Saturday, January 7, 2012

Pork Chops with Maple Apple Acorn Squash

I'm not going to lie.  I did not make this meal up on my own.  This was a meal that evolved because I ended up getting three acorn squash from my local CoOp.  So, I googled recipes on Acorn Squash until I found one that sounded kid friendly.  This ended up being an amazing meal.  Now, if you've never hacked your way into a winter squash, be warned.  Have a sharp knife, some upper body strength, maybe some chain mail, and 911 on speed dial for when you finally break through the other side of the gourd... through your hand.  Did this happen to me?  No, but we own Pampered Chef knives.  :D  Sorry, I digress.  I have cut and pasted the recipe from the Whole Foods website, making changes where need-be to make this allergy friendly for our home.


2 medium acorn squash (Obviously I used three)
2 cups chopped tart apple (about 2 medium) (I used 3, and the Honeycrisp variety is PERFECT)
3 tablespoons soy free margarine, melted* 
1/4 cup maple syrup* 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil* 
6 (about 1 pound) thin-sliced boneless pork chops, seasoned with salt and pepper 
1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into thin slices 
1 tablespoon chopped (or dried) thyme


Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove pulp. Place cut side down in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350°F for 35 minutes.  Combine apple, butter, maple syrup and cinnamon; fill squash with mixture. Continue baking 25 minutes or until acorn squash is tender. When the squash is almost done, heat oil in a large skillet and brown chops about 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Remove and keep warm, add onion and thyme to the pan and sauté 8 to 10 minutes until soft and golden brown. Serve over pork chops alongside stuffed squash. 

No Bake Cookies!

I saw these cookies (sorry no pic, I FORGOT) on this blog and thought, "Well, what have we here, I must make these so that we can eat them!"  I will say that they do take a bit to cool (think fridge) and that even if you eat the mixture while it's still hot you're being healthy because, hey, it's OATMEAL.  I'm going to give you my version of her recipe! Enjoy!

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
1/2 C Palm Oil Shortening (We use Spectrum brand here)
2 C Sugar
1/2 C Almond milk
4 Tbsp Cocoa
1/2 C Almond butter
3 1/2 C Quick cooking Oats
2 tsp. Vanilla

Add the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil, and boil for 1 minute. Stir in the next 3 ingredients and drop onto wax/foil paper. Let cool until set. 

T-Shirt Fabric Flower

I found this lovely little tutorial on making fabric flowers for embellishment purposes.  Needless to say, I was intruiged:  looks easy (check), something I'll use (check), AND already have the materials laying about (DOUBLE check).  So, of course, if you want direct instructions follow her link.  She has great pictures and wonderful step-by-step instructions.  However, I will offer my advice.  In order.

#1 - the first set of flowers I tried to cut out (9 at a time) didn't work.  I ended up having to scrap the WHOLE thing and was kind of mad I wasted the fabric.

#2 - the second set of flowers I made I cut them 2 at a time (fabric folded in half) and I was able to get 9 flowers out of one sleeve of an old "holey" t-shirt sz L.  OBVIOUSLY the last flower I cut when I unfolded the fabric.

#3 - I used leftover upholstery fabric instead of felt for the backside.  It holds up very well.

#4 - if you are using thinner t-shirt material you WANT to use tacky glue.  End of story.  You will cry otherwise.  Also, you can always go back and add more hot glue - a drop will do you at first.

#5 - fluffing the flower probably is the hardest step, seriously.

#6 - I'm going to attempt to put the flower I used and the circle I used up for people to download should they want.  Your call.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

An Amish Friendship Bread Adventure

I love Amish Friendship Bread.  I know, I know, when most people are running away from people who try to give away this recipe, I'm always on the lookout for someone.  Or, at least I was.  It's amazing the light I paint myself in. Pre allergies, and Post allergies.  Sometimes it's apocalyptic   SO, I miss baking the bread, and I miss sharing it with my family, because let's be honest - I bake all the bread.  I'm a little strange.  And, what I don't bake I freeze for a baking day.

I've been moved to try to make a soy free, peanut free, milk free bread and that means starting my own starter.  So, let me take you on this adventure with me.  Here's to hoping it works.

I used the Amish Friendship Bread recipe from - obviously it's modified.  Let's begin.


  • 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cups white sugar
  • 1 cups vanilla almond milk


In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Let stand 10 minutes. In a 2 quart glass or plastic container, combine 1 cup flour and 1 cup sugar. NOTE: I used a 1 quart mason jar, but I know I will be transfering it from this original container when I have to add more almond milk, flour, and sugar.  This is also an experiment, let's say that it doesn't work out, I won't have a huge container that's been taking up space on the counter for four days.  END NOTE Mix thoroughly the flour and sugar mixture and slowly stir in 1 cup vanilla almond milk Then stir in dissolved yeast mixture. Cover loosely (I'm using a blue towel, you can use a cheesecloth) and let stand until bubbly. Consider this day 1 of the 10 day cycle. Leave loosely covered at room temperature.

PS. Pictures to follow soon.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Chicken pot pie!

Something I have missed because of the lack of dairy in our lives is chicken pot pie.  I made one the other day that was truely amazing, AND the best part of all?  The crust was store bought.  Now you might be thinking, "Lame," or something similar, but when it gets right down to it, sometimes it's the little things in life.

*Crust (pack of 2): Aldi sells a frozen (this is important because the other crust has soy and milk) preshaped pie crust, Whole Foods also sells a frozen pie crust from "Wholly Wholesome" - both are very good, but let's be honest, the one from Aldi is about 1/3 of the price.  HOWEVER, if you are vegetarian, the Aldi one is NOT vegetarian
*2-3 cups chicken stock (I got mine from when I crockpotted a whole chicken earlier in the week.)
*1/2 to 1 lb of shredded chicken (Again, this was made from the leftover chicken from earlier in the week.)
NOTE: I cook a whole chicken, the family eats seasoned chicken and sides, and I then pull all the leftover meat off the bones for a second meal.
NOTE2:  This specific chicken stock had about 1 cup of sliced mushrooms, 4 stalks of diced celery, and 1/2 a coursely chopped onion - if you do *not* have those things in your stock then you will want to saute them in olive oil in the medium stockpot before adding the chicken stock.
*1/4 cup flour
*1/4 cup water
*1/2 cup almond milk (or milk substitute)
*1 bag frozen mixed vegetables (Both Target and Whole Foods have a mixed veggie option that doesn't include lima beans)
*Salt and pepper to taste

Pull your crusts to dethaw for about 15 minutes, set your oven to the specification on the package (400?), and "set" (place in the oven) your crust (even though it says you don't have to) for 5 minutes.  Divide your shredded chicken between the two crusts, set aside.  Heat your chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Mix the 1/4 cup of water with the 1/4 cup of flour,1tsp of salt, and 1 tsp pepper (salt and pepper can be adjusted depending on your tastes) in a small bowl.  Once the chicken stock is boiling add the flour mixture and stir well.  Once the flour mixture is blended add your milk substitute. NOTE3: This will be thinner than you're used to, it's okay.  Let this simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then add your bag of frozen veggies. Bring your pot back to a simmer, and divide this mixture between the two pie crusts.

BUT WAIT, you say?  You have cute little decorations on the top of yours, you say?  Well, yes, I do.  I used  the creative cutters set from The Pampered Chef.  I had some leftover dough from making a pie a few weeks previously, and so I rolled it out really thin and gave my pot pies some garnish.  You could also drop homemade biscuits in the pies OR just made them on the side.  It appears I've never posted my "Ugly biscuits" recipe.  I'll have to remedy that.  ENJOY!


Okay, let's be honest, I cook every night, and I have pictures in my phone to upload, and then life gets in the way, and it all goes downhill.  So, I'm on Fall Break right now, and I'm trying to get so much accomplished!  LOOK I'M EVEN GOING TO BLOG.  Today, I decided to make chocolates.  I have this amazing little tool to make chocolates, and these incredibly cute transfers.  The transfers are cocoa butter (no soy or dairy) and you can use enjoy life chocolate bars.  I used this link in order to temper my chocolates.  Your arm will *hurt* from all the stirring, but it's worth it.  Look at how amazingly cute my chocolates turned out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mediterranean Chicken with Pasta or as Elise said, "Chicken Bacon"

I thought last night's dinner should have won some sort of award.  It was a one dish meal, (well, I guess the noodles cooked separately) and it tasted like it came out of the back of some expensive restaurant.  Also, since a friend of mine recently told me I don't really have a food blog because I don't ever have pictures, I have a picture of the food.  NOW, I'm not saying it's a good picture, but it's a picture nonetheless.  I had the children name this last night, and had nothing really creative come out of them.  Maybe they were tired.

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
3 tablespoons garlic olive oil
2 cups sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 cup diced (red, orange, or yellow) peppers
1/2 lb diced bacon
1/2 cube Edward & Son's not Chick'n Bouillon
1 can finely diced (or crushed) tomatoes
1 cup burgundy cooking wine
~1 cup of Mediterranean Olives OR Capers
1 tablespoon of flour
1/4 cup of water
1 lb of noodles

Slice the chicken into small bite-size strips, if your mushrooms aren't presliced - slice them lengthwise, dice your pepper if it isn't prediced, slice your bacon into 1/2 inch pieces.

Begin browning the bacon in the large saucepan and start your water for boiling for noodles (two different dishes, just saying).  Once the bacon is crispy add your mushrooms, peppers, and garlic olive oil.  After the vegetables have softened some add the can of diced tomatoes, the cooking wine, olive mixture (I got mine from CostCo) OR capers, and the bouillon cube.  (I will stop here and say that my vegetables are all prediced and then frozen, so if this looks a little thin add about 2 tablespoons of water)  Let this simmer covered for about 5 or 6 minutes.  At this point it's probably time to put your noodles in your boiling water.  We went with traditional spaghetti noodles, but that doesn't stop you from using something different.  Now, back to your main dish.  Mix together the flour and water in a small bowl and stir into the bubbling mixture.  Add your chicken, stir, and cover yet again.  Your food should all be done at the same time.  Enjoy!

Ours was served with a side of piping hot bread