I post recipes here the way that I make them, so of course you should feel free to adapt these to what your family likes!
To make this blog user-friendly, I put tags for each major ingredient of each recipe, as well as for type of dish, and ethnicity, so you can go to the list on the side here (scroll down) and search for specific things.
If you like a recipe, please comment! If you have a yummy adaptation, please leave that in the comments as well!

Flourless Applesauce Cinnamon Cake

There are some lovely flourless chocolate cakes, but I've had trouble finding non-chocolate ones so I started experimenting and this came out well so I'm sharing.  This is not very sweet--almost like a muffin--and it's low sugar and fat as well. I think I'll be eating it for breakfast!

4 eggs--divided
1 cup rolled oats
1cup applesauce
1-2 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar (optional--depending how sweet your applesauce is)

Put the oats in a food processor or blender or run through a grinder so they are a coarse flour. Add the applesauce, cinnamon and egg yolks so it makes a thick paste. 
In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar to the whites. 
Gently fold the apple-oat-cinnamon mix into the egg whites. 
Put into a greased 7x11 or 9x9 baking dish. Bake at 300 for about 45 minutes (check with a toothpick to make sure it's done). 
It's really good warm with butter :)

Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins

We like muffins for breakfast.
Or rather, the kids like muffins, and I like making them the night before so that they are ready for breakfast and I don't have to make anything right when I wake up!
Since we're eating them for breakfast though, I try to have them be on the healthier side. It's not a 'health food' by any means, but it's definitely not the cakey 'muffins' they have at grocery store bakeries. I also like that these are not too sticky, so they're easy to pack for a snack or a lunch and they won't stick together.

2 c rolled oats (I threw them in the food processor and pulsed them a few times so they were  chopped a bit. This isn't vital, but un-chopped rolled oats can be a bit chewey)
2 c applesauce
1/2 c honey
1 c oil
3 c flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 Tbs cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Put the oats in a large bowl with the applesauce, honey, and oil and mix. Let sit for a few minutes to soften the oats. Add dry ingredients and mix just until blended.
If it seems too thick, add 1/2 c water. (Depending on what kind of applesauce you have or whether you chop the oats it might affect the consistency.)

Bake at 375 for about 18 minutes for standard muffins or about 9 minutes for mini muffins.

"Russian Tea"

I'm really not sure where the name comes from, since there is no tea in it, but my brother (who lived in Ukraine for a while) said they do make something similar over there, so perhaps it really is  Russian!
We make this when we have sore throats. It's soothing and has some immune-boosting properties and it just tastes good!
The original recipe had sugar, but I've substituted honey, as well as increasing the lemon and orange juices...so my version is not as sweet but is more healthy. I have included both here for you, depending on whether you are looking for something healthy or just a sweet treat.

2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cups lemon juice
4 cups orange juice
6 cups water
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
In a large saucepan (4+ qt), combine the 2 c water with the sugar, and boil for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 30 minutes.

(my version)
2 cups water
1 cup honey
1 cup lemon juice
6+ cups orange juice (I usually put in an entire can, reconstituted)
4ish c water (the water + orange juice should be 10 cups, give or take)
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 tsp almond extract
You can dissolve and boil the honey and water first, or you can just dump everything in at once and bring it to a nice simmer. Honey will dissolve much faster and more easily than sugar does. ☺

Serve warm or cold.


This is a food that came down from my grandma, who serves it as breakfast. When I first saw it I was a little scared of it, it just seemed weird. But I tried it, and you know, it is pretty awesome. I swear it's southern, though my family isn't from the south so I don't know how we got it. But it's yummy!

1 c yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 lb pork sausage (can be raw, or cooked to drain the grease off--I always cook it)
1 can evaporated milk
1 onion chopped up fine
1 carrot chopped up fine

(Cook and drain sausage. Set aside.) Put cornmeal in a saucepan. Pour water over cornmeal, mix, and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Add milk, meat, and veggies. Add salt and pepper. Cook slowly until really thick, stir often or constantly to prevent burning.

Pour into loaf pan that's been rinsed in cold water (glass pan is best). Don't grease the pan, just get it very cold in the water. Then chill the scrapple in the pan for 2 or more hours (overnight is best).

Slice off pieces about 3/4-1" thick, dip in flour, and fry until golden brown.

Serve and enjoy!

Conference Weekend Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls from scratch are time-consuming. They are super awesome, but time consuming. With the understanding that you'll be in the kitchen for a couple of hours, I totally recommend these.
 Twice a year a general churchwide conference is streamed on internet, and there is a two-hour session on Saturday morning (and several more over the weekend as well). During the Saturday morning session one day a few years ago, I thought "hey, I've gotta stay in this room for the next two hours, might as well cook something..." and so I did. And now it is a tradition that during Saturday morning conference, I make cinnamon rolls.
I usually make a massive batch, and freeze some,  and then I have easy rolls ready for another day a couple of weeks later. 

CINNAMON ROLLS makes 20ish rolls, depending how big you make them
(I usually triple this, and freeze about one batch worth)

1 1/4 c warm water
3 Tbs yeast
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c oil
Mix in a bowl until dissolved. Cover with a towel and put in a warm place for 15 minutes.

2 beaten eggs
1 tsp salt
5 1/4 c flour
Mix and add to above. Knead for 5 minutes.

Roll out with a rolling pin. (If you make a double or triple batch, you'll have to do half at a time.) Spread about 1/3c melted butter (per batch) over it and sprinkle with a ton of cinnamon and sugar. Roll up dough into a log. Slice and place into pans (I prefer to use a cake pan instead of a cookie sheet--it keeps the edges soft when the touch the edges and each other), let rest and rise for about 10 minutes, then bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes.
(If you're going to freeze some, cut them, but don't let them rise--place them on a large pan with spaces between them, and put them into the freezer. After about an hour, when they are fully frozen, take them out and put them in a large container or bag to store in the freezer.)


Here is my method for cutting cinnamon rolls. I've seen other people use scissors, and if you've got a method that works for you go for it, but this is what I do. Cut a piece of thread or dental floss that's about 20 inches long.

Lay it flat against the counter, and gently slide it under the end of the long roll.

Bring the thread up and cross it over and pull it snugly across itself to cut the dough.



CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (I double this to go with the triple batch of rolls)
4 oz cream cheese (soft)
1/4 c butter (soft)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2-2 cups powdered sugar
Beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add vanilla and mix. Blend in powdered sugar.
(if you want to save a portion of this to freeze with some rolls, put it in a ziplock baggie and just stick it in the freezer...when you're ready to use it, just squeeze it around in the bag a bit, and then cut off a little corner of the bag and use it to pipe the frosting onto the warm rolls.)

And with that frosting, we always end up with a few of these
thanks kids

Cheese Biscuits

This started as a basic biscuit recipe, but what isn't better with cheese?! We were shooting for something similar Red Lobster's "Cheddar Bay Biscuits." (I have looked at several knockoff recipes, and it's the after-cooking butter mix that seems to be the secret ingredient.)
I have tried grating the cheese and also cutting it into cubes. As the photo shows, the cubes will melt and make little holes in the biscuits... I usually prefer grated cheese, but the bigger cubes do make a stronger cheese flavor, so experiment and see what you like.
This recipe is good for plain biscuits too.

3 c white flour (with the cheese this recipe is not very wheat flour friendly)
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp cream of tartar (you can technically skip this, but if you have it do use it, it helps with fluffiness)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c lard  or room temperature butter (or you can substitute in part bacon grease, but if you do that be sure to add it with the liquid part)
1 1/2 c milk or buttermilk (or milk with 1Tbs of lemon juice in it)
1 egg (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 c cheddar cheese, grated or chopped into little cubes
For that really Red Lobster touch, melt 2 Tbs butter and put in 1-3 tsp garlic powder and 3/4-1 tsp dried oregano. (I like lots of garlic and not much oregano, adjust for your tastes.) Use a pastry brush to put it on the biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven, OR take them out a couple of minutes before they are done cooking and brush it on and then put them back in for the last few min.

Preheat oven to 450.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Cut in the solid fat (lard or butter) until all is consistently crumbly.
Add liquid ingredients all at once, and stir with a fork just until moistened.
Stir in cheese.

Put in blobs on a baking sheet (just like cookies). If you have parchment paper that is really nice because otherwise the cheese will often melt out and stick to the pan.
Bake at 450 for 10ish minutes.

Potato Soup (Zuppa de Toscana)

In its original incarnation this recipe was chopped potatoes with some hot dogs thrown in, but after an inspiring visit to Olive Garden my husband suggested putting in pork sausage instead of hot dogs, and the rest is history... I'm pretty sure that everyone who has tried this soup loves it.
Don't scrimp on the salt. It needs it. Potatoes absorb a lot of salt. Using sausage helps, but you'll still need more.

serves about 6

6 large potatoes, cut into 1/2in cubes (peel them first if you use russets, but you can leave part or all of the skins on if you use reds or golds)
1/2-1 onion, chopped little
1 lb ground pork sausage (actually 3/4 is plenty, but they come in 1lb portions usually...and it works)
salt and pepper
parsley (fresh is good in little sprigs, or use about 1Tbs of dried flakes)

Put the cut up potatoes and onions in a large saucepan, with just enough water to cover them. Boil them until they are soft (adding water as needed).
Meanwhile, cook up the pork sausage. When it is cooked through, set aside on a paper towel to let some of the grease come off (it's good if it's still a bit greasy though).
Return to the potatoes etc and drain off some of the water (leaving just a cup or so in the pan). Put in the sausage. Add milk to cover, and warm it on low or med-low heat but don't allow it to boil (milk gets ikky if it's boiled). Add salt (start with at least 2 tsp) and pepper. Use a potato masher to smash around in there until about half of the potato chunks are pulverized. That will give a nice thick consistency to the soup, while still having good chunks to chew on.
Add parsley.

Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.
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