Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homemade Dishwasher Detergent THAT WORKS !!!

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1/2 cup Epsom salt (or Kosher salt)
1/2 cup citric acid (or Lemon Kool-Aid or CountryTime Lemon Aid have worked for me)

Mix in a small container with a lid.  Shake before each use- citric acid causes clumps. Or you can put a little rice in to absorb the moisture.
Put in dispenser.  

At the bottom of the dishwasher put 1/2 cup a vinegar AND 3 drops blue DAWN dishsoap.  This is the key to make this recipe work!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Noodles with Baby Shrimp

Another recipe from Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes.

Little Miss on her 4th bowl of "more noodles."

This one, especially the noodles, was a huge hit at lunch today.

1 package (3 3/4 oz) cellophane noodles
3 green onions
1 Tbs vegetable oil
1 package (16 oz) frozen mixed vegetables (such as cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)
1 cup vegetable broth (I used seafood broth)
8 oz cooked frozen baby shrimp
1 Tbsp gluten-free soy sauce
2 tsp dark sesame oil
1/4 tsp black pepper

1 Place noodles in large bowl.  Cover with boiling water; let soak 10-15 minutes or just until softened.  Drain noodles.  Cut noodles into 5-6 inch pieces; set aside.  Cut green onion into 1 inch pieces.

2 Heat wok or large skillet over high heat about 1 minute or until hot.  Drizzle vegetable oil into wok; heat 30 seconds.  Add green onions; stir-fry 1 minute.  Add mixed vegetables; stir-fry 2 minutes.  Add broth; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 5 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender.

3 Add shrimp to wok; cook just until thawed.  Stir in noodles, soy sauce, sesame oil and pepper; stir-fry until heated through.

1 cup of broth is A LOT of broth.  It made it sort of like fishing for noodles and veggies.  I would aim for, maybe, 1/2 a cup next time.

Flourless Fried Chicken Tenders

Another recipe from Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes.

1 1/2 cups chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
3/4 cup water plus 2-4 Tbsp
Oil for frying
1 pound chicken tenders
Curry Mayo Dipping Sauce (optional)

1 Sift chickpea flour into medium bowl.  Stir in Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and ground red pepper.  Gradually whisk in 3/4 cup water to make smooth batter.  Whisk in additional water by Tbsp if needed until batter in consistency of heavy cream.

2 Meanwhile, add oil to large heavy skillet or Dutch oven to 3/4-inch depth.  Heat over medium-high heat until drop of batter placed in oil sizzles (350 degrees).

3 Pat chicken pieces dry.  Dip chicken into batter with tongs; let excess fall back into bowl.  Ease chicken gently into oil; fry 2-3 minutes per side until slightly browned and chicken is cooked through.  Fry in batches; do not crowd pan.

4 Drain chicken on paper towels.  Serve warm with Curry Mayo Dipping Sauce, if desired.

Dipping Sauce:  Combine 1/2 cup mayo, 1/4 cup sour cream, and 1/2 tsp curry powder.  Stir in 2 Tbsp cilantro.

I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour.  Its main ingredient is garbanzo beans (another name for chickpeas).
I think this recipe could have used more red pepper.  Maybe 1/4 tsp?
I made the dipping sauce but did not add the sour cream just in-case my gluten and dairy intolerant family member wanted to try it.  He did not and I wish I had added the sour cream.  Might add it tomorrow for the leftover strips.
I obviously do not fry food very often.  All three Young Men joined me in the kitchen to see and hear the "bubbles."
They, well, 2 out of 3, enjoyed the strips with BBQ sauce.
The picture of the strips at the top was the first batch.  Later batches were more golden colored.  Probably, should have let the oil heat up another minute or two.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Italian-Style Shepherd's Pie

From Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes

1 pound poatoes, peeled and quartered
2-3 Tbsp. milk  (I used raw cow's milk.  You could use broth or milk of choice.)
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 chopped onion (about 1/2 cup)
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp fennel seeds, finely crushed
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
2 cups diced yellow summer squash
1 can (about 14 oz) chunky tomatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup tomato paste

1 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine potatoes and enough water to cover in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Boil, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until tender; drain.  Mash potatoes, adding enough milk to read desired consistency.  Stir in Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

2 Brown beef and onion in large skillet over medium-high heat 6-8 minutes, stirring to break up meat.  Drain fat.  Stir in Italian seasoning, fennel seeds, and red pepper.  Add squash, tomatoes, corn, and tomato paste; mix well.  Spoon mixture into 2-quart casserole.  Spoon potatoes over top.

3 Bake 20-25 minutes or until meat mixture is bubbly.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Triple-Play Chocolate Cake

My mom, the amazing grandma and mom that she is, got me a cookbook for my birthday called Learning to Bake Allergen-Free A Crash Course For Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts.  She, also, got me some xanthan gum.
Thankfully, my birthday is 5 days before my youngest's.  So, I got to try out a cake recipe today for his 4th birthday and it was a success!  So, much so that there are only 10 pieces of a 9x13 cake left.

2 1/2 cups gluten-free flour blend (I used Bob's Red Mill flour blend)
1/2 tsp xanthan gum (leave out if your flour blend contains xanthan gum)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbsp shortening
1 cup allergen-free chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade)
1 cup flaxseed gel (equal to 4 eggs) (I used 4 eggs)
2 cups chocolate milk (I used raw cow's milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract

1 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray 9x13 pan with cooking oil.
2 Mix the flour, xanthan gum (if needed), sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.  Set it aside.
3 Melt the shortening and the chocolate chips together in a small bowl.  Stir these two ingredients together thoroughly.
4 Combine the applesauce, flaxseed gel, milk, and vanilla together in a large bowl, with a mixer on medium-low speed, about 1 minute.
5 Add the chocolate and shortening mixture and blend for 1 more minute.
6 Gradually, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.  Blend completely.
7 Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan.
8 Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Greek Style Salmon

This was dinner tonight.  As I mentioned with the previous recipe, we are in the process of going gluten-free.
Another mom I know, who has, "Been there.  Done that."  Lent me a cookbook called Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes.  This is another recipe from this cookbook.

1 1/2 tsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups (1 can) diced tomatoes, drained
6 black olives, coarsely chopped
4 green olives, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 pound salmon fillets

1 Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, parsley, capers, garlic, and pepper.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently.
2 Cook tomato mixture 5 minutes or until reduced by about one third, stirring occasionally.
3 Rinse salmon and pat dry with paper towels.  Push sauce to one side of skillet.  Add salmon to skillet; spoon sauce over salmon.  Cover and cook 15 minutes or until salmon begins to flake when tested with fork.

I would in the future, serve this with couscous or something. 

Quinoa & Shrimp Salad

We have been busy going gluten-free at our house.  Which has reduced me to tears multiple times in the last few weeks and causes tension in my back every time I think about setting foot in my kitchen.  So, sad when a favorite hobby turns into a horrible nightmare.
A friend, who has gluten tolerance issues in her own home, lent me a cookbook called: Favorite Brand Name Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes.  I, greatly, appreciate all the pictures in this cookbook.  As well as finding a second recipe that uses quinoa that my husband approves of.

1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 bag (12 oz) frozen cooked baby shrimp, thawed and well drained
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp capers
2 Tbsp finely chopped green onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp grated lemon peel
1/8 tsp black pepper

1 Place quinoa in strainer.  Rinse well under cold water.  Bring water and 1/4 tsp salt to boil in medium saucepan over hight heat.  Stir in quinoa.  Cover; resuce heat to low.  Simmer 12 to 14 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.  Cool to room temp.

2 Combine quinoa, shrimp, tomatoes, basil, capers and green onion in large bowl.  Combine oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, pepper and remaining 1/4 tsp salt in small bowl.  Pour over salad.  Toss gently to mix well.

Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes

This recipe was discovered on Nick's website.  However, I don't want to loose it since it is the first quinoa recipe I ever made and it was well received by both myself and my husband.  And, it falls into the category of things that my youngest can eat.

Quinoa Salad

Yield: Serves 6-8.
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes


2 Cups dried quinoa, rinsed
2 large sweet potatoes, cubed and blanched (or sub 1 medium butternut or acorn squash, halfed, roasted and cubed)
1 Cup dried cranberries (you can use raisins, cherries, mango, whatever)
1 Cup pumpkin seeds (you can use sunflower seeds)
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup red wine vinegar
Juice from one lemon
1 Tablespoon honey
1 Teaspoon paprika (optional)
Salt and pepper

Cook quinoa per package instructions.  I purchase it bulk.  So, it is a two parts water to one part quinoa ratio.  All quinoa says to rinse thoroughly.  However, I do not own a strainer with small enough wholes.  I tried using a coffee filter, but that was to fine.  So, rinsing does not occur in my world for quinoa.

First, stick your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and poke a few holes in them with a fork. Bake them at 350 degrees for about 50-60 minutes until they’re very tender.
By the way this is the same process I used for both the butternut squash and the acorn squash. Just chop them in half, poke some holes in the skin, and bake them for 50-60 minutes.
Let your potatoes cool for a few minutes after they come out of the oven and then peel and slice them into about 1/2 inch strips.  (Nick's instructions.)  Cube the strips.

Then, you mix everything together.
Mix the quinoa, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and seeds.
Mix your dressing up and pour over your quinoa mixture.  Toss to coat.  The dressing should be on the less is more side, not standing in the bottom of the bowl.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spicy Pork Chop Casserole

I am writing this recipe as written in the cookbook Incredibly Easy Gluten-Free Recipes.  However, when I made it, I doubled the recipe and used a 9x13 casserole dish.  I, also, had purchased a pork loin at the grocery store on sale in the last week and had sectioned it into 3 pound sections before freezing.  I sliced the  3 pound pork loin into 9 pork chops and put 8 of the 9 on top of the casserole.  The 9th, I pan fried and then put in the oven in a separate container for my husband's dinner.
I used Italian  diced tomatoes.
Additionally, I would like to thank Laura Poe for lending me the cookbook.  As we are new to gluten-free, it has been a blessing to have her encouragement.

Nonstick cooking spray
2 cups frozen corn
2 cups frozen diced hash brown potatoes
1 can (about 14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano, drained
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp olive oil
4 boneless pork loin chops (about 3 oz each), cut about 3/4 inch think
1/4 tsp black pepper (I used more and I used fresh ground)
1/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese (optional - I didn't use)

1- Preheat over to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
2- Lightly spray large nonstick skillet with cooking spray.  Add corn, cook and stir over medium-high heat about 5 minutes or until corn begins to brown.  Add potatoes; cook and stir about 5 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown.  Add tomatoes, chili powder, oregano, cumin and red pepper flakes; stir until blended.  Transfer corn mixture to prepared dish.
3- Add oil and pork chops to skillet.  Cook over medium-high heat until browned on one side.  Place browned side up on top of corn mixture in baking dish.  Sprinkle with black pepper.  Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until meat is barely pink in center (160 degrees F).  Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.  Let stand 2-3 minutes before serving. 
Makes 4 servings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


This recipe is copied and pasted from here.  And, then, edited to reflect what I did or would do in the future.
  •  1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/4 cup butter (We used olive oil and about 2 Tbsp.)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons curry powder  (I would use this amount next time.)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup white rice
  • 1 skinless, boneless chicken breast half - cut into cubes
  • salt to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated  (I didn't heat it.)


I served this with homemade naan.  I started the naan 45 minutes before starting the soup.  

Saute onions, celery, carrot, and butter in a large soup pot. Add flour and curry, and cook 5 more minutes. Add chicken stock, mix well, and bring to a boil. Simmer about 1/2 hour. 

Add apple, rice, chicken, salt, pepper, and thyme. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until rice is done. 

I, think, next time I would put at least some of it in a blender to give it more of a creamy texture.

When serving, add hot cream.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Salsa for Canning

I am copy and pasting this recipe.

10 lbs tomatoes, chopped
6 medium onions, chopped
3 cups bell peppers (any kind), chopped
12 jalapeno peppers, chopped and seeded
5 chili peppers, chopped and seeded (this will make it spicy or milder, depending on the peppers you choose)
10 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 1/3 cups white vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 tsp pepper
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp lime juice
3 cans tomato paste (the bigger cans, not the tiny ones)

Combine all ingredients except tomato paste in a large stock pot. Simmer approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste and mix well. Simmer another 20 minutes or so. At this point, I take out about half of the salsa, blend it smooth in the blender and then return it to the pot, but you can leave it chunky if you prefer. Ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4" headspace. Cap and process 15 minutes in a water bath canner. Remove jars and let cool.

This recipe makes approximately 15 pints.

I followed directions from here for getting the jars,  tomatoes, and finished product ready. 

The main tips I used were:
1) Use Roma tomatoes for salsa.

2) Place a few tomatoes at a time in boiling water, for 30-45 seconds.  Pull out and submerge in ice water.  Skins will slide right off.

3) Run jars through the dishwasher on the sanitize cycle.  (Our dishwasher does not have a sanitize cycle.  So, I used the pots and pans cycle and put it on heated water and dry.)

4) Bathe the jars in boiling water for 20 minutes.  (I aimed to have the jars covered with water, but my pans aren't big enough for the taller jars.)

5) I covered my towels after the bath to keep them from draft overnight.  All my jars were sealed in the a.m.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stuffed Pepper Soup

We have been gone and this morning we were home and the weather was cool.  So, we picked all the good stuff out of our garden.  I could not bring myself to freeze all of it and, did I mention, the weather is cool.  So, the logical conclusion is...SOUP!

So, after looking on-line for a recipe, twice because my youngest takes great humor in closing my tabs or clicking on and opening ads.  I came across this recipe and proceeded to follow it very loosely, which for me is NEVER done with a new recipe.  But, did get great reviews from my husband.  :-)
So, after reading the recipe, I decided to start by browning my hamburger because I do not want all that grease in my finished soup which would be added if I added my raw hamburger to my veggies.
After browning the hamburger, while it was draining, I sweated my veggies.  These are the veggies at the beginning of cooking.
Once the veggies were tender, they looked like the picture above, I put the hamburger in.
I, then, added the rice and began adding tomatoes.  I'm not really sure how much tomato is in there.  I just kept pulverizing and adding till I thought it looked good.
So, here is my version of the recipe...

1 onion chopped
3 stalks celery chopped
4 small bell peppers chopped
1 pound hamburger browned
Garlic (Definitely used more than a clove)
1/2 cup white rice (uncooked)
1/2 cup water
2 Tbsp sugar (I will probably use less next time)
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Brown your hamburger and drain.
While your hamburger is draining, put your onion, bell pepper, celery, and fresh chopped garlic in your soup pan.  (I used some of the hamburger grease that remained in the pan to sweat my veggies.  Or, you can use a little cooking oil.)
Let veggies cook until they are soft.
Put hamburger back in the pan.
Add rice, water, tomatoes, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Put a lid on it and let it cook till the rice is tender, roughly 45 minutes.  Watch it and stir it occasionally.  If it is looking like there isn't enough liquid, add more tomatoes.
Taste the soup at this point to make sure you like it.  You can add more salt, pepper, sugar.  When it is to your liking and the rice is cooked and a good sprinkle of cinnamon.  Stir and serve.  (I served with saltines because I thought it might need a little extra salt but didn't want to risk screwing up the goodness I already had going by adding to much salt.)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Beef Fried Rice

  •  1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 3 cups cold cooked rice
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Pour eggs into skillet. As eggs set, lift edges, letting uncooked portion flow underneath. When eggs are completely cooked, remove to a plate; set aside.
  • In the same skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Stir the rice, bean sprouts and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients until blended; stir into skillet. Chop egg into small pieces; stir into skillet and heat through. Yield: 4 servings.
On facebook, I am a member of a group called Food & Cheer.  One of the ladies in the group posted this recipe a week or so ago.  I made it for dinner Friday night.  Before I had even taken a bite, my husband was raving about how good it was.  I, also, took it to our church's potluck today.  Where my father-in-law requested the recipe.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Strawberry Salad

This recipe from Penzey's is similar to this Spinach and Strawberry Salad but it is a nice change up with the melon and dressing. 

Spicy Glazed Pecans:
1/2 c sugar
2 T water
1 t salt
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 1/2 c pecan halves

1 lb baby spinach leaves
3 T olive oil
1 c sliced strawberries
1 c diced melon (cantaloupe)

2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 t. chocolate syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with grease parchment paper (or foil).  Combine the sugar, water, salt and cayenne in a heavy saucepan (non-stick).  Stir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  Boil, WITHOUT stirring, for 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the pecans, stirring for 1 minutes until the pecans are coated with the syrup.  Transfer pecans to the cookie sheet, spreading and separating them as evenly as possible.  Work quickly.  Place in oven; bake until the pecans start to brown, approximately 10-12 minutes, depending on the oven. (WATCH CLOSELY.)  When browned, carefully slide the parchment off the pan onto a cooling rack.  Separate the pecans with a fork and shake around a bit so they are not stuck to each other or the parchment.  Cool completely.  They will store in an airtight container.

Toss the salad.  Mix the dressing. 



I am still perfecting making homemade flour tortillas.  Here is where I saw the original recipe.

1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1 T. coconut oil
Start with 2/3 c. water.

Mix dry ingredients.  Add coconut oil mix until small 'peas' form.  Add water slowly until a soft dough forms.  I add more water if necessary.

Pinch dough into 12 balls and roll on a floured surface.  Heat on cast iron skillet.

After you cook them on both sides IMMEDIATELY put them in a dish towel.  Wrap them up together.  This keeps them warm and moist. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Apple Pecan Pudding

6 peeled and cored apples, dried
2 cups milk (We use goat.)
2 cups pecans
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp cinnamon
5 dried dates
2 cups sun-dried apples
Soak dried apples in milk overnight.
Blend with remaining ingredients and place in small ceramic ovenware bowls.
Cook at 200 degrees for 20 minutes.
Cool in refrigerator before serving.

Another recipe complements of Sarah Albright.
The recipes says it will serve 3-6. I found it filled 7 bowls.
I placed the bowls on a cookie sheet to ease in getting them in and out of the oven.
A little Cool Whip would be wonderful on these. However, I haven't progressed that far in my cooking for Bear.
The next time I make these, I will chop the sun-dried apples and add them by stirring them in with a spoon. The food processor did wonderful up till I added the sun-dried apples and then it wasn't happy.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Green Beans and Sausage

1 qt, green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 carrot, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
8 oz can tomato sauce
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1 lb sausage, either ground or link cut into 1 inch pieces
1. Combine all ingredients except sausage in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on high 3-4 hours. Add sausage and cook another 2 hours on low.
The recipe is from Sarah Albright.
This recipe should be served with bread or something as the sauce/juices are really flavorful and need help getting off your plate and into your mouth.
Also, I used more than a quart of green beans (fresh) and a large bell. And more thyme than just a 1/4 tsp.
 I used Andouille links from the smoke house at the local grocery store. YUM!
Additionally, this is SUPER easy. The hardest part of snapping the green beans.

Crockpot Beans & Rice

1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 cup brown rice
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp dried onion flakes

Put olive oil in crockpot.  Add rice and swirl in oil until coated.
Drain and rinse beans.  Add to crockpot.
Drain tomatoes, but save liquid in measuring cup.  Add tomatoes.
Add water to measuring cup with tomato liquid.  Add mixture of liquid with water to crockpot totalling 2 cups.
Add seasoning, stir well, and cover.
Cook on low for about 6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.  It is done when the rice is tender.
*Can, also, cook rice on stove and microwave other ingredients.

Above is the recipe as it was shared with me by Sarah Albright.
However, the next time I make this, I am going to use Cajun seasoning in place of the Italian seasoning and add Andoulli sausage during the last 1/2 hour or so of cooking.  Going for a red beans and rice idea.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how well the brown rice cooked up.  I cooked it for four hours on high.  You don't want to over cook this because at the end of the 4 hours there was condensation on the lid but that was about it for water left in the crock.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Grain-Free Apple Flax Muffins


1 1/4 cups flax seed meal
2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup Stevia
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter or coconut oil (For MSPI, use coconut oil)
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 large apple, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Mix dry ingredients. Beat the eggs and add to dry mixture along with oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Add apple and nuts and stir to combine.
Allow fully incorporated mixture to stand 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease muffin tins. Spoon into tins (the batter will be very thick) and bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 18-24 large muffins.  
We store them in the refrigerator, per the suggestion of the author of the blog we got the recipe from.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


 Spinach Salad
with Layered Greek Dip using hummus & Spiced Pita Chips.

Recipe adapted from HERE.

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 c. garbanzo beans (I cook mine in the crockpot.)
2/3 c. water
4 T lemon juice
2 T tahini
1 t. salt

Mix in blender until creamy.


French Bread

adapted from HERE
Make into Super Stuffed French Bread Pizza

6 c. all-purpose flour
6 t. active dry years (2 1/2 packages)
1 1/2 t. salt
2 c. warm water
1 T cornmeal
1 egg white
1 T water

Mix 2 c. flour, yeast, and salt.
Mix in 2 c. warm water until well blended (using a dough hook).
Stir in the remaining flour (as much as you can).

Knead on a lightly floured surface to make a stiff, smooth dough. 
Knead for 10 minutes.
Shape into a ball.
Put in a greased bowl and turn once.
Cover and rise until doubled.

Punch down and divide in half.
Cover and rest for 10 minutes.
Roll each half into a large rectangle.  Roll up and moisten edges with water to seal.  (Taper ends.)

Grease a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Place loves, seam side down, on the baking sheet.  Beat egg white and water then brush on loaves.
Cover with damp cloth and rise 40 minutes (until doubled).

Use a sharp knife to make 4 diagonal cuts 1/4 in deep across each loaf.
Bake 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Brush again with egg white mixture.
Bake 15 to 20 more minutes.  (You may need to cover loosely with foil to prevent browning.)

Cool on a wire rack.

Don't eat too much or you'll have a FAT BELLY like our toddler!

Pita bread


These are good to make spiced pita chips or to eat with Layered Greek Dip.
adapted from HERE
2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (one package)
1 1/4 c. warm water
2t. salt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a mixing bowl.  Stir in salt and enough flour to make a dough.  Knead on a floured surface for 7 minutes.  Do NOT let rise.  Divide dough into six balls.  Knead ball for a minute then roll into a 5 inch circle. 

Cover and let rise until doubled- 45 minutes.  Place upside down on greased baking sheet.

Bake 500 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove from pan to wire rack to cool. 


THIS is the best recipe I have found for making deodorant. 

2 T baking soda
2 T starch (arrowroot powder or corn starch)
3T coconut oil

Mix the baking soda and starch then add the coconut oil in until smooth.
Put in a silicone container (or muffin liners) and refrigerate until hard.  

Use like regular deodorant.  This amount lasts about 2 months.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Black Bean Casserole

Original recipe found HERE.

1/2 lb ground turkey
onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. ground red pepper
5 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 c. chicken broth
4 c. black beans
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 c bacon, crumbled
1/2 c. almond cheese  (Monterrey Jack Cheese if no Bear)
1/4 c. green onions, sliced

Preheat oven, 425F

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook turkey and 1/2 of the onion until meat is browned.  Remove.

Spray pan.  Add the rest of the onion, pepper, and jalapeno.  Saute for 4 minutes while stirring occasionally.  Add salt, cumin, red pepper, and garlic.  Saute 1 minute, stirring constantly.  (You may add up to 2 T of water if desired to help not stick if desired.)

Stir in broth and black beans.  Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes.  Mash beans to desired consistency.

Put mixture into an 8-in sq. sprayed baking dish.  Top with turkey, bacon, tomato, and cheese.

Bake for  10 minutes with almond cheese so it is slightly melted (or 30 minutes until lightly browned if Monterrey Jack Cheese.) 

Top with green onions and let cool for 10 minutes.

Serve with vegan sour cream

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Don't Feed the Bear

Little Bear is having some food issues.  He can't have dairy or sugar.  Also, he is being tested for a gluten allergy.  Let the FUN begin on learning how to cook a new way for a 3 year old and the rest of the family!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Sugar Body Scrub

Recipe found HERE. Simple things you have on hand and an enjoyable bathtime treat.

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. sugar
3/4 c. light olive oil
2t. cinnamon
2t. ginger
2t. nutmeg

Mix. Put in a container with a lid.
Use a teaspoon or two to massage into your skin, leave on for a few minutes, and rinse thoroughly.


Recipe found HERE.

I like this more than Castile soap alone.

1/4 c. coconut milk
1/3 c. Dr. Bronner's peppermint liquid castile soap
1 t. vitamin E oil (or olive oil)


Shake before using 1 t. to wash hair.
Keeps up to one month.

Lip Gloss

I tried a different lip gloss recipe that was simple but did not have any coloring or strong scent.
I saw THIS recipe and wanted to try it. I liked the results. The smell is strong so I might cut back on the candy flavoring next time but the results were fantastic. I found the little containers at WinCo in the travel section in packs of two. My 2 year old wanted to add glitter to the gloss but I managed to convince her the scent was enough.
Here is my version of the lip gloss:
1 t. beeswax
4 t. coconut oil
4 t. Vaseline
4 pink candy melts
1/2 t. oil-based candy flavoring

I melted the ingredients in a mini crockpot then used a glass measuring cup to pour them into the clean containers. You could also melt them in a ziploc bag over hot water or in the microwave if you melted the beeswax first and stirred often.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


IT WORKS!!! Oh my gosh. It actually works, is easy and tastes good.

HERE and HERE are two of the many recipes I read.

So I have seen how to make yogurt on multiple blogs but I was so scared to try it. I had a fear of it smelling like spoiled milk and in my mind it seemed so complicated. Finally, I gave in and tried it after I saw the stack of 32 oz yogurt containers piling up under the sink. Two 32oz yogurts every week.

32oz of yogurt costs $3.50
1/2 gallon of whole organic milk costs $3.50+ $1.50 worth of honey, starter and vanilla

I was persuaded by the price to try it.

1/2 gallon whole milk (1% to whole is fine)
1/2 cup starter (I use just plain yogurt with live active cultures.)
1/2 cup honey (or other sweetener)
1 T vanilla (optional)

Put 1/2 gallon of milk in the crockpot on low for 2 1/2 hours.

Turn the crockpot off and let sit for 2 1/2 hours.

Whisk together a cup of yogurt from the crockpot, 1/2 of plain yogurt starter, 1/2 cup honey and 1 T vanilla. Add back to the crockpot and whisk together.

Wrap the crockpot in a beach towel and place in a cool oven overnight. (8+ hours. The oven is to keep it the same temperature, safe from drafts.)

Pull it out and YOU HAVE YOGURT in the morning!
It is amazing. Almost as cool as making bread.

One of my children likes to drink it with a straw. Put if you want it thicker you can put a coffee filter at the bottom of a strainer to let the whey drain. (See link given above.)

There are videos to watch on YouTube if you are nervous too. I think, it is worth it!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crusty Bread

Look at SIMPLY SO GOOD for great pictures, add in suggestions and other great tips in the comment section.

In a large bowl mix,
3 cups unbleached white flour
1 3/4 t. Kosher salt
1/2 t. yeast
Whisk together.
Add in
1 1/2 cups water.
Mix with a spatula.
Cover with plastic wrap.
Let sit for 12 to 18 hours on the counter.

Heat oven to 450 degrees.
Put dough on a heavily floured surface and form into a ball then cover with plastic wrap from the bowl.
Heat a dutch oven with lid for 30 minutes.
Put dough into heated dutch oven with the lid on.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Done and beautiful bread.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Chai Tea

This is from a friend on facebook who got it from her friend Shaily.

1/2 cup of water
2 heaping tablespoons of tea (I use 2 tea bags)
4-5 heaping tablespoons of sugar (I use honey and just drizzle in a little)
2 tablespoons of finely grated ginger (I grate over the pan till I think it looks good)

Let it boil until it turns a really dark caramel
color. Then, add to that 1 1/2 cups of milk (preferably whole) and
watch it until it's just boiling. Pull it off the stove, strain, and

You can also add cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg and
some black pepper. None of which has ever been added with a measuring spoon.

(Picture, hopefully, coming later this evening.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Molasses Cornmeal Bread (Anadama Bread)

I traded a loaf of bread with someone at bible study. This is the bread I received! It is great for sandwiches. We made grilled cheese with almond cheese to go with our tomato soup.

7-8c flour
1.25 c cornmeal
2.5t salt
1.5T yeast
1/3c softened butter
2.25c very warm (120-130F) water
2/3c molasses

Mix 2.5c flour, cornmeal, salt and yeast in KitchenAid bowl.
Add butter.
Gradually add water and molasses.
Beat and scrape the bowl as needed.
Add enough flour to make a stiff dough.
Knead 8-10 min.
Allow to rise in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth until doubled in size.
Divide into two loaves for second rise in greased loaf pans.
Bake @ 375F for 45min.

Annie also said: "This dough is stiff enough to do free form loaves by doing the final rise on a pizza shovel and baking on a preheated stone if you want to."

Peanut Soup

LinkI found this recipe HERE.
1 tablespoon canola oil
½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2 medium to large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano chile pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
½ medium white or yellow onion, chopped
1 medium garnet sweet potato or yam, peeled and chopped
3 cups vegetable stock
½ cup creamy peanut butter
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
½ cup chopped roasted peanuts
Warm the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the ginger, carrots, bell pepper, serrano chile, garlic, and onion.
Sauté for 5 minutes, then stir in the sweet potato and stock.
Bring the soup to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
Transfer the soup to a blender, add the peanut butter, and purée until smooth.
Return the purée to the saucepan and stir in the tomato sauce.
Cook until warmed through.
Transfer to servings bowls and top with the peanuts.

Black Bean Burgers

I saw these burgers HERE. I really like the flavor and they hold together a lot better than I expected. We put them on THESE buns!

¾ cup panko
olive oil
30 oz black beans (I make mine in the crockpot so I don't have to worry about rising them.)
2 eggs
1 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, minced
1 shallot, minced

Heat skillet to medium-high. Combine panko with 2 t. olive oil and mix. Add to skillet and toast. Stir frequently until golden. Remove from heat and cool.

Put 2 1/2 c. beans in a large bowl and mash until smooth. In a small bowl, whist eggs. 1 T. oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Add egg mixture, toasted panko and 1/2 c. beans, pepper, cilantro and shallow to the mashed beans. Stir together.

Make 6 patties about 1 inch thick. (They can be wrapped in plastic wrap to be refrigerated for up to 24 hrs.) Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook patties 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Serve warm.


LOOK at that beautiful pizza. Pizza crust made with whole wheat flour and topped almond cheese.

This recipe is from Heidi at Adventures of a Gluten-Free Mom.
She has great photos on her site of how to make this. Check out her other comments and suggestions too.

I found this recipe when my husband's aunt came over. I was planning on making pizza for dinner but she can not have tomatoes. This recipe is so good and could fool anyone that it is not make with tomatoes.

onion, chopped
garlic, chopped
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
3 T lemon juice
1 T overflowing of balsamic vinegar
8 oz can beets, drained (save liquid)
15 oz pumpkin puree (NOT pie filling)
1/2 c veggie broth
1 t. salt
lots of pepper
1/2 c. fresh basil
2 T dried oregano
1 1/2 t. cornstarch +2T beet juice

Sautee onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
Add lemon juce and vinegar.
Simmer 5minutes.
Puree beets in blender. (Save the liquid.)
Add pureed beets, pumpkin, salt, pepper, basil and oregano to pan. Stir.
Whisk in broth.
Simmer 5 minutes. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
Whisk cornstarch with a little beet juice then put in hot pan.
Cook 1 more minute.
Taste to adjust any seasoning.

Crockpot Applesauce

We went to visit relatives this past weekend and my husband's aunt had made applesauce in the crockpot that my littlest loved. I never even thought about making applesauce in the crockpot but it is easy and she loves it.

I found THIS recipe. And I used THESE apple suggestions.

8 apples- cored and peeled.
You must peel them!
(Jonagold, Pink Lady, Jonathan, Golden Delicious, Empire, Mcintosh, Rome)

lemon peel
1 t. lemon juice
3 inch cinnamon stick
5 t. brown sugar

Put it all in the crockpot on low for 6 hours. Remove the cinnamon stick and enjoy.

Kiwi Pops

Found HERE. These are so good and simple.

Cut a kiwi into one inch thick pieces and peel.
Put on a stick.
Freeze on wax paper.
Melt 1 cup dark chocolate and 1/2 cup coconut oil in a double broiler.
(MSPI make sure the chocolate is MSPI friendly)
Cool chocolate to room temperature.
Dunk kiwi.
Eat or freeze.

These are best eaten the day made or maybe the day after. I feel they loose flavor after that.
They are really good. Imagine a healthy Dilly Bar.

My toddlers (1- and 2- years old) enjoy these.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I do not like donuts and I like THESE.
I don't really think this counts as cooking. They are good hot!

canned biscuits (anything BUT the flakey layer kind).
Melted butter (4T) (coconut oil for MPSI)
Sugar & Cinnamon
1/2 inch vegetable oil

Medium heat for oil.
Cut holes in the dough. I used the vegetable oil lid.
Brown both sides. Tongs work best for flipping.
Cool slightly on paper towel lined plate then lay in shallow dish of melted butter then shallow dish of cinnamon sugar. EAT!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


From Cooking Rocks! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids

4 Pieces of Parchment Paper
2 Zucchini
4 Green onions
1 Carrot
1 pint Cherry Tomatoes
4 portions Cod
1 Lemon
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (evoo)

Preheat over to 375.
Place parchment on baking sheets. Two pieces of parchment on each sheet works well.
On each piece of parchment place sliced zucchini (approximately 8 slices), a sprinkling of green onion, a little shredded carrot, a few cherry tomatoes, a little chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Place one serving of cod on each pile of veggies. Place two lemon slices (thinly sliced) on each piece of cod. Drizzle a little evoo over the whole thing.
Make a little pouch out of the parchment around the fish and veggies.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Each person gets one pouch. Serve pouches on dinner plates.
Open and ENJOY!
I served ours with garlic toast.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Edamame "Hummus" and Spiced Pita Chips

Or try traditional hummus.

2 cups frozen shelled edamame, cooked according to package directions
1 cup Silken tofu, drained
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch white pepper
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup lemon juice

Set 1 Tbsp edamame aside for a garnish.
Place the rest of the edamame in the food processor with the tofu, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice. Process about 2 minutes. Garnish with edamame and sprinkle of cumin.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
6 whole-wheat pitas cut into 8 wedges

Heat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients and toss (I used a large Ziploc. The recipe called for a bowl.) Spread out, in single layer on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes, flipping 1/2 way through. Cool before serving.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mac & Cheese

Finally, an easy Mac & Cheese recipe that reheats well. The kids love it.

Original recipe found HERE.

4 c elbow macaroni
3 T all-purpose flour
1 t salt
1/4 t pepper (I use more)
2 1/4 c milk
1/4 c softened cream cheese
1 t Dijon mustard
2 t Worcestershire sauce
1/2 t minced garlic, soaked in olive oil
1 1/4 cups cheddar cheese

Cook pasta. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, put flour, salt, and pepper in a large pan. Add milk, stirring with whisk until blended. Drop cream cheese in by teaspoonfuls into milk mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat; simmer 2 min or until thick and cream cheese melt, stirring occasionally. Stir in mustard, Worcestershire, and garlic; simmer 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese, stirring until cheese melts. Combine pasta and cheese sauce in a large bowl; toss well.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shrimp Etouffee

From Penzeys

1-2 lbs 30-50 count shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning, divided
4 Tbsp Butter
1/2 cup flour
1 onion chopped
1 cup celery chopped
1 red bell chopped
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp. thyme
3 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. hot sauce
1 cup fresh tomatoes, diced
3 cups water with 2 tsp. seafood soup base
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
Cooked rice

Season the shrimp with 1 Tbsp of the Cajun Seasoning and set aside to marinate.
Melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook 10 minutes stirring consistently until the flour becomes about the color of peanut butter.
Add the onion, celery, and bell. Cook till onion is translucent, about 10 minutes.
Stir in 1 Tbsp Cajun Seasoning, thyme, garlic, Worcestershire, and hot sauce. Cook 5 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes.
Add a small amount of the stock and stir well to form a paste. Add the remaining stock gradually, stirring constantly so it will be smooth.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes.
Add shrimp and green onions. Cook 10 minutes.
You can add salt, pepper, hot sauce, or 2 Tbsp lemon juice at this point. I forgot the lemon juice. Might try it on the leftovers.
Serve over rice.
The picture below was taken while I was waiting for it to come to a boil.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Toffee Crunch

From Rice Krispie Box.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings says 18 (I can guarantee it won't stretch that far)

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups cereal (Rice Krispies, Cheerios, Corn Flakes)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, melted
1/4 cup toasted, chopped nuts (they recommend almonds, I used walnuts today)

1 Line bottom and sides of 9x13 pan or baking sheet with sides with foil. Set aside.
2 Cook butter and brown sugar in saucepan over medium heat until bubbles, stirring constantly. Continue cooking 30 seconds. Pour into prepared pan, tilting to coast bottom. Sprinkle with cereal. (If you are using Cheerios, you won't use the full two cups, most likely.)
3 Bake at 375 degrees for 11 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with nuts. When it is cool break apart and enjoy. If it gets cool enough and there is any left, store in airtight container in refrigerator.


From All

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast(2 1/2 t.)
1 cup warm water
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg, beaten
(You can add 1/2 t. baking soda and cook with a lid if you want bubbles.)

2 teaspoons salt
4 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic (optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes on a lightly floured surface, or until smooth. (I kneaded with dough hook.) Place dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth, and set aside to rise. Let it rise 1 hour, until the dough has doubled in volume.

2. Punch down dough, and knead in garlic. (I put garlic in butter.) Pinch off small handfuls of dough about the size of a golf ball. (I made 24 balls.) Roll into balls, and place on a tray. Cover with a towel, and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

3. During the second rising, preheat grill to high heat. (I used a non-stick cooking pan.)

4. At grill side, roll one ball of dough out into a thin circle. Lightly oil grill. Place dough on grill, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until puffy and lightly browned. (Mine took about 1 minute on each side.) Brush uncooked side with butter, and turn over. Brush cooked side with butter, and cook until browned, another 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from grill, and continue the process until all the naan has been prepared.

This was SO GOOD and easy. The recipe does make a lot and they don't reheat very well.

Chicken Tikka Masala

From Real Simple January 2012.

15 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 T tomato paste
2 t. garam masala (Indian spice blend but if you don't have it- 1/2 t. cumin, 1/4 t. cinnamon, 1/4 t. coriander, 1/4 t. black pepper, 1/8 t. ground cloves, 1/8 t. nutmeg and a pinch of cayenne)
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 8)
1/2 English cucumber, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 cup basmati or some other long-grain white rice
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a 4- to 6- quart slow cooker, combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, 3/4 t. salt, and 1/4 t pepper. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables, vober, and cook until the chicken is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

In a small bowl, toss the cucumber and cilantro with the lemon juice and 1/4 t. each salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for up to 8 hours.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook the rice according to the package directions.

Just before serving, stir the cream into the chicken tikka masala. Serve over the rice with the cucumber relish. And naan!!!