medium size tomatoes
4 cups chopped zucchini- 3 to 4 small or 2 medium
2 (4oz) cans sliced mushrooms, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
oregano to season- optional
salt to season
pepper to season

In a medium saucepan, add the rice and water.
Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer.
Cover and cook 15 minutes OR until water is absorbed.
Take off heat, take off lid, and set aside.
While the rice is cooking, cook the sausage and onion in a skillet.
When the sausage is brown, drain.
Stir in the zucchini and tomato. Cook about 5 minutes until tender.
Stir in the rice, mushrooms and cheese.
Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, and oregano.
Put in the casserole.
Bake for an hour or until it is bubbly.

Serves 6 to 8.


If you would rather use brown rice, follow package directions for making 1-1/2 cups.

Last year's Z- Zucchini Alfredo

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Yeast aka Raised Donuts

Donuts are the ultimate in breakfast food treats. Donuts are made two different ways. You can have cake donuts or you can make raised donuts-also known as yeast donuts.
Some bakeries sell both kind. Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts specialize in the yeast kind.
My mom always made cake donuts. I prefer yeast donuts so that is what I normally make.
If you'd like cake donuts, follow the link to my recipe for those.

You will need a donut cutter. You can find them on if you don't have a local place to get one.
You need a rolling pin.
You will also need a deep fat fryer OR a 3 quart saucepan.
A hand mixer comes in handy for making the glaze. You can use it for the donuts, but not necessary.


2-1/4 teaspoons(1 packet) dry yeast
2 Tablespoons warm water
3/4 cup milk
2-1/2 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2-3/4 cups flour
2 to 3 cups cooking oil for the saucepan. You may need need more if you have a fryer.

5-1/3 Tablespoons(2/3 stick) butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup hot water
To make chocolate, add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the donuts-
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water.
In a small saucepan; add the milk, butter, sugar, and salt.
Heat over medium low until the butter just starts to melt.
Remove from the heat and add to the dissolved yeast.
At the same time, add the egg.
Stir or mix with your mixer.
Add half of the flour and beat in.
Add the rest of the flour and knead the dough until smooth.
If using a mixer and you have a dough hook, switch to that before adding the second batch of flour.
If you are using a stand mixer, it may seem like you need to add quite a bit more flour. You don't. If you do, not more than a few Tablespoon or the donuts will turn out heavy instead of light and fluffy.
Cover the bowl of dough with a towel and let rise until double. This will take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the warmth and humidity of the room.
It is ready when you can poke the dough with your finger and the indention make stays.
Flour a work surface.
Roll the dough out to about 1/2" thick.
Dip your donut cutter into flour and cut out your donuts, rerolling the dough as needed.
If your donuts are floury, you may want to brush them off.
Cover the donuts and donut holes with a towel and let rise until double. This will take 30 to 45 minutes.
Pour the oil into the pan OR fryer and start heating it up. Set your temperature  to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius. To test the correct temperature when using the saucepan, try throwing a small scrap of dough in the oil. If it bubbles immediately, it is ready. If it doesn't bubble the oil will soak into the dough before the donut is cooked.
Fry the donuts 3 to 4 at a time. You can do all of the donut holes in one batch though.
Let fry 30 seconds on one side. Turn over and do the other side for 30 seconds.
Drain on paper towels.
You can shake in powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or use a glaze.

For the glaze-
Beat the butter and powdered sugar.
Add the vanilla and hot water. Mix until smooth.
To make chocolate glaze, stir in the chocolate chips until smooth.

Dip the tops of the holes and donuts into the glaze.

Serve and enjoy!

Makes 12- 15 donuts plus the same amount of donut holes.

For other flavored glazes, try using other flavored chips.
You can also make the dough the night before and refrigerate. It will slowly do it's first rise overnight. Take out and let stand about 15 minutes and than finish making them.

Last year's Y- Yorkshire Pudding

Friday, April 27, 2012


This is some seriously hot stuff. Authentic xenepek is made with Habanero peppers, but if you have none, but have anything that qualifies as hot to you, use that.
Xenepek is like a salsa without the tomatoes and a lot more peppers.
Habaneros can be green, yellow, orange, or even red. The deeper the, color the hotter it will be. But, also the more complex the flavors.
You can use this as a condiment or just eat with chips.

You will need a knife and cutting board.
Gloves for chopping peppers is recommended. Or to chop, you could pulse in your food processor.


2 Tablespoons lime juice(juice of 1 lime)
1/4 cup minced cilantro
3 green onions OR 3 to 4 Tablespoons onions, minced
1 minced garlic clove
6-8 Habanero chile peppers OR 8 hot peppers of your choice
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Chop and mince the garlic, peppers, onions, and cilantro.
Put into a bowl.
Add the lime juice.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Stir well.
Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.



Makes a little over a cup.

Last year's X- Xavier Dumplings

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Brown Sugar Banana Waffles

I have never met a waffle that I didn't like. In my opinion, you can never have too many different flavors of waffles. I make the big, thick Belgian waffles, but they can be made with any waffle maker. Just adjust the amount of batter you use for each one.

You will need a waffle baker or iron, preheated if it's a baker.


1-1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk OR sour milk
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, sliced in 1/4" pieces
1/4 cup(1/2 stick) melted butter

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Set aside.
In another bowl mix the eggs, vanilla extract, buttermilk, and brown sugar.
Combine the cornmeal mix and the egg mixture. Don't beat too much. Just stir in.
Add the butter and banana pieces.
Add about a cup of batter to your preheated Belgium waffle baker. If you have a different size baker OR iron go by manufacturer's instruction on how much batter to use.
Bake your waffle 3-5 minutes until the waffles are browned and crispy OR as done as you would like.

Serve with maple syrup and/or butter.

Makes 4 Belgian waffles OR up to 8 regular size waffles.


Last year's W- Whole Wheat Waffles

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Venison and Black Bean Chili

Chili is great! It is great for warming you up when it's cold. It's great for serving over hot dogs, if you are so inclined. It also freezes well, if you want to make ahead or if you have leftovers.

You will need a Dutch oven.


3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground venison meat
2 cups chopped onion
4 slices bacon
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups chopped red bell pepper
2 chopped jalapeno peppers- seed one of them
1/4 cup chili powder
2 Tablespoons ground cumin
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 can (14.5 to 16 oz) chopped tomatoes OR 2 cups fresh
1 can(6 oz) tomato paste
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
2-1/2 cups water
1 pound dry black beans, cooked and drained OR 2 cans (19 oz), drained

Add two tablespoons olive oil to your Dutch oven and heat up.
When it is hot, add the meat and cook for a few minutes until browned. You might need to cook it in batches.
Put the meat in a bowl and pour off the fat if there is any. Venison is very lean so you may not have any or much.
Slice the bacon into 1/4 inch pieces.
Add the rest of the oil to the pan.
Add the bacon pieces, onions, and garlic.
Cook over medium heat until the onions are soft. This takes about 5 minutes.
Stir in the bell pepper and jalapenos and cook another few minutes until they are soft.
Mix in the chili powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and the cayenne pepper.
Cook for a minute.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, venison, broth, and water.
Bring to a boil than turn the heat down to low.
Simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Add the beans and cook another 15 minutes.

Great with cheddar cheese and sour cream.

Makes enough for 8-10 people.


You can also use other ground meat. It is excellent with ground turkey.
I cook my own beans and sometimes use the bean broth for part of the water.

Last year's V- Vanilla Pudding

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Simple Unbaked Cookies

This is my mom's unbaked cookies recipe. The are so quick to make. They may take a little while to set up. Sometimes they set up right away. They sure are tasty! If you would like another version of unbaked cookies, I have those too. The other recipe is a has a richer, more complex flavor.
Here is where to find those.

You will need a large pan. A Dutch oven or similar size works great.
You will also need waxed paper, aluminum foil, or buttered baking sheets.


2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup milk
3 cups dry oatmeal
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine the oatmeal and cocoa powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
In the pan mix the sugar, butter, and milk.
Stir and bring to a boil over medium high heat.
Quickly, add the oatmeal and cocoa powder along with the vanilla extract.
Stir in well and take off heat.
By spoonfuls drop onto waxed paper, aluminum foil, or buttered cookie sheets.

This will make a few dozen, depending on the size you make them.

Last year's U- Apple Upside Down Cake
I forgot to write down last year's T- Taco Seasoning

Monday, April 23, 2012

Tomato Soup

Tomato soup is one of my favorite foods. My mom used to fix this all the time. I think my daughter loves it as much as I do.
This version is much simpler than what you find in most cookbooks.

You will need a small saucepan.


2 cups tomato juice, freshly juiced or canned/thawed from frozen
1/4 cup milk, preferably not skim
2 to 3 Tablespoons flour

Put the tomato juice in the pan and turn the heat to medium.
While the juice heats up, mix the milk and flour until smooth.
When the juice is just to a simmer, add the milk/flour mix and stir continuously until the soup starts to bubble and thicken a little.
Stir and cook for another minute.
If it isn't as thick as you'd like, turn the heat down to low and simmer until it thickens a bit more.
Taste and season with salt, if needed.

Makes about a pint of soup or enough for 1 to 2 people.

The reason for not using skim milk is that the soup will thicken up better if you have a little fat. 


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Chipotle Shrimp

This shrimp is very flavorful. It is spicy. Keep this in mind when making this. I did get this recipe from Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen. This recipe uses Essential Sweet and Smoky Chipotle Seasoning Salsa that I made on day E of the A-Z challenge.

You will need a blender or food processor.
You will also be using your broiler.


6 cloves of garlic- leave skins on
1 very small onion, sliced about 1/4 " thick
1 medium-small tomato or 2 paste(Roma) tomatoes)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoon olive oil
1 to 4 Tablespoons Essential Sweet and Smoky Chipotle Seasoning Salsa
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 pounds of large shrimp- about 50, peeled and deveined

On a griddle or skillet, roast the unpeeled garlic over medium heat. Turn frequently so it doesn't burn. Once they have softened take them off to cool. They may blacken in spots and that's OK.
At the same time, lay out the onion on a small piece of foil and set in the skillet. Let it soften and sear. This takes about 5 minutes.
Roast the tomatoes on a baking sheet under the broiler for 12 minutes, turning half-way through cooking.
Take out of the oven and let cool. Peel and put into a blender. Add the juice too.
Add the garlic, onion, cloves, pepper, and water.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil.
When hot, add the puree. Stir for a few minutes until the mixtures darkens.
Turn down to low and cook until thick, about 5 minutes.
One Tablespoon at a time, add the Essential Sweet and Smoky Seasoning Salsa. Taste after each addition before adding more.
Season with salt.
Turn the heat back up to medium-high and add the shrimp.
Stir the shrimp for a few minutes, until the shrimp are done. They will have turned opaque.
Taste a shrimp and season with more salt if needed.

These may be cooked a few hours ahead and served at room temperature.
Serves 6.

Instead the the seasoning salsa, you can use 2 to 4 Tablespoons of chopped, canned chipotles.

I have cut the amount of shrimp in half before and used the same amount of sauce. It works!
Last year's S- Shrimp Stir-fry

Friday, April 20, 2012

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb is a great springtime treat for a lot of people. Not everyone has had the fortune to enjoy it as it only grows well in colder climates. You might find it in stores or sold at farmer's markets though.
It is pretty tart and needs to be sweetened before eating. That makes it perfect for desserts.
I came up with this after looking and not finding a rhubarb crisp recipe like what I wanted.
I used oat flour, but feel free to use all-purpose or other flour if you would like.

You will need a 2 quart casserole or baking dish.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius


6 cups sliced rhubarb- cut each stalk into pieces 1/4" long
1/2 to 3/4 cup brown sugar, depending on the tartness of the rhubarb and how sweet you'd like
4 to 6 Tablespoons corn starch, if the rhubarb is really juicy use the full 6

1/2 cup dry oatmeal
1/4 cup oat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup(1/2 stick) butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the filling: In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, rhubarb, and corn starch.
Transfer that to your baking dish.
Set aside.
For the topping: In another bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
Cut in the butter with your hands, fork, or pastry cutter until the mixture is all crumbly.
Sprinkle the topping over the rhubarb.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until the rhubarb juice is bubbling thickly all over.
Take out of the oven and let cool for at least 45 minutes. It will be still be plenty warm. If you cut into it sooner the filling may run a lot more than you'd like.

Serves 4-6.


Last year's R- Rhubarb pie

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Yummy Queso Dip

This is a simple dip. You can make it on the stove or in the crockpot. All up to you. I like to do it in the crockpot and keep it on warm once it is done.


10-1/4 oz. can cream of mushroom condensed soup
16 oz. Velveeta cheese
12 oz. cooked ground sausage. Any kind is good. Italian or breakfast both work.
16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa

On top of stove, or in a crockpot, combine the soup and Velveeta. When cheese is melted add the cooked and crumbled sausage.
Stir til combined and add your salsa. Mix well and heat through.

Best served warm. Great with tortilla chips.


Last year's Q-  Chicken Quesadillas

If you have seen this before, yes it is a repost. I wasn't able to get want I needed for my original Q recipe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Pumpkin Cheesecake

I love, love, love cheesecake! It is so rich and creamy and so very yummy! Pumpkin is a flavor most people don't associate with cheesecake, but it is fabulous.

You will need a 9" springform pan. If you want your cheesecake thicker you can use an 8".
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
You will also need a stand mixer or a handheld.


1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs. You can buy crumbs or crush 1 pack finely.
5 Tablespoons butter, melted

24 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pureed pumpkin
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

For the crust: Add the crumbs to a small bowl. Add the melted butter and toss with a fork to combine.
Don't stir or you will get mush. You want it crumbly.
Press the crust onto the bottom of your springform pan. If you have the 8", you can press the crust part way up the sides of the pan.
Bake for 5 minutes and set to the side .

For the filling: Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
Blend well with mixer until everything is smooth.
Mix in the pumpkin, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Pour the filling over the crust.

Bake for about 60 minutes.
The top will have darkened a bit and the center of the cheesecake should not jiggle much. A little is OK.
Turn the oven off and leave inside for about 10-15 minutes. Open the door a little though.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
When cool, put in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
After it has chilled, run a knife around the edge of the pan and remove the side of the pan.

Serves 8-12.
Great with whipped cream, but also good as is.

To soften the cream cheese, take it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before using.
Cheesecakes sometimes crack. The cracks might not be pretty but it won't affect the taste any.
If you are wanting to prevent, or limit, cracks: butter the sides of the pan before adding the filling.

It is also possible that the springform pan could leak out some of the butter. To prevent this: wrap the bottom and side of your springform pan with foil.

Last year's P- Pancakes

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Onion Parmesan Butter

This is a simple to make butter you can use for fresh bread. Or you could even put a dab over freshly grilled steak for some yummy flavor.


1/2 cup( 1 stick) softened butter
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons onion powder- If you have any green onions on hand, cut one up and use that instead.

Put everything into a bowl and blend together with a spoon.
You can use right away, but the longer it sits the more flavor it will have.

Makes 1/2 cup.

Another idea for using the butter is as a compound butter.
You can freeze small amounts and when you make a hamburger stick a piece of frozen butter in the middle. Cook as usual
The burger will turn out juicy with some extra flavor.


Last year's O- Onion Rings

Monday, April 16, 2012


Who doesn't love homemade noodles? Not many people that I know of, that's for sure. They are very simple to make.You can use any flour you want to make them. It will work. You just get a different flavor and you may need to use more or less.

You will need a floured counter or cutting board to roll out the noodles on.
You will also need a cutting knife and a rolling pin.
You will need a large pan to cook the noodles in.  A 4-5 quart Dutch oven works great.


1 egg
2 Tablespoon water
1-2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a small break, break an egg. Add the water and salt.
Beat slightly with a fork.
Add about a cup of flour and stir in.
Gradually add more flour until the mixture is really stiff.
With your hands,mix it well until the dough is a ball and not sticky. You may need to add a little flour if it is sticky when you mix.
Let the dough rest while you flour your counter.
Turn the dough out onto your floured counter.
Flour the top of the dough.
With the rolling pin, roll the dough out as thin as possible.
Turn the dough over and flour as needed so it won't stick to the counter.
If your working space is small, only roll out part of the dough at a time.
When, you have it rolled out as thin as you can or want, cut the dough into quarters.
Flour the dough and layer the quarters on top so you have one stack.
Cut that stack in half and stack those on top of each other, flouring between stacks.
Repeat until you have a rectangle shaped stack of noodle layers.
With your knife, thinly cut the stacks into the length and width of noodles that you want.
Once you have them all cut, make sure all the noodles are separated. They may just come apart from the stack by rubbing them and tossing them in the air. You also may need to carefully divide them if they are stuck.
Let them rest while you prepare your water.
Add about 6 cups water to your pan.
Salt and bring to a rolling boil.
Gradually add the noodles to the pan, stirring them as you add so they won't clump.
Cook for a few minutes until the noodles float to the top of the pan. This signals they are done.
Drain and serve how you wish.

Makes about 3-4 cups raw noodles.

If you want to make beef and noodles or chicken and noodles, just add the noodles to your boiling broth and meat/poultry.
Cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. If you want to thicken up the dish, turn the heat down to low and simmer til it is how you like.

The size stack you cut your noodles into is determined by how large or small you want your noodles. My mom and grandma always cut them smaller so they made the stack into a smaller rectangle before slicing the noodles. I like them longer so my stack is a larger rectangle. The smaller the rectangle, the taller the stack will be.


Last year's N- Nachos

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Special Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are great! They are my favorite way to eat potatoes. I started making these when I wanted mashed potatoes, but realized I was out of butter. I had cream cheese.
I figured why not use the cream cheese.

You will need a 2 quart pan with lid.
You will need a potato masher OR a hand mixer.


4-5 medium size potatoes, peeled and cut up. You will need enough to fill your pan almost full.
8 oz. cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup milk
dried chopped chives

Peel and cut up your potatoes.
Add to the pan.
Put some water in the pan. Enough to cover the potatoes some, but not completely.
Season with salt. About a 1/2 teaspoon is fine.
Cover the pan and turn the heat on to medium high.
When the water comes to a boil, turn the heat down to low and let cook for another 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
In a mixing bowl, add the cream cheese and milk. Dump the potatoes into the bowl.
Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.
Mash the potatoes with the masher or mixer.
Sprinkle some chives over the potatoes and stir in.
Taste and add more salt, pepper, or chives if you want.

Serves 6.


Last year's M- Mexican Lasagna

Friday, April 13, 2012

Lemon Pudding Cake

This is a tasty, simple to make dessert. You mix it up and put it in the oven and you get cake on top of pudding.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 Celsius.
You will need a 1 quart casserole.
You will need a pan big enough to fit the casserole inside.

2 eggs, separated
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Separate the eggs and put the whites into a bowl and beat with a mixer until the whites are stiff.
Set aside.
In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, lemon zest, egg yolks, and milk. Beat well.
Add the sugar, flour, and salt.
Mix until smooth.
Fold in the egg whites.
Pour into the 1 quart casserole.
Set inside the larger pan.
Put both into the preheated oven.
Pour very hot water into outer pan. It should be about 1" deep.
Bake until golden brown. This will take 40-50 minutes.
 Take out of oven and water.
Serve warm or cool.

Serves 4-6.

Last year's L-  Lattice Crust

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lemony Garlic Kale

Kale is a super healthy vegetable. It is a member of the broccoli family. What makes it good, in my opinion, is the seasonings you use to serve it with.

You will need a pan large enough to hold the kale. It also needs a tight fitting lid.


12 cups torn up kale. Use whatever kind of kale you prefer.
Juice from 1 lemon(2 Tablespoons, approx.)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/2 to 1 clove garlic, minced- depending on how much garlic flavor you want
1 teaspoon soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste.

Add a small amount of water to your large pan and bring to a boil.
Add the kale, cover, turn down the heat and let it steam for 7- 10 minutes. It need to be tender, but don't overcook or the kale will be bitter.
While the kale is steaming, mix the remaining ingredients in a large bowl.
Remove the kale from the heat and pour into a colander to drain any water.
Add to the lemon juice mixture and toss to completely coat.
Taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.


Serves 4-6.


Last year's K- Kolaches

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jerk Dry Rub

Dry rubs impart a lot of flavor to your food. Most times they are used for when you grill meats. But, you can use them to season when cooking inside. You can also use them on vegetables.
Jerk is a type of Jamaican style cooking. Very flavorful and also very spicy hot. It is normally a marinade, but not this time.

You will need a small jar with a lid.


1 to 2 Tablespoons chipotle chili powder. If you want hotter, use habanero powder. For lower heat use regular chili powder.
2 Tablespoons dried chives
1 Tablespoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon kosher OR sea salt
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Put all into a jar.
Screw on lid and shake.

Use as you like for cooking.
Makes about 1/2 to 3/4 cup.


Last year's J- Jalapeno cheddar buffalo burgers

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Italian Dressing

Salad dressings are easy to make. If you keep a lots of seasonings on hand, you can put some together in a matter of minutes.

You will need a jar that has a tight fitting lid. A 16 oz. jar is the perfect size.


1 cup oil. I use olive oil, but any vegetable oil will do.
1/4 cup vinegar
2 Tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed

Add the the ingredients to your jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake well.
Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Shake well before using.

Makes 1-1/4 cups dressing.


A couple recipes I have that use Italian dressing are Jambalaya Salad and Italian Cheese Bread.

Last year's I- Italian Cheese Bread

Monday, April 9, 2012

Skillet Hash

This is a great way to use up leftover roast or corned beef and potatoes. Very fast, simple and tasty.

You will need a skillet.


2 cups chopped, cooked lean beef or corned beef
2 cups chopped, cooked potatoes
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon chopped parsley- use 1/2  the amount if it is dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
about an 1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup cooking oil

Pour the oil in a skillet and turn on the heat to medium.
Mix all the other ingredients and add to skillet when the oil is hot.
Fry it for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are browned. Turn the hash frequently so it doesn't burn.

Makes  3-4 servings.

Last year's H- Ham and Beans

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Grilled Chicken Cheese Sandwich

This sandwich is a meal all by itself. I really love grilled cheese and I am always looking for ways to change it up.

You will need a skillet.
You will also need another skillet or griddle for grilling the sandwiches.


1 chicken breast half, sliced about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup sliced onion
1/2 cup sliced bell pepper(red, green, OR a mix of both)
1-2 Tablespoons cooking oil to coat the skillet
salt, pepper, garlic powder to season
6 slices of your favorite bread
butter for spreading on the bread
Approximately 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Heat a skillet to hot. Add the cooking oil.
Add the chicken, bell pepper, and onion.
Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Cook, stirring frequently until the chicken is done and the vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Butter one side of all the slices of bread.
Heat up your griddle or other skillet.
Lay 3 slices of bread butter side down on the griddle.
Divide the chicken mixture among the bread slices.
Sprinkle with the cheese, about 1/4 cup per sandwich.
Lay the remaining slices of bread on top of the chicken- butter side up.
Let cook for a few minutes until the bottom bread slice is golden and than carefully flip over.
Cook for another few minutes until the cheese is melted.
Remove from the heat and serve.

Makes 3 sandwiches.

If the chicken breast half is large, you may have enough left to make a 4th sandwich.

Last year's G-  Gravy

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fry Bread for Tacos

I love tacos and these are my favorite way to eat them. Fry bread is thick and chewy and altogether yummy.

You will need a skillet or griddle large enough to hold a 6 or 7 inch piece of fry bread.


4 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup shortening
1-1/3 cups water
cooking oil for greasing the pan.

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
Cut in the shortening with a fork or your hands.
Add the water and stir just to make a soft dough.
Turn dough out onto floured counter and knead until it is smooth. This will take maybe 5 minutes.
Cover with a towel and let the dough rest for a half hour.
Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces.
Roll or pat dough out into circles- 6-7 inch.
Put a small amount of oil on you skillet and heat to hot.
Add a piece of fry bread and cook until the dough puffs and bubbles. This will take only about a minute.
Turn over and cook for another minute.
Repeat with the rest of the fry bread.

Serve with your favorite taco toppings.

Makes 12 pieces of fry bead.
Last year's F- French Toast

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Essential Sweet and Smoky Seasoning Salsa

This stuff it potent. A little goes a long way. So, one batch will last you for quite a while.
I found this recipe in the book Rick Bayless's Mexican Kitchen.
You can use this for a condiment or as an ingredient to a dish. I have added a little to homemade salsa before and chili. I also use it to make chipotle shrimp. I will be posting the recipe for chipotle shrimp for the letter S in the challenge.


1-1/4 cups water
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons molasses
3, garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 teaspoon salt
4oz dried red chipotle chile peppers
Vegetable oil- enough to cover the bottom of a frying pan to a depth of 1/4 inch.

In a saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and molasses. Bring to a boil and take off heat. Stir until the sugar is all dissolved.
Set aside.
Heat a 10" skillet with oil in it.
When the oil is hot, add some of the chile peppers.
Stir and toast for a couple minutes until they start smelling spicy and have turned a reddish brown.
Scoop out with a slotted spoon and drop into the sugar water.
Repeat with the remaining chile peppers.
Pour off most of the oil in the skillet and than add the garlic to the hot skillet and cook until golden, about 4 minutes.
Add the garlic to the chiles.
Pour the water with chiles and garlic into the bowl of a food processor or blender.
Blend until smooth.
Heat the oiled skillet back up.
Add the pureed mixture.
Stir good for a minute to make sure nothing sticks.
Turn the heat down to low and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
The mixture will be thick like tomato paste.Carefully taste and season with salt if you feel it needs it.
Scape it into a jar and store in the fridge.

To use as a condiment, you need to add a little water to make it more sauce like.
For adding to recipes add a tablespoon or less at a time and taste before adding more.

This makes about 1-1/4 cups.

You can find dried chipotles in Mexican grocery stores. I have also seen Walmart carrying some dried chiles, but I am not sure what all kinds they sell.
You can also get them at Penzeys Spices either online or if there is a store near you.
Last year's E- Baked Empanadas

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Dumplings For Stew

I love dumplings. I have had plain chicken and dumplings, but I really prefer them in a stew.
To make it stew, I add some peas, carrots and onion and thicken the broth.
Either way you like to make them, they are still delicious.

2/3 cup flour
1 Tablespoon fresh parsley OR 1-1/2 teaspoons dried
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of dried basil OR dill weed
a pinch salt
1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons cooking oil

In a medium size bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
Mix the milk and oil and add that to the flour mixture.
Stir just until combined.
Set aside.
Make sure your stew is bubbling.
With a spoon, scoop 4-8 mounds and drop on top the stew.
Cover the stew and let simmer for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick is clean when poked into one of the dumplings.

Serves 3-4.

If you want to thicken the broth, combine 1 cup milk and 1/3 cup flour and stir into 2-1/2 cups boiling broth. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

Last year's D- Deviled Eggs

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cilantro Sauce

This is a great sauce for meat or any kind of kebab. It has so much flavor. It is also sometimes referred to as coriander sauce, but coriander is the seed of the cilantro plant. This sauce is made with cilantro leaves so I call it cilantro sauce.
It tastes great room temperature or cold.

You will need a blender or food processor.


1 cup of stemmed loosely packed cilantro leaves( If you buy it, 1 bunch should do)
3 cloves of peeled garlic( In a pinch, 3 teaspoons garlic powder will work)
1 hot pepper like jalapeno or serrano, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/3 cup lemon juice OR white vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 to 4 Tablespoons water

Stick the cilantro, garlic, pepper, walnuts, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and cumin into the bowl of blender or food processor.
Turn it on and get the mixture as much into a paste as you can.
You probably won't get it completely smooth and you may need to stop and scrape the sides a few times.
Take the mixture out and put into a jar and add a couple tablespoons water. Stir well. If it is the thickness you want, good. If you want it a bit more pourable, add another tablespoon or two.
Taste and season with more salt if needed.

This is very intensely flavored! So much that it may surprise you.
You might call it tart.

This makes about a cup.

Serve within 4 hours of making and refrigerate any leftovers.

Last year's C- Chocolate Syrup

Monday, April 2, 2012

Bacon Jalapeno Poppers

If you love bacon and hot peppers, this is for you. This recipe takes the jumbo jalapenos.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit/220 Celsius
You will also need a large baking sheet.


6 jumbo size jalapenos, cut in half and seeded. Leave stem on.
12 slices bacon
4 oz. cream cheese
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In a small bowl, mix the two cheeses together.
Divide among the jalapeno halves.
Wrap one slice of bacon around each cheese filled pepper half.
Bake on the baking sheet for 10-15 minutes or until the bacon is as browned as you like and the cheese is all melty.

Makes 12, serves?

Last year's B recipe was Brown Bread.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Avocado-Turkey Wrap

This is one of my favorite quick foods. It is also extremely healthy and filling.
For the tortilla, use any kind you want. As long as it is pliable, it will work great.

You will need a microwave safe plate.


1 small avocado or 1/2 of a large one, cubed.
1 serving sliced turkey- you can use lunch meat or two slices of roasted/smoked turkey
2 Tablespoons shredded cheddar cheese
handful of sliced jalapenos or serrano peppers- optional
1 large soft shell tortilla- about 7" or "burrito size"

For the avocado, cut in half lengthwise. Twist apart.
To remove the pit:
Scoop it out with a large spoon OR with the cutting knife, stab the pit. It works best if you use the bottom portion of the blade. The blade will be stuck in the pit. Holding the fruit in one hand and the knife in the other, twist. To take knife out of the pit, wrap a paper towel around the pit and pull it off the blade.
If you only need half the avocado, wrap the other half immediately in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Run a spoon in between the skin and flesh of the avocado. Pull the flesh out and cube it. Or slice, if you'd rather.
Set aside.
Lay the tortilla on a microwave safe plate.
Cover the tortilla with the turkey.
Sprinkle with the cheese.
Sprinkle with the pepper slices, if using.
Microwave on high for 30 seconds.
Turn the tortilla. If you don't lift and rearrange it, the bottom will get soggy or at the least very moist.
Microwave for another 30 seconds.
Remove from the microwave and put the avocado on just one half of the tortilla.
Flip the other side over the avocado.

Makes 1.

Last year's A recipe was Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Saturday, March 24, 2012

What Is Gluten?

Yesterday I was talking to a friend and she asked me what gluten was.
I gave her a pretty simple answer- what causes bread to rise.
But, it is really more than that.

It is what makes dough stretchy.
It's what gives cookies structure.
It is why bread rises so much. The yeast helps, but it needs gluten.

If your flour doesn't contain gluten, the results are different.
To get the same effect, you may need to add more eggs or use a flax seed slurry, xantham gum, or guar gum to mimic the effects of gluten.

In Going Gluten Free part 1 & part 2, I gave you a general idea of what you need to know to be gluten free.
Now,I am going to tell you what gluten is.

Gluten is made up of two proteins- the gliadins and the glutenins. When they come together, you end up with the texture you want in breads, cookies, and cake.

The protein gliadins is the major trigger for celiac disease.
There are three subtypes of gliadins.
They are a/B-gliadins, y-gliadins, and w-gliadins.

Glutenins are basically what causes the rising or structuring effect.
It adds in air and is why the crumb in your baked product is the way it is.

Wheat is the major producer of gluten.
The amount of gluten does vary from strain to strain of wheat.

The ancestors of modern wheat, emmer and einkorn, contain far less gluten.

Gluten is also present in barley, rye, bulgur, kamut, or triticale.
Oats do not contain gluten, but may be cross contaminated if processed in a facility where gluten products are being processed.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apple Crisp

This apple crisp is a little different than most. It is made with all oats instead of oats and flour.
If you would like flour, you can blend half the oats in a blender until you get oat flour.

You will need a 1-1/2 to 2 quart casserole dish.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 Celsius.


4 apples
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup oatmeal
5 Tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 In a medium size bowl, mix the brown sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and oats. Add the butter and cut in until crumbly.
Set aside.

Core, peel, and slice the apples and place them in your dish.
Sprinkle the brown sugar topping over the apples. Put in the preheated oven for 30-45 minutes or until the apples are tender when pierced with a knife.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm or room temperature.

You will get 4 nice servings. Six, if they are smaller.
 If the apples are really juicy, you may get some juices pooling at the bottom. Just spoon some over the top of your crisp. Amazing!

This is great if you are wheat free or even have problems with gluten. If you have celiac disease, you may need to find certified gluten free oats. Most people that are gluten sensitive can tolerate oats, but there may be some cross-contamination with wheat or barley during processing.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Cheesesteak Pizza

Homemade pizza is great! You get to put on how much of what toppings you want. For this pizza, I decided to try my hand at a cheesesteak pizza. Razor thin and tender meat, green peppers and onions topped with cheese all on a pizza crust. Yummy!

You will need an 11"x15" baking pan OR a 16" round pizza pan.


Store bought or homemade pizza crust
1/2 pound thinly( approx. 1/8 " thick) sliced beef. I used loin, but choose what kind you prefer.
1 cup sliced green bell pepper
1 cup sliced onion
salt and pepper to season
Cooking oil for sauteing the meat and vegetables
2-1/2 to 3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Prepare the crust and set aside to rest.
Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet.Medium heat is good.
Add the sliced meat and season with salt and pepper.
Cook for a few minutes until meat is browned.
Add the peppers and onions and cook until they are tender. Stir a couple times so they won't scorch.
Set that off the heat.
In a small pan, melt the butter and add in the oregano, basil, garlic powder,and onion powder.
When melted and mixed in, remove from the heat.
Grease your baking pan and press the dough into it.
Build up the edges slightly.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit /220 degrees Celsius.
Brush the butter/herb mixture of the pizza dough. A pastry brush is great, but a large spoon will work.
Spread the meat/veggies over that.
Top with the cheese.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until  the cheese is starting to brown and the crust is golden.

Remove from the oven and let it set for a few minutes to make for easier cutting.

Makes one large pizza.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Taco Sauce

This taco sauce is really simple to make. So, next time you are making something that you want taco sauce for and you don't have any-make some.
I don't always have taco sauce on hand. But, I always have canned tomatoes and spices.

You will need a blender. I use a hand held immersion blender.
You will need a small or medium size saucepan.


1(14.5 to 16oz) can chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1-1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon sugar- optional
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Blend the tomatoes until smooth.
Combine in the saucepan with the rest of the ingredients.
Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Continue simmer for about 30 minutes or until as thick as you like.

This will make about 1-1/2 cups.
It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days up to a week.

The thicker it is, the hotter it will be. And remember that it will thicken a little upon cooling.
This is not really hot, but it does have some heat to it.
If you want it milder, start off with half the amount of cayenne and taste before adding the rest.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Blueberry Pie

This pie is bursting with blueberries. Great made with fresh or frozen blueberries.

Bakes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit(190 Celsius)
You will need a 9" pie pan

Pastry for a 9" double crust OR use 2 premade 9" pie crusts
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour( if blueberries are extremely juicy add an additional 1 Tablespoon if you want)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice(optional)
5 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

To brush over crust-

Roll out half of the pastry a little bigger about 11" diameter and fit into pie pan.
Roll out the top crust 12".
In a bowl, mix the sugar, flour, lemon juice, and blueberries. If you have frozen blueberries, let the mixture sit 15-30 minutes before adding to pie pan.
Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie pan.
Lay the top crust over the blueberries and tuck the top crust under the bottom crust and crimp to seal.
Brush a little milk over the top crust. Sprinkle with a little sugar.
With a knife, make slits in the pie crust to allow steam to escape.
Preheat your oven.
Cover the edges with a pie shield OR a foil ring.
Bake for 25 minutes from fresh fruit and 50 minutes for frozen.
Remove shield or foil ring.
Bake for another 20-30 minutes or til top is golden.
Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Serves 6-8.


If you have leftover pastry make cinnamon pastry roll-ups!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chocolate Tea Bread

If you are a fan of quick breads and chocolate, you are going to love this bread. It is fantastic!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit(175 Celsius).
Grease and flour a 9"x5" loaf pan.

1-3/4 cups flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter ( if using salted butter, omit the salt)
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream

In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder,baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Set aside.
In another mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar.
Beat in the vanilla extract.
One at a time, beat in the eggs.
Blend in the sour cream.
Gradually mix in the flour mixture.
Scrape the batter into the greased and floured loaf pan.
Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the middle of the bread.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about 15 minutes.
Loosen and remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Buttermilk-Blueberry Muffins

These blueberry muffins are a little different from most homemade blueberry muffins. This version not only has buttermilk, but it is sweeter and has vanilla extract. It is more like a blueberry muffin you would buy from a bakery or even the little Hostess muffin bites.
If you don't have buttermilk, pour 1/3 cup vinegar or lemon juice into your liquid measure and fill it up the the 1 cup mark with milk. Let stand 5 minutes before using.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 Celsius).
Grease 12 regular size muffin cups OR line with cupcake liners.


2-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup olive oil or other cooking oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

In a mixing bowl, blend the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar.
Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the buttermilk, egg, oil, and vanilla extract.
Pour that mixture into the flour mixture.
Carefully fold in.
When it is well moistened, fold in the berries.
Don't overmix or your muffins will get all pointy in the oven and there is the possibility they could be tough. Also, if you use frozen berries and you mix too much, melting starts and you get purplish swirls throughout the muffins.
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Each cup will be almost full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until they test done when poked with a toothpick.
Let stand for 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

If you have olive oil, I really recommend using it. The muffins are very light.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup

One of my favorite parts of growing bell peppers is making stuffed bell peppers. This soup is a great way to get the flavor of stuffed bell peppers in a comforting bowl of soup.

If you happen to grow your own peppers, slice or chop some and freeze for making this soup. They work great!

You will need a Dutch oven or large pan for making soup.


1 pound ground beef
2 cups chopped and seeded green bell pepper
1 cup chopped onion
1 quart chopped tomatoes( you could use a 29 oz. can if needed)
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon ground, dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground, dried sage

1-1/3 cups water
2/3 cups white rice

salt and pepper, if needed, to taste

Brown the ground beef in your Dutch oven. Drain off fat, if needed.
Add the onion and peppers. Cook about 5 minutes until the onion is tender.
Add the tomatoes, paste, broth, thyme, and sage.
Cover and simmer until the peppers are tender. Fresh peppers about 30-40 minutes.
Frozen peppers will maybe take about 20 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, add the rice to the water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low.
Cover and cook approximately 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat.
Add the rice to the soup and heat through.
Taste and season with salt and pepper if you want.

Tastes great with shredded cheddar cheese sprinkled over the top.

You will get 6 filling bowls of soup.