Thursday, November 23, 2017

How many lbs of raw potatoes for mashed potatoes?

I had to look this up. In the past, we would just cook a 10 # bag and hope it would work for our group of about 25.

Here it is - 3 computer mouse sized potatoes will feed four people (1/2 c. serving each). 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Power outage kit

As I was looking at my electric bill today, I noticed a page on being prepared for a power outage. Look here for details: 

And here's their suggested kit:

Outage Kit

  1. Matches
  2. A flashlight
  3. Extra blankets
  4. A battery-powered radio
  5. Batteries
  6. Bottled water
  7. Canned and dried foods
  8. A manual can opener
  9. A wind-up clock or battery-powered clock
  10. A telephone that doesn't depend on electricity
I'll need to check and be sure I have all of these in our 72 hour kit. 
I'm not sure about #9 & 10

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Amazing and Healthy Dark Chocolate Brownies

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies 
  • Author: 
4.8 from 5reviews


  • 2 cups zucchini, grated
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup whole spelt flour (or an additional 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips (I used a bag of Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa Chips)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8 inch square baking pan.
  2. Grate zucchini. Dump into a mesh colander and squeeze it with a towel to get rid of excess moisture. Fluff it back up with a fork.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the wet ingredients (oil, eggs, honey and vanilla). Stir in the zucchini.
  4. In a separate, smaller bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (whole wheat pastry and spelt flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon).
  5. Pour the dry mixture into the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir just until combined, and then stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Pour the batter into your prepared pan.
  7. Bake 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (mine was done baking at 30 minutes). Let cool completely

Friday, October 20, 2017

Simple shopping lists; Easy menus and no more shopping after the 15th (by me)

uy it.How do you do your shopping lists? I've found it's easiest by store. 
Sometimes I use my iphone under notes. Other times, I'm old school, like below. 
If I leave it behind on the fridge, I call my teenager or husband and have them send me
a photo of it attached to a text message. Boom, done. Not bad for someone in their 50s, right?

I put together my menus in a more simple way now too. I just do a list of all the main dishes my kids want to cook for the month. Then I put the date next to it when it's done. I make sure I have the ingredients for those meals by the 15th. 

This month, I told the family that I am not going to the grocery store again (after the 15th). I also said I have a $20 emergency fund for anything we need. But one of them has to go buy it. Guess what? It's the 20th and we're down to 1 gallon of milk. Yes - we drink about 2 gallons in 3 days around here. It'll be interesting to see if someone steps up and goes to get milk before Saturday at midnight.

Spring Cleaning tips

Quick and easy - I gotta try these. It seems like I finally get around to my Spring cleaning in October.
Oh well,....

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Friday, September 15, 2017

Fish Tacos with great sauce

I'm the first to admit, I have only had one fish taco in my life. So, I don't really know what I'm doing. But I like the way these turned out.
Here goes...

I made the sauce a few days ago. The fish steaks were thawed. And the homemade refried beans I made awhile ago and were also thawed; ready to go. The rice was leftover from another meal and the cilantro was already chopped. The cheese was also shredded and ready. All of this prep made the meal a breeze.

See below for the original recipe:

I used 3 tilapia steaks and cut the pieces so that they were half as tall; into about the size of a thumb (hopefully that's not gory). I like the fact that there's no heavy breading
I just used the marinade and cooked the fish as instructed. I didn't do the slaw.

Placing the warmed up refried beans and rice on the table with all of the cold sides, everyone made their own taco - on flour tortillas.

It was marvelous!

The fish taco sauce was really good - nothing was too spicy.
Full disclosure: I did not use capers. I know, the post says that this is the best part of the sauce, but I just didn't want the extra expense.
See below for that recipe:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Garden #2

My garden this year was hideous. I mean, like really the worst one I've had in over ten years. Not only was I gone for most of the critical planting and harvesting weeks of the spring and summer, but it was really, really, really hot! Thankfully my teenager planted peas early and they were amazing. Unfortunately the last 1/3rd were wasted because we were gone when they should've been harvested.

I bought some cantaloupe, investing in plants which were already started and planted them with a lot of hope. They're doing well so far.

Then, on Saturday, I planted again. I'm hoping that the lettuce, spinach and radishes make it. I also planted zucchini. The four 2016 seeds would've probably not been good next summer, so, why not?

Wish me luck!

27 September update:  Cantaloupe looks good! radishes and lettuce still going. Not sure the zucchini will ever make it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Apple Pie and Steel Cut Oatmeal Dessert (Crockpot)

27 September Update: I've made this three times now -usually doubling the batch because it's so good. It even freezes well! Love it.

I was looking for a dessert recipe that would use the crock pot, coconut oil and oatmeal and this popped up. I'm super excited that it uses Steel Cut Oats.

I made some variations - as I almost always do. I used 2 tsp of coconut oil and freshly grated nutmeg.

Substitutions - I warmed 2 cups of water in the microwave for 1 min and added 1 cup of dehydrated apples. This I let sit for 20 min (or til the apples are soft).

Meanwhile, I put 1 cup whole milk in the crockpot with the other ingredients. Cooked all of this on high for two hours; adding the apples once they were soft. We'll see how it does, considering you typically don't add real dairy until the last 30 min or so with a normal recipe.

See original recipe below and at  

  • 1 cup steel-cut oats*
  • 4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 T maple syrup (feel free to sub honey for vegans) - note: I don't like my oats super sweet so feel free to add more for added sweetness
  • splash of lemon juice
  1. Add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.**
  3. Give it a good stir.
  4. Top with your favourite toppings. I like peanut butter and crunchy apples.
  5. Store leftovers in fridge for up to 1 week. To reheat add a splash of almond milk and heat up in microwave.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

snacks for after school; crunchy mixes
I'll try some of these combos as soon as I go shopping next week.

Here's the very simple one I did today with a few variations...

My family recipe is called "Nuts & Bolts:"

Preheat oven to 200F-350F (100C-175C, off the top of my head)

2 cups each of the following:    USED: 3 c Toasted Wheat, 1 c Shredded Wheat
Rice Chex, Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, Plain Cheerios. (In the past I've included shredded wheat*, the little ones, as well as crispix, which is wheat+corn chex, fused into a hexagonal hybrid). Generic cereals are just fine for this application.

2 cups of pretzel sticks, broken in half or thirds. (Roughly-- the goal is to get something that won't jab you in the cheek by surprise because it's too long). I measure first, then break the pretzels.  USED: 1/2 c broken pretzels

1 can of Planter's Mixed nuts with Peanuts (or without, and then add a handful of peanuts)

1 cup or more of Sesame Sticks (originally these came in a can of Planter's snack mix, which was basically Mixed Nuts + sesame sticks...but they're my favorite part).

USED abt 1/2 of the liquid mix below - 3/4 c. butter, garlic powder, smoked paprika
Melt (microwave) a stick of butter (half a cup or about 100-115g) to liquid. Mix with a teaspoon (I heap this one) of garlic powder (don't use garlic salt-- I'm not making that mistake again) and a teaspoon of paprika (sweet is how mom made it, but I prefer smoked), and a pinch or more of cayenne, or else some hot sauce of your choice: I've used Cholula, Tapatio, Tabasco, as well as chipotle powder. Hot stuff is optional. Other stuff that would work here: a few shots of worchestershire (umami!), roasted garlic, finely chopped raw garlic, fresh ground (fine-to-medium) black pepper, but you can add that later to taste.

Mix everything so the butter mixture coats everything (stir while pouring to keep the spices suspended); I usually do this in gallon ziplock bags, whereas mom had the patience to gently stir and turn in her baking (casserole) dish. Either way, combine and get it into a casserole dish. You can do this part in batches, keeping in mind it multiplies your time. 

*If you use shredded wheat, keep it out until the butter's on everything else, then add. The fact is that you're pouring a slightly sludgy butter mixture over a pile of solids, and it starts out unevenly distributed, and shredded wheat soaks up more than its fair share at this stage.

Mom always did this at about 200F for 25-30 minutes, but I prefer closer to 300-350 for half the time. Stir/turn as possible halfway through. If doing this in batches, have a strategy to remove the first batch from your casserole (to a foil-lined sheet-pan, e.g.) to free up the dish for the next batch. Baking it is not a science, but you want to warm the butter until it's mostly absorbed, and then toast everything, basically. 

Let cool before eating-- the oilier nuts hang on to heat for a little while, so let a brazil nut be your thermomet

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mayo with Avacado oil to try

Thanks KGF!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Goal: good foil dinners with at least 8 month shelf life

Every April and October we go through our 72 hour kits and update clothing and switch out the expired food. This helps our kids remember that we're prepared for emergencies, at least.

My new goal in the next 6 months, now that they're old enough to do the switching out themselves, is to see if I can find some foil dinners which don't need refrigeration and use up my food storage that we can pack. That way if we do the idea below, we'll be ready!

Here's one great site for foil camping recipes..... but I'd have to think through how to make any but one (granola smores) last in my 72 hour kit without refrigeration.

Idea from a friend....
Grab your 72 hour kits and live on them for a last minute camping trip with the family.
Then you'll really see if you're prepared. Be sure to grab enough water, a couple of board games, the tents and sleeping bags.

We'll see if we're up to that adventure in about 15 months.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

White Chicken Chili w/ quick soak and cook methods for beans

I still has some turkey leftover from my 22 lb bird and wanted to make a favorite recipe. But alas, I hadn't soaked the beans overnight.
Never fear - there's a quick way to soak and cook beans. When I say quick, I mean 3 hours, not overnight + 5 hours.
sort and rinse 2.5 cups of white great northern beans (equivalent to 1 lb). bring 8 c of water to boil. Add beans to boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes. turn off heat, cover, add 1 tsp baking soda (you'll get the volcano effect - no worries). Set aside and soak for 1 hour.

For this recipe, I place my spices and cooked meat and most of the chicken stock (hold back 1/2 c of broth for step 2 below) in the crock pot at this point and let things blend on low. You can do this for any recipe. Just don't add veggies or dairy products this far ahead in the crock pot. You're still 2-3 hours from being done.

Back to the beans: After the hour is over, Drain and rinse thoroughly. With the beans in the pot, Cover with water, add 2T of veg oil, bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer 1-2 hours or until tender.

Once beans are tender, add to the crockpot where the meat and spices are already simmering. For this recipe- reserve 1 c of cooked beans.

White Bean Chicken Chili (makes 10 -12 servings)
(from tasteofhome slow cooker recipe book)
* 3/4 lb chicken (boneless & skinless) cubed-  cook in 2 T olive oil til no pink remains.
or 1.5 c cooked cubed meat (chicken or turkey)
1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper
1 med onion chopped (or 2T minced dried onion flakes)
1 tsp cajun seasoning
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp ground cumin
4 grated or minced garlic cloves (or 1 T garlic pwd)
2 cans (15 oz) white beans, rinsed and drained (or 1 lb cooked beans as made above).
3 c chicken broth (reserve 1/2 c of this)
6 oz shredded mozerella cheese
sour cream and minced fresh cilantro (opt.)

My tweaked recipe: Add 2.5 c. chicken broth to cooked chicken and all of the spices (using dried onion flakes + pwd garlic) in the crock pot right after you start soaking the beans (above). Put crock pot on Low. These should be cooking together for about 2 hours while the beans soak and then cook. Add soft, cooked beans (be sure to do step 2 below). Go on to step 3, but since the beans are hot and meat cooked with spices, this will only take 30 min, not 3 hours. Continue with step 4. Enjoy.

Original instructions:
1- Sprinkle raw chicken with salt and pepper. Cook chicken and fresh onions in oil 3-4 min. Add garlic, cook 1 min longer. Place in slow cooker.
2- In blender or small bowl, blend/mash 1 c cooked beans with 1/2 c broth. Add to slow cooker.
3- Cover and cook 3 hours or until chicken is tender.
4- Stir before serving. Sprinkle each serving with cheese.

Dough enhancer recipe

Homemade Dough Enhancer #1
Gluten: use ½ T. - 1 T. per cup of flour (before you measure a cup of flour put ½ T.-1 T. gluten in the bottom of your cup then measure flour as usual)
WHITE Vinegar: use the same amount of vinegar that you are using for yeast (for example 1 t. yeast - 1 t. vinegar)
Potato Flakes: use 1/8 to ¼ c. per loaf of bread you are making, experiment to see what works best in your recipe. (Do not substitute potato pearls they won’t work!)


I noticed this ingredient on a few of the recipes I haven't tried yet. Apparently it helps the bread with whole wheat perk up and be less heavy when done. I'll try these with this enhancer recipe and let you know how it goes. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Black Bean Chili - crock pot method

Apple Cinnamon Snack Mix

Apple Pie Chex™ Mix


  • 3 cups Cinnamon Chex™ cereal (or Cinnamon Toast Cruch)
  • 3 cups Rice Chex™ cereal
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (opt.)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups dried or freeze-dried apples, coarsely chopped if necessary
  • 1 cup white vanilla baking chips (6 oz) (these two are opt.)
  • 1 teaspoon shortening


  1. In large microwavable bowl, mix cereals and walnuts.
  2. In 2-cup microwavable measuring cup, microwave butter on High 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg uncovered for about 1 minute, until smooth and bubbly. Pour over cereal mixture; stir until evenly coated.
  3. Microwave uncovered on High 4 minutes, stirring after each minute. Spread on waxed paper or foil to cool. Sprinkle apples evenly over cereal mixture.
  4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave white vanilla baking chips and shortening uncovered on High about 1 minute or until chips can be stirred smooth. Drizzle over cereal mixture; let stand until set. Break into bite-size pieces. Store in airtight container.
[Note: I thought the mix was sweet enough. Drizzle not needed for my version.]


  • Recipe/Ingredient Facts: Freeze-drying is another method of dehydrating. Freeze-dried apples will be crispier and lighter because they contain less moisture than regular dried apples.
  • Techniques: For easy drizzling, spoon the melted white vanilla baking chips into a small food-storage bag. Snip off one tiny bottom corner and squeeze the melted chips over the cereal mixture.


  • Serving Size: Calories 190 (Calories from Fat 70); Total Fat 8g (Saturated Fat 4g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 5mg; Sodium 115mg; Total Carbohydrate 27g (Dietary Fiber 1g, Sugars 17g); Protein 2g
  • % Daily Value*: Vitamin A 6%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 6%; Iron 15%
  • Exchanges: 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 0 High-Fat Meat; 2 Carbohydrate Choice
  • MyPyramid Servings: 1 tsp Fats & Oils; 0 oz-eq Grains; 0 oz-eq Meat & Beans
    *% Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Makes: 24 servings

Gingersnap Muffins

Gingersnap Muffins
1 3/4 c Whole wheat flour           2 T brown sugar
   1 1/2 tsp cinnamon                    1 T baking powder
1/2 tsp each: ginger, cloves, salt                          
(alt flours: 3/4 c whole wheat flour & 1/2 c oat flour).
1- Stir together and set aside                           

         2- Mix 2 c. bran flakes (or 1 1/4 c. 100% bran cereal) and 1 1/4 c. milk.
             Let stand for 2 minutes.        
         3- Then add 1/4 c. molasses, 1 lg egg, 3 T olive oil. Combine and mix well.

4- Add to cereal mixture
5- Pour wet into dry mixes and stir until moistened
6- Fill muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake at 400 F for 18-20 min.
If using muffin cup holders, allow muffins to cool down before taking them out of their holders.
Makes 12 medium sized muffins.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Egg in a Hole

Egg in a Hole

  1. Melt the margarine or butter in a non-stick pan or griddle over medium heat
  2. Cut a 1 1/2 to 2-inch hole from the center of the bread slice; lay in the hot skillet. When the side facing down is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes, flip and crack the egg into the hole; season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the egg is cooked and mostly firm. Flip again and cook 1 minute more to assure doneness on both sides. Serve immediately.

 (taken from )

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Old Fashioned goodness: Mormon Muffins

Deep Dish Cookie Pie with Garbanzo Beans

Deep Dish Cookie Pie
·         2 cans white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (500g total, once drained)
·         1 cup quick oats (or certified-gf quick oats)
·         1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
·         3 tbsp oil (canola, veg, or coconut)
·         2 tsp pure vanilla extract
·         1/2 tsp baking soda
·         2 tsp baking powder
·         1/2 tsp salt
·         1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar (click for a Sugar-Free Deep Dish Cookie Pie)
·         1 cup chocolate chips
Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a good food processor (not a blender). Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan (I used a 10-inch springform pan, but you can use a smaller pan if you want a really deep-dish pie.) Cook at 350F for around 35-40 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. (Some commenters have had success with a blender, but I did not. Try that at your own risk, and know the results will be better in a high-quality food processor such as a Cuisinart.)
I haven’t calculated the calories for this recipe, but a few of the commenters did. According to their calculations, the pie will have around 200 calories per slice, as opposed to 700 in a slice of traditional deep-dish cookie pie.

Thanks MK!

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