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!

Great Grandma's Sugar Cookies

We had been making this recipe for years. It was extremely rich and we loved eating the cookies, but the dough was soft and could be difficult to work with if not chilled well enough (we had to put it back in the fridge between batches). When I was in my late teens, my mother came across another sugar cookie recipe and said "hey, this is almost the same as great-grandmas, except that instead of 1 cup of butter, it has 1 cube..." ...and then the light came on. Somewhere along the line someone had written "1c" instead of 1 cube, and ever since then we'd been doing a double portion of butter in the cookies. Since then I have opted to use 3/4 cup of butter--halfway in between the two. It maintains the rich flavor of our old recipe, but is much easier to work with.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp vanilla
a dash of almond extract if desired
2 1/2 cups flour

Cream butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Add flour.
Chill thoroughly (at least an hour). Keep firm in order to handle (any portion you are not working with should be put back in the fridge). Roll out about 1/4" thick and cut with cookie cutters. Place on a very lightly greased cookie sheet with space between cookies (dough will spread a little). Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

Cookies can be frosted, but I prefer to sprinkle them with colored sugar (or sprinkles) before cooking...they are rich enough without frosting, and sugar is just as pretty without the mess!

Meltaway Christmas Cookies

My mother had been making these for years, and told me that she liked them as a Christmas cookie. With sugar cookie snowmen in competition, I could never understand why she felt this was a holiday treat... After I was married I made them one day and my husband said "this is what they make at Christmas in Norway!" Aha!
makes 5 doz

1 cup soft butter
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour

Heat oven to 400*. Mix thoroughly butter, sugar, vanilla. Stir in flour. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet (I roll little balls). (Cookies don’t spread.) Bake about 10 min, until set but not brown. While still warm, roll in powdered sugar.

Cardamom Bread

A braided Christmas tradition from Scandinavia.
I grew up with this from my Danish ancestors...imagine my delight to learn that my husband had grown up with an almost identical recipe--from his Finnish ancestors! While our recipes are the same, our methods of eating are different: the Danes frost it and put on maraschino cherries (as pictured) and then tear off chunks from the braid, while the Finns slice it, toast it, and eat it with butter. We all eat it strictly at Christmas--my family saves it for Christmas morning, but my husband's family enjoys it throughout the holiday season.
makes 2 large (or 6-8 small) loaves

8 cups flour
2 cups scalded milk
2 Tbs yeast
1/2 cup warm water (for the yeast to grow in)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup melted butter
1 tsp cardamom (powdered form, not the whole pods!)

Dissolve yeast in water and set aside. Mix milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt, cardamom, and a little of the flour and beat until smooth. Add yeast and mix again. Add the rest of the flour and beat well. Knead for about 10 minutes. Cover dough and let it rise until double. Place on a floured board and knead until smooth. Divide into 6 even-sized pieces. Roll each piece into a 'snake' and braid together into 2 loaves, tucking the ends under.
Put loves on a large greased cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double again. Bake at 375* until golden brown--about 20 minutes for large loaves (less for smaller loaves).

If you are new to bread making, check out my bread making tips!

Sweet Pumpkin Pie

I got this recipe from my sister, who got it off a kitchen towel. Seriously, she did! Could I make that up?!

15 oz can pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (or homemade)
1 graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 425'F. Beat together pumpkin, eggs, spices and milk. Pour into shell. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350'F. Bake 35-40 minutes longer until done

[sister's notes]
I covered just the sides (crust) with foil before baking, so they were protected and the middle was exposed.
I baked it a lot longer than it said, until it stopped wiggling in the middle.
It was so darn yummy, I didn't even need whipped cream!

Peppermint Pie

There's a real irony to the fact that I like this pie...because I hate marshmallows! But somehow, when it's peppermint...well, nothing can be wrong with the world when I can smell peppermint!!

Makes 1 8" pie
If you want to make a 9" pie, or a deep dish, you need to double the recipe!

graham cracker crust (or a chocolate crumb crust!)
24 large marshmallows (or 3 cups minis)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 drops peppermint extract (doubled = 1/4 tsp)
6 drops red food color (doubled = 1/4 tsp)
1 cup chilled whipping cream
2 Tbs crushed peppermint candy (this is great for leftover candy canes! Be sure to really crush them up though)

Heat marshmallows and milk in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, just until marshmallows are melted. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, peppermint extract, and food color. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until mixture mounds slightly when dropped from a spoon.
Beat whipping cream in a chilled bowl until stiff. Stir marshmallow mixture until blended, and then fold into whipping cream. Pour into crust. Refrigerate at least 12 hours. *Just before serving, sprinkle with crushed candy.
Alternately, make it as bars instead of a pie. (I actually like this better, because I think the proportions of crust to filling come out nicer. Press the graham cracker crust into the bottom of a 8 or 9" square dish (make sure it's greased!). Don't put the crust up the sides--just on the bottom. Make a single batch of filling, and spread it over the crust. Put it in the fridge to set up overnight. Cut into squares. The first one will probably be hard to lift out (you might have to eat it ☺) but the rest should come up nice and pretty, something like cheesecake squares... :)
*if you sprinkle the candy on too early, it will sink into the pie rather than staying on top! If you do it more than an hour before serving, the colors from the candy will bleed onto the pie and the whole thing just looks a bit sad...

Harvest [Bean] Pie

My husband is scared of this pie, but he confessed that if I hadn't told him it was made with beans, he would have thought it was a new variation on a pumpkin pie...it has the same spices and texture as a pumpkin pie, but less sugar and more protein. I also happen to like it a little better!

2 cups bean puree (recipe below)
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
9" pie shell (uncooked)

Prepare bean puree (it takes overnight)
In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Add bean puree, milk, and evaporated milk. Stir until smooth. Add sugar and all spices. Stir until blended. Pour into unbaked shell. Bake 1 hour at 375* or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Serve chilled (it's good with whipped cream!)

Bean Puree
1 cup dried beans
water for soaking
2 1/2 c water
1 Tbs vegetable oil
Soak beans overnight, drain and combine remaining ingredients in a pan. Bring to boil and reduce heat. Simmer until tender--1-1/2 hours. Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid. Blend the beans with around half the liquid in a blender on medium speed (it will be about the consistency of pumpkin from a can). Makes about 2 cups.

Cream Cheese Pie

This is the pie that most of my family requests on their birthday (rather than a cake). Dad gets it layered with fresh raspberries for his summer birthday, the rest of us just take it straight up. It's got a bit of a lemony tang, it's richer than a cheesecake, and it's oh so good!

1 8 oz package of cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (cooled if homemade)
1/3 c lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla
1 graham cracker crust

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk and blend thoroughly. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla.
Pour into crust. Chill at least 3 hours (if you try to take a shortcut on this you will end up with 'pile' rather than pie, and trust me, it tastes great, but it's ugly!!)

Sweetened Condensed Milk

yup, you can make your own. It's not even hard!

1 cup sugar
4 Tbs butter
3/8 cup water
1 1/2 cup instant dry milk or heaping 1/2 cup non-instant

Combine sugar, water, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly, then mix in dry milk (using beaters or a blender to make sure it's thoroughly mixed).
Refrigerate, covered, until needed

Self-Rising Flour

No need to buy it ever again!

1 cup regular flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder

mix it up!!

I use self-rising flour, mixed with a little water, as the batter for onion rings and fried fish. My husband says I could give any English *chippy a run for his money

(*the guys who sell fish and chips on the corner)

Irish Stew

Irish stew is a simple yet hearty meal which will fill you up and warm your belly even after a long, cold, wet day in the fog or with the sheep ☺

1/2-1lb leftover lamb roast (beef works if you don't have lamb, but lamb is better!)
2 potatoes
2-3 carrots
1 onion
2-3Tbs garlic (or 1Tbs garlic powder)
salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, rosemary, and a bay leaf (I use a good sprinkle of each...amounts are very much up to you. I use lots of salt and thyme, and very little rosemary, because that's just what I like...)

Cut up the lamb, potatoes, carrots and onion into 1/2inch cubes. If the meat had leftover juices, those are the best base for the broth, however stock or bullion (lamb, beef, or vegetable) will suffice in a pinch. I put all the ingredients in a large pot, and add just enough water to cover them all. Stir around a bit, and then cover and cook on med-low heat until all veggies are soft, stirring occasionally. Once veggies are soft, remove lid and allow to simmer until you're ready to serve it. (With 1/2" chunks, my soup needed less than an hour to all be soft.)

I recommend serving it with warm biscuits, homemade bread, or rolls.

"Tasty Goodies"

You know how there's always just a little pie crust left over when you make a pie? No matter how many pies I make, I always seem to end up with scraps. Courtesy of my mother (a most frugal and also brilliant cook) I share an idea of what to do with those scraps! Mom called them "pastry goodies" but at least one of my little siblings mispronounced it as "tasty goodies" and the name stuck.

Take the leftover pie dough and moosh is together then roll it out.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, then cut into squares/triangles of around 2" across (we always end up with a lot of irregularly shaped pieces but of approximately the same size).
Place on a cookie sheet with a little space between them--they won't rise much, but will stick together if they are touching.
Bake (with the pie--whatever temperature that is) for about 8-10 minutes (check them, because thinner ones or higher temperatures will cook faster, so the bake time will vary from batch to batch).

Voila, tasty goodies!

Chocolate Bavarian Pie

Affectionately known as "Chocolate Barbarian Pie" when I was growing up, this delicacy has a mousse-like quality. It does have to chill for a while, but it's actually VERY easy to make.

(I confess that this particular one is in a purchased crust...I made three pies today because it's pie night, and I just didn't feel like doing a 4th!)

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
1/2 c cold water
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c cocoa
1 can evaporated milk
1 Tbs vanilla
graham cracker or cookie crumb pie crust

In 1 qt saucepan, soften gelatin in the water. Stir in sugar and cocoa.
Stir over medium heat until gelatin and sugar are completely dissolved (about 5 minutes). Do NOT let it boil.
Take off heat, and stir in 1 c of the evaporated milk, then put in a medium size (2qt) bowl and chill until firm (at least 1 hour).
Remove from fridge, and slowly mix in the rest of the can of milk (about 2/3 c) plus the vanilla. Beat on low speed until the mixture is broken up, then beat on high speed until the mixture fills the bowl.
Allow to rest for a few minutes, then put in the pie crust and chill until firm--about 1 hour.

Pie Crust

I know most folks have a pie crust recipe someplace, but for the sake of convenience, I here share my favorites...
Obviously you can always go down and buy a crust, but it's really not that hard to make your own, and they taste SO much better!

I love grandma's pie crust. She got it from Betty Crocker or something, I don't know, but I adore it and it's the only crust I like. It must be good though because I get compliments on it!
1 1/2 c flour (I stick to plain white for this one)
1/2 t salt
1/2 c shortening, lard, or coconut oil (this is the only time I use shortening instead of butter, but it really does affect the texture) Coconut oil adds a lovely touch to a sweet pie such as pumpkin, custard, chocolate, or a fruit pie. I use lard for savory pies.
4-5 Tbs cold water
Blend the flour and salt, then cut in the shortening. Sprinkle in the water, 1Tbs at a time, mixing after each addition until the dough holds together. Let the dough rest for a few minutes before rolling out or pressing into the pan.
TIP: have all the ingredients as cold as possible. Also, handle the dough as little as possible--each time you re-roll it, moosh it, handle it, or get more flour into it it will get stiffer and less flaky. The secret to a flaky crust is to not touch it!
This recipe is supposed to make two 8" crusts, but I usually use deep-dish 9" pyrex pie dishes, so I get 1 crust plus some leftovers...I either do a lattice top or make pastry goodies.

Crush 11 crackers (1 package) into crumbs. Add 1/4 c sugar and 1/2 c melted butter. Stir well, then press into greased pan and chill. My grandma just throws everything (whole crackers even!) into her food processor and lets it whir for a few seconds. I do it the old fashioned way with a baggie and a rolling pin...whatever works for you!
This happens to also work really well with the chocolate graham crackers...

For more tips about pies, see this post of tips (it's linked on the sidebar too).

Homemade Noodles

These take a little bit of time, but are not difficult. If you have a pasta machine it's faster and easier (and the noodles come out prettier) but you can do it just rolled out on the counter as well.

makes enough for 3-4 people in a pasta dish, or 4-6 in soup
1 cup flour
1 beaten egg
a little water

Put the flour in a bowl, add the egg, and mix. The egg won't be quite enough liquid to make a dough, so add water about 1-2tsp at a time until dough all sticks together. (I usually need about 2-3Tbs of water, but it varies by the size of the egg, and whether I use wheat or white flour or a combination.)
The noodles will be pretty sticky, so use plenty of flour when you roll them out. The noodles will get bigger when cooking, so cut them thin and small.

Bread-Making Secrets

Here are a few bread-making tips to help the aspiring bread maker!

Yeast needs a warm safe place to grow--most recipes call for putting yeast in warm water for a bit before adding it to the rest of the ingredients. The water should be just warmer than skin temperature, but not hot. Too hot will kill the yeast, but too cold will not stimulate it. This is one reason why most recipes call for warm water or milk--it warms the whole dough so that it can accept the yeast.

Add just a pinch of sugar to the yeast as it sits there--yeast loves sugar, and will grow fast and bubbly for you! (Do take care, as I've had it bubble right over onto the counter more than once!!) Happy yeast helps make a nice airy bread though.

Yeast is inhibited (or even killed) by fats and salts. So don't put yeast with butter/oil or salt until after it's growing well. (This is one reason that many recipes call for adding at least some flour before adding the yeast, and also why many recipes say to scald the milk--scalding the milk helps destroy its natural enzymes which would battle with the yeast.)

When you are kneading, put flour on the counter, but get your hands wet with water (rather than flouring them also). I was skeptical of this at first, but it has worked well for me. Basically if you add flour from both the counter and your hands, then it is making the dough stiffer as you work...however if you balance the counter-flour by having water on your hands, it helps maintain the texture of the dough. And no, I don't get sticker hands--if anything, they seem to be less-sticky when I do it this way!

Here is the great secret about kneading. One of my friends told me this, and she heard it from her grandmother...it's certainly a married woman's secret, but I have found it to be perfectly accurate! How do you know when you've kneaded the dough enough? When it feels like the family jewels! ☺

Beef Stroganoff

The original recipe I found used ground beef and an onion soup mix, but I've adapted it, added some things, and made it yummier and healthier to boot!

1 c Leftover beef (from steak, roast, etc) chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 chopped onion
3/4-1 c sour cream
1-2 cans cream of mushroom soup
4 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
4 c cooked pasta
(amounts are pretty flexible, I just put approximately what I use--I don't measure!)

Set noodles to cook (they will need around 15 min, and everything else will cook within that time)
If beef is not pre-cooked, then put beef and onion in a hot skillet and saute until meat is cooked and onions look glassy (to prevent sticking, add a little oil if beef is not fatty). If beef IS pre-cooked, then just saute onions, and add beef after onions are glassy. Mix in Worcestershire as the beef cooks.
Dump in sour cream and cream of mushroom soup with the meat/onions, and stir in pan until mixed and warmed-through.
Serve over noodles!

5 Minute Chocolate Cake

This isn't my own recipe, but I had to post it here so that I'd have it saved somewhere that I could find it again!

Single Serving Chocolate Cake in a Mug

(seriously, isn't that the greatest idea?!)

Fast, Cheap, and Easy ("bangers & mash" goes American)

In Britain (so I hear) they will take mashed potatoes and then slice up some bangers (a sausage that my husband tells me actually isn't very good) and they mix it together and call it "Bangers and Mash." Here is my variation--the kind of meal that takes 5 minutes to make yet is a step up from PB&J, and even has a hint of healthy.

Mashed potatoes (I confess to using instant)
1 can of corn (drained)
some hotdogs, bratwursts, or kielbasa.

Make the mashed potatoes, mix in the corn.
Chop up the meat and either mix it in or serve it on the side. (I prefer to serve it on the side because it's easier to adjust proportions, but I do mix them up as I eat...)

Indian Rice

This was taught to me by an East Indian friend--she moved to the USA as an adult, but she knows her Indian cooking! Cooking rice this way is very simple, but adds real richness to any Indian dish. We never use plain white anymore!
All spice measurements are very approximate...I just dump some in, more of this and less of that...do what smells good to you!

2-4 Tbs oil (I like coconut oil, or any veg oil works fine)
2ish Tbs butter
1/2 c onion, chopped small
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped small (or garlic powder)
1 Tbs turmeric
1 Tbs cumin
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp cardamom
1 jalapeno pepper (optional--see instructions)
2 c long grain rice (like jasmine or basmati)
1 can coconut milk
enough water to add to the coconut milk to make 4 cups

Put butter and oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and all spices, stir a bit, then add rice. Stir as it warms until spices are evenly distributed and the rice begins to turn glassy looking. Add the coconut milk and water (I use the milk can to get my water and then pour it into a measuring cup, so I get every last drop of coconut milk!) Mix, cover, and turn to low heat until rice is done--usually about 15-20 minutes (depending on what type of rice you used).
Eat topped with whatever Indian dish strikes your fancy! (I'll be posting some, I promise, but the simplest thing to do is stick some chicken or lentils in and pan and spice them exactly the same way as the rice...voila!)
If you like it spicy, remove the seeds from a jalapeno pepper and then cut it in 3-4 pieces and drop them in with the spices. They will add zing! (don't eat the peppers). I prefer it without the peppers though

This is a modified recipe, as I prefer to use the whole can of coconut milk and not have leftovers...what my friend actually does is use 1c coconut milk, 1c evaporated milk, and then 2c water...

Rotisserie Chicken in a Crockpot!

This is not my recipe, but a friend posted it on her blog and just looking at the pictures makes me all drooly, so obviously I will be trying this soon. :)


I do want to add a couple of notes:
At the end she does a great job of describing how to make bone broth (which is the healthy kind!) She mentions that you can add bullion...while technically I'm sure you can, I never do because bullion has MSG which is bad news. I DO often add chopped onion, celery, and garlic. They all will add flavor and make an amazing broth (and the actual chunks will be strained out with the bones).

Also, as someone who likes to cook with whole chickens (for the purpose of having leftover bones for broths!) You don't have to debone the thing...just serve it whole like the turkey at Thanksgiving. Then just collect all the nibbled-on bones when you're done and stick them in the broth. Yes, I do put those bones in for the broth...it's going to boil for hours people, it's not like any cooties will survive!

Sue Gregg's Soaked Whole Wheat Bread

This bread is “NT-friendly” meaning that it pretty much follows the rules of Nourishing Traditions, or traditional foodism. There is no sugar (only honey) and no partially hydrogenated oil (just butter). The flour is soaked overnight to release the phytic acid. The recipe does use a little yeast, which is an NT-no-no, but the only other option is sourdough breads, and some of us are anti-sourdough. J

I always struggled with whole wheat breads because they were so heavy, and the taste was just, well, too wheat-y! I love this recipe because it makes a loaf that is light, both in flavor and texture, but it is still whole wheat! I think the secret is the soaking. In warmer climates this bread may rise faster, but in my experience it’s best to consider this a 24hour recipe: start it in the evening, let it soak overnight, and then the following morning finish the mixing, and allow the risings all day long, baking in the evening.

Makes 4 loaves

12 cups whole wheat flour
4 cups warm water
1/2 cup ACV (apple cider vinegar—plain white vinegar can be substituted in a pinch)
Mix together and then cover bowl with a damp towel and set aside to soak overnight. This will be a very thick mixture, and awkward to mix. Just go at it with a wooden spoon until it’s consistent in texture. (I also recommend getting out the butter for part C, as you will want it to be soft in the morning.)

1/2 cup very warm water
4 tsp yeast
1 tsp honey
1 tsp baking soda
In a small bowl or cup, add ingredients together in the order listed. Mix and set aside for a few minutes while you prepare part C.

2/3 cup butter (room temperature)
2/3 cup honey
1 Tbs salt
yeast mix from B
In another bowl, mix together, adding yeast mix last (make sure it has begun to bubble before adding it).

Add part C to flour mixture and mix well. I find this is nearly impossible with a spoon—just get your hands in there and goosh it around…it makes it easy to transition directly into kneading! I use an extra large bowl and knead right in the bowl. Add flour a little at a time as needed to knead the dough into a nice ball. It will probably be at least a couple of cups of flour total, depending on the humidity and such where you live. (The recipe recommends using white flour for this part, as it doesn’t have the phytic acid. It doesn’t have any other nutritional value either, but I do find white flour easier to knead with.)

Leave kneaded bread in the bowl, cover with towel, and let rise until double. (I find that in my cool climate my bread likes a couple of hours per rising.)
Punch down dough, and let rise until double again.
Divide into loaves, place in pans, cover and let rise until double.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes.


Makes about 4 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, and soda. Shape dough into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place
2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake about 8 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Soft Shortbread

Being of Scottish descent, it is more or less required of us to like shortbread...but then again, with a recipe like this, what's not to like?!
I adapted several other recipes to create this one, and I like it because it is sweet and crumbly, but doesn't completely fall apart, and doesn't get hard if it sits out overnight...honestly I don't know it might get hard if it sat out for two nights...it's never lasted that long for us!

1 1/4 c white flour (this is one of those rare recipes where I actually use plain white flour)
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c room-temperature butter (don't try to microwave it to soften it, you have to let it just sit out for a few hours so that it's an even consistency through the cube)

Mix flour and sugar together. Cut in butter until mixture is relatively even and crumbly--no large chunks. With your hands, smoosh it together into one large ball.
Pat or roll the ball on a cookie sheet so that it's about 1/2 inch thick (a little thicker is ok, but too thin will get crusty). Shape into a circle and cut wedges, or shape into a rectangle and cut blocks (I prefer to cut blocks). If you have room, use the knife to gently scoot the pieces apart from each other (they don't need much room, but will stick together if they don't have some space).
Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes.
If pieces were not separated prior to baking, re-cut with a knife while still hot.
Let cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes before attempting to eat. 10 minutes is better, but it's really hard to wait that long.

Breakfast Bars

My husband and son don't like to eat when they first get up. However, by the time they are ready to eat, it's time to head out the door to school...so there were a lot of mornings with just grabbing a piece of toast or something. I knew they needed a more solid breakfast option, because then by mid-morning they were both getting the munchies and snacking on unhealthy things, leading them to not be hungry for the good lunches I worked to make. It was a vicious cycle, and it needed to end...so I came up with these!
This recipe is vague on purpose--it is intended to be high-protein and the saturated fats and whole grains make it filling, but the specific ingredients can easily be adapted for your preferences and needs.

I don't measure anything in this recipe, and it's never quite the same twice. Amounts here are estimates, but feel free to interpret them loosely...
1 stick (1/2cup) butter (or coconut oil, or peanut butter)
2/3 cup brown sugar (or other sweetener of choice)
2ish cups rolled, cracked, or sprouted grain, or leftover hot cereal (cracked wheat, sprouted wheat, rolled oats, 10grain cereal, leftover cream of wheat, etc)
1 Tbs cinnamon (add with flour or sugar)
1-2 eggs
1 or 1 1/2 cups milk (I use powdered and add extra powder for the extra protein)
2ish cups whole wheat flour
1/2-1 cup fruit, dried fruit, or nuts (raisins, craisins, chopped apples, walnuts, etc)
1/2 cup leftover mashed potatos or potato flakes/pearls (potato gives a feeling of fullness)
optional additions: protein powder, cod liver oil, etc

In a large saucepan over med heat, melt butter and brown sugar until dissolved. Add raw grains and some liquid (to soften grains). Stir until well moistened. Add dry ingredients (and additional wet ingredients if/as needed) until the mixture is about the consistency of cookie dough.
Dump the big blob into a 9x13 pan and spread it out evenly. Bake at 300 for about 30 min, or until it turns a bit golden. It should still be soft, but not mooshy.

apple craisin oatmeal is one of my favorites
pumpkin raisin might be good! just add some canned pumpkin
raisin walnut
whatever you love best!

Mujadarrah and Masala

I got this recipe from my friend here. It's actually Arab, but when made with the spices it's very reminiscent of Indian cuisine.

It's a lot like the simple lentils that I make, only with some ethnic spices and sweet caramelized onions on top. It's the same ingredients, but it's a very different meal. We liked it!

I just wanted to add my recipe for masala (nope, you don't have to buy the fancy spices, you can use combinations of your own!

1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

Smothered Salad

Grandma calls this a 'sealed salad' because the dressing 'seals' it across the top...but I mis-heard it as smothered salad the first time, and I think that sounds more appetizing anyway.
This recipe makes a LOT of salad, so it's great for family gatherings or potlucks.

The original recipe has green pepper but no cucumber. I often adjust the veggie content according to what I have on hand, but I would avoid anything particularly crunchy like carrots. The original recipe also calls for mayonnaise and miracle whip, but I don't use miracle whip, so I use mayonnaise and ranch dressing.
1 head leaf lettuce, chopped
1 head iceburg lettuce, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
16 oz package of frozen peas
1 Tbs sugar (I suspect this is optional, although it may help prevent wilting)
1 1/2 c mayonnaise
1 1/2 c ranch dressing (or miracle whip)
Parmisan cheese--the powdered stuff works ok
6-8 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled

Mix lettuce, lettuce, pepper, onions, and peas together in a large bowl. (You may need to divide in halves and use two bowls.) Spread out in a large shallow dish if desired. Sprinkle with sugar.
In a separate bowl, mix mayo and ranch, then spread evenly over the salad, spreading to edges to 'seal' the salad. Sprinkle parmisan and bacon crumbles over the top. Cover (plastic wrap or a good lid) and let chill for 4 hours or overnight.
If I make it in a bowl, then I toss in the dressing right before serving. If I make it in a shallow dish, I serve it up as a layered salad--dipping all the way down for each serving.

Simple Lentils

This is a favorite of mine. It's very simple, pretty fast, and really really good for you. It can seem a little bland (Hubby admitted to being scared of it the first time he saw it!) but in fact it's quite filling, and reheats very well.

Rice (I use a white/brown blend, 1c boiling water to 1/3c rice, cover and simmer 20min)
Lentils (about 4cwater to 1c lentils, cover with a vent and simmer 15-25min)
Grated Cheddar Cheese
BBQ sauce or ketchup

optional additions: garlic powder, salt, onion (cooked in with rice or lentils, or sprinkled on later), tomato, or whatever else strikes your fancy.

Just layer it up, and dig in! We like LOTS of cheese.

Easter Dinner--Fish and Honey

We figured that Jesus ate fish and honey on Easter, so we did too!

Alright, so He probably didn't eat halibut, and I'm fairly sure it wasn't breaded. He certainly didn't add mashed potatoes & gravy, and I believe His honey was in the comb, not on a homemade crescent roll...but the idea was there, right?

Breaded & Baked Halibut
As the oven is pre-heating, melt about 1/4-1/2c butter in the bottom of a glass baking dish.
Rinse off the fish, or dip it in egg, butter, or milk to moisten it, then bread it in a mixture of bread crumbs, salt/other herbs & seasonings, and parmesan cheese (I use about half bread crumbs and half parmesan). Lay fish in the butter and bake at 300 for about 20-30 min, turning over halfway through.

Resurrection Rolls

We make these every Easter, and they're always a big hit.
roll dough (crescent rolls from a can work, or I make homemade...)
large marshmallows
melted butter
cinnamon sugar
1--take the marshmallow (body of Jesus) and dip it in butter (sweet oils)
2--cover it in cinnamon sugar (spices)
3--roll it up in the dough (burial cloths) Make sure you roll it securely, so that there are no little openings.
4--Put in the oven (tomb) bake according to roll directions (usually around 10-15 min).
5--When you take the rolls out of the oven, open the cloths, and you will find that 'Jesus' is gone!
(a word to the wise...be sure those rolls are WELL covering those marshmallows, or else the marshmallows will melt out all over the place, and while you'll still have empty rolls, the magic of it is sortof lost...)

Fudgy Wudgy Brownies

This recipe is listed in my from-mom cookbook as "super rich brownies."
Once you try them, you may throw out your old family recipe.
Consider yourself warned!!

*To make this recipe gluten-free, you will need to substitute the flour with a GF flour blend. I used this one plus 1 tsp xanthan gum. The texture will change a little of course, and it will need to cook for an extra 10-15 minutes. But they were still fudgy and yummy!

1 c butter (yes, that's 2 sticks-I told you this was a good recipe!)
1 1/2 cups sugar (the original recipe called for 2c, but I've been testing lowering it a little at a time, and this is where I'm at)
1/2-3/4 c baking cocoa
4 eggs
1 1/2 c flour

(I make this in a saucepan over low heat, but it can also be done in a regular mixing bowl...)
In a bowl:
Melt butter. Stir in sugar and then eggs, one at a time. Add flour and cocoa and beat until blended.
On the stovetop:
Melt butter. Stir in sugar and cocoa until well dissolved. Remove from heat. Whisk eggs in a separate bowl and add to chocolate mixture all at once. Blend well. Add flour and stir until all mixed.

The original says to use a 9x13 pan, but I find they are fudgier if I do them in an 8x8 or 6x11 pan and adjust the cooking temperature and time...so here are directions for both options.

Grease the pan well (UNLESS you do it on the stove--that releases the oils in the butter and it will be oily enough that you should grease it only lightly!)
Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake at 375 for 20-25min.
Bake in a 6x9 or 8x8 pan at 325 for about 35 min
(Either way it will still look a bit doughy--just let it sit a few minutes!)

Easy Roasted Potatoes

These are very easy to make, although you do have to pay attention to them, as they need to be stirred every 10 minutes during cooking. I like this best with red or gold potatoes, but plain old russets work fine too.
These are what we make when we want "Irish roasted potatoes" 

This batch had white potatoes, blue potatoes, and carrots

4-6 potatoes, peeled if desired (I don't peel red/gold, but I do peel russets), and cut into chunks about 1-2in across
about 1/3 c oil (veg oil or olive oil)
herbs as desired (I like the 'seafood rub' blend from costco, rosemary is popular, or try thyme, marjoram, garlic powder, and salt) (the original recipe says to use an envelope of dry onion soup mix, but I think that unprocessed herbs taste much better)

Preheat oven to 425*
The original recipe says to put the potatoes, herbs, and oil into a plastic ziplock bag and shake them to coat the potatoes, but I find that wasteful (of the plastic bag) and messy, so I just do it in the pan.
Put potato chunks into a 9x13in baking dish--glass is best. Pour oil evenly over the top, and stir until all chunks are coated. Sprinkle herbs evenly over the top, and stir again until the herbs are distributed among the potatoes.
Put in oven to bake. Every 10 minutes stir thoroughly (make sure to unstick everything from the bottom of the pan). Bake for about 40 min.

Semi-Homemade Taco Soup

Alright, so I figure this is a 'cheating' sort of recipe, because it involves almost no real cooking--just a lot of dumping and stirring. On the other hand, it is yummy, and everybody needs an easy meal sometimes, right?

Prep time--about 5 minutes.
Cooking time--oh, another 5-10 minutes...
Meat (1 lb ground beef or 1 can chicken) (optional--lentils make a nice meat substitute too)
1 med onion, chopped
2-4c broth (anything that goes with your meat choice, amount varies by how thick you like your soup!)
1 can black beans
1 can corn
1 can tomatoes (diced or stewed)
1 small can diced chilis
1 packet taco seasoning (or chili powder, salt, etc as desired)
(The soup here was made with canned chicken) --------->
If using beef, place in a large saucepan to brown. Saute onions in with the grease. If using chicken, add a Tbs of oil to saute the onions, then add the chicken second. If using lentils, cook them first. Add taco seasoning to the meat. Drain off extra grease as applicable.
Dump in all canned ingredients--do not drain. Stir a bit, then add as much broth as it takes to get the consistency you want.
Let simmer for a few minutes until warmed through.
Serve topped with grated cheddar cheese, sour cream, and/or fritos or crumbled corn chips.

Lentil soup

I have to say, in the most serious of tones

"Don't knock it till you try it!!!"

This is one of my favorite soups. I got it from America's Test Kitchen, so I've put their original recipe here, but in the blue are my 'tweaks.'

This takes about an hour to cook, but much of it is just 'let it simmer' time, so it's not actually that labor intensive.

Lentils du Puy, sometimes called French green lentils, are our first choice for this recipe, but brown, black, or regular green lentils are fine, too. I use plain old cheap brown ones and it tastes fine to me! Cooktimes are slightly shorter. Note that cooking times will vary depending on the type of lentils used. Lentils lose flavor with age, and because most packaged lentils do not have expiration dates, try to buy them from a store that specializes in natural foods and grains. Before use, rinse and then carefully sort through the lentils to remove small stones and pebbles. The soup can be made in advance. After adding the lemon juice in step 2, cool the soup to room temperature and refrigerate it in an airtight container for up to 2 days. To serve, heat it over medium-low until hot, then stir in the parsley.

3 or 4 or 5 slices bacon cut into 1/4-inch pieces cut it before you cook it!
1 onion, chopped fine (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 carrots , peeled and chopped medium (about 1 cup)
3 cloves /1 Tbs garlic , minced I do about 3Tbs. We like garlic.
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander or cilantro, or nothing (I never have coriander around)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes, or chili powder, or double the amount of paprika, or nothing at all
1 can diced tomatoes (14 1/2 ounces), drained
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 tsp dried
1 cup lentils (7 ounces), rinsed and picked over
2 teaspoon salt don't skimp--I usually cut down the salt in recipes, but ths soup needs it.
ground black pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or just a little more broth or water
4 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or good homemade bone broth that you've frozen or canned
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro leaves or not, cuz I'm just not fancy like that!

Here is my pretty picture of how I cut the bacon (with scissors, over the pan)

Fry bacon in large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until fat is rendered and bacon is crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Don't drain off that beautiful bacon fat! Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables begin to soften, about 2 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne; cook until fragrant, a
bout 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, bay leaf, and thyme; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Another pretty picture! This is usually the part where the smell makes me begin to drool. No need to resist this very natural urge! Simply try to keep said drool out of the soup, and press forward!

Stir in lentils, salt, and pepper to taste; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook until vegetables are softened and lentils have darkened, 8-10minutes.
Uncover, increase heat to high, add wine, and bring to simmer. Add chicken broth and water; bring to boil, cover partially, and reduce heat to low. Simmer until lentils are tender but still hold their shape, 30 to 35 minutes; discard bay leaf.
Puree 3 cups soup in blender until smooth (or dump into a bowl and mix with an electric mixer), then return to pot; stir in lemon juice and heat soup over medium-low until hot, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons cilantro and serve, garnishing each bowl with some of remaining cilantro.

By leaving out the bacon and using veggi broth, it would be easy to adapt this to be a vegetarian meal. Please though, use some fat in place of that bacon greast--you'll need it!

Anyberry Streusel Bars

So, this isn't my recipe...but I will give credit to the person I got it from, so I figure it's ok for me to post it here.
I have not actually tried it, but it looks positively drool-worthy!
without further ado, from DomesticGoddess
Anyberry Streusel Bars
(I suspect it would also work with other moist fruits...peaches, cherries, etc)

Pumpkin Chip Muffins

I adapted this recipe to make it a little healthier (reducing sugar and fat), and also adjusted some proportions so that it can be made with one (small) can of pumpkin (the size to make one pie).

Makes 24-30 muffins

4 eggs
1 1/2 c pumpkin (one small can)
1 1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 oil (I use olive oil, as the pumpkin flavor is strong enough to mask it)
2 3/4 c flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
about 1 c chocolate chips (the original recipe called for 2 c, but that is really overkill if you want to consider this anything but a dessert!)

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil together until smooth. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake at 400* for 16-20 min. Cool in pan 10 minutes before removing.

Cauliflower Soup

This recipe can be made with other veggies, such as Asparagus or Broccoli...but Hubby says the Norwegians usually do it with Cauliflower (and that's what we like best, although I've been known to toss a little broccoli in with it if I have extra or want to stretch the soup a bit.)

1 head of cauliflower
around 1 quart of milk
3-4 Tbs butter

Break up the cauliflower into smallish pieces (bite size). Put them in a largish saucepan with about an inch of water in the bottom, and steam them until soft.
Add the butter and let it melt in. In a small container, mix flour with cold water to create a thickener, and add that (approx 1/4- 1/3 c total). Add milk until all cauliflower is covered. Stir gently until all is well mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste (it needs a healthy dose of salt, as it is a bland soup without it--I am a very light salter, and I still use at least two teaspoons).

Swedish Meatballs

I got this recipe here, from Epicurean.com (one of my favorite sites). I had to give credit, since it's not my original recipe...but we sure love it! The recipe makes 2 9x13 pans, so there's LOTS of food. It usually lasts us two dinners plus a couple of lunches. Cook once, eat four times...I like that kind of recipe!

We have tried several swedish meatball recipes, and we like this one best because it doesn't skimp on the gravy!

4 eggs
8 slices bread, torn
2 pounds ground beef
1/3 c. finely chopped onion (don't do more or the balls will fall apart)
4 tsp. baking power
1 to 2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper

2 cans (10-3/4 oz)condensed cream of chicken soup
2 cans (10-3/4 oz)condensed cream of mushroon soup
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

In large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add bread; mix gently and let stand for 5 minutes. Add beef , onion, baking power, salt and pepper; mix well (mixture will be soft). Shape into 1-in. balls. In a large skillet, brown meatballs, a few at a time, in afew Tbs shortening or oil. Place in two ungreased 9x13 baking dishes.
In a bowl, stir soups and milk until smooth; pour over meatballs. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 1 hour.

Yeild: 8-10 servings
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