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 Allrecipes.com - 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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Spinchetta

Yes, I seriously made up the name by myself.  Don't you love it?  Okay, don't laugh.  However, after I tell you how to make it, you'll be giggling all the way to the kitchen.  I created this recipe out of desperation the other night.  I had to leave the house and start dinner at the same time (I wasn't going to be back for about 2 hours).  So, instead of creating a duplicator (like Calvin) I invented this dish on the spot.  I'm a genius.  I hope you like it as much as my family did.

1/2 a bag of frozen spinach
1 jar of Trader Joe's Bruchetta
~1 lb of frozen boneless chicken breasts
1 box of farfalle noodles
garlic olive oil (optional)

Set oven to 325 degrees

In a 2 quart lidded casserole dish layer the spinach, chicken breasts, and jar of bruchetta.  Put the lid on the dish and slide into the oven.  It doesn't have to be preheated.  This will cook for about one and a half hours.  HOWEVER, if your chicken breasts are dethawed it will take 30-45 min.  IF you decide to use dethawed chicken I suggest adding about 1/4 cup of water to the casserole dish before putting it in the oven.  When there's about 20 min left on the timer set your water to boil, cook your farfalle noodles as directed and after they've drained drizzle garlic olive oil over them.  Remove your casserole dish from the oven when the timer goes off, check that your chicken has reached the almost done point.  Shred the chicken (which will be tender and moist) and serve over your noodles.  Serve with a side of fresh baked bread!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Indian Chicken Curry

I'm not dead!  Things have just been crazy with school and some work and a new allergy.  Who would have thought that one more would turn life upside down.  We're now avoiding all dairy.  I'm waiting for another shoe to drop.  Seriously.  However, in the middle of all of this I've gotten pretty creative with coconut milk, almond milk, and cultured (not)milk.  It's exciting, and always a cooking adventure where I live.  Which is why I decided to make this Chicken Curry recipe.  It turned out SO good that I want to share it!  This was modified from allrecipes.com.

·      3 tablespoons olive oil
·      1 small onion, chopped
·      1 teaspoon crushed garlic
·      ¼ cup curry powder
·      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·      1 teaspoon chili powder
·      1 bay leaf (MAGICAL)
·      1/2 teaspoon ginger
·      1/2 teaspoon white sugar
·      1 teaspoon salt
·      2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into bite-size pieces
·      1 tablespoon tomato paste
·      1 cup plain coconut yogurt
·      3/4 cup almond or coconut milk
·      1 tablespoon lemon juice
·      Plain couscous for 4-6. 

Cut your chicken into bite size pieces.  I advise mixing together the curry powder, cinnamon, chili powder, bay leaf, ginger, sugar, and salt in a small bowl.  It just makes that step much easier.
1.      Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until lightly browned (this takes about ten minutes – be patient you want the onions really nice and sweet). Stir in the bowl that contains your garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, paprika, bay leaf, ginger, sugar and salt. Continue stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken pieces and stir well.  Then add tomato paste, coconut yogurt, and milk substitute. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes.
2.      Start boiling the water for your couscous, and follow the directions.
3.      Remove bay leaf, and stir in lemon juice. Simmer 5 more minutes.
4.      Serve curry on top of couscous.  This dish had a side of black lentils at our house! Enjoy!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Hostess(tm) Cake Balls

Let's be honest.  I love things that are tasty.  I love to eat.  It's amazing I'm not a billion pounds heavier than I actually am.  This recipe for cake balls came up on my feed on Facebook one evening, and I *had* to make them.  It literally was a driving force that came over me.  I was not going to sleep knowing that these existed in the universe.  Now, I had to make them so that the husband could eat them, but if you're inclined to the less than homemade or you don't have any psychotic allergies that you're worried about, I suggest trying hers.  However, I was told that mine were amazing.  And, even after my husband almost sent himself into a sugar coma eating these bad boys, he still ate more as the days passed.  That's dedication right there.  WARNING #1: You are going to use a LOT of butter. WARNING #2:  There are quite a few steps here, I recommend reading through the whole thing to get an idea of what you're doing first.  WARNING #3: Don't forget to pick up a bag of Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips for the last step.

The cake recipe comes from my standard Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook, and if it looks familiar, yes it was used here.

Cake Needs:
3/4 cup of butter
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose whole wheat white flour
1 cup Pastry Flour (Arrowhead Mills)
2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (Arrowhead Mills)
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup milk

Cake Prep:
Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
Lightly grease 1 9x13 cake pan with butter (not the butter that's sitting out)
Place waxed paper in the bottom of the cake pan.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cake Make:
In medium bowl mix together all flour, gluten, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium after every addition.  After all sugar has been added scrape sides of bowl and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla, beat.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after every addition until just combined.  Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for about 20-30 seconds more.  Spread the batter into your cake pan.

Bake in oven for 45 minutes until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  

The icing recipe comes out of my Better Homes and Garden's Cookbook, it is half of a recipe.  I didn't modify it.  Be proud.  Half of this goes in your cake balls, half of it is used for decoration.

Icing Needs:
4 oz organic valley cream cheese 
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar

Icing Prep:
Set out cream cheese and butter to soften.

Icing Make:  Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 1 cup of powdered sugar beating well.  Gradually beat in additional 2 cups powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.

CAKE BALLS:  Cut the center of your cake out after it has cooled leaving the "crispy edges" behind and put in a medium sized bowl.  Add 1/2 of your cream cheese icing and mix well using your hands.  *You will have extremely sticky hands*  Use a cookie scoop or your hands to make the balls.  They should be no larger than a standard truffle.  Think bite size.  I made these with an ice cream scoop, and they were WAY too much for any normal person to handle.  The cake balls will be formed and placed on a cookie sheet prelined with wax paper.  While making your cake balls remember to push a hole in them on one side.  There has to be a place for the cream filling to go!  Save about 2 cake balls worth of your icing/cake mixture in the bottom of your bowl (to cover the holes later) and put the cake balls into the freezer.  Now you get to make your cream filling!  This is the cream filling that the blogger who came up with these fantastic treats came up with, obviously I substituted where the shortening is involved.  This is also not the cream filling I used.  I wasn't totally sold on my cream filling, and I figured this one was probably better.  Seriously, marshmallow creme, nom.

Cream Filling Needs :  
       2 tsp very hot water, not boiling
       1/4 tsp salt
       1 jar (6 oz) marshmallow creme (Jetpuffed)
       1/2 cup coconut oil
       1/3 cup powdered sugar
       1/2 tsp vanilla

Cream Filling Make:
Dissolve salt into hot water and set aside to cool. Whip marshmallow creme, coconut oil, powdered sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add water/salt mixture to marshmallow mixture once cool and whip well. 

Back to Cake Balls:  Remove your chilled cake balls from the freezer.  This cream is going to go inside your fantastic little chilly balls.  I recommend using a ziplock bag with the corner cut off.  I'm all for reduce and reuse, but you will never reuse something with marshmallow fluff.  It just won't happen.  

Now, after your cake balls have all been filled, remember that extra cake mix from earlier?  No, you weren't supposed to eat it.  Press it into nice little flat circles and cover the open end of your cake balls.  This just keeps getting better doesn't it.  Now, back into the freezer these go.  While they're in the freezer, you should consider recouping your kitchen or something.  Give it a good once over, because you're halfway through.  Then get out your bag of Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Chocolate Pieces and melt it gently in the microwave.  Ie, put in a glass bowl large enough to hold all the chocolates, and yet small enough that you can dunk the balls.  Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, microwave for 20 seconds, stir, microwave for 20 seconds, stir and DONE!

Take your cake balls out of the freezer and you are ready to dip them!  I was awful at this part.  I had chocolate everywhere.  I hope you're better at this than I was.  Place the cake ball in the melted chocolate and roll them around, use a fork and flip them over.  Then use that same fork (maybe two) to remove that ball from the chocolate.  Place back in spot on wax paper covered cookie sheet.  Repeat.  Put these back in the freezer while you prep your fancy smancy cake decorating bag with the rest of the cream cheese icing from earlier.  I recommend using a nice bag for this part.  You can decorate these puppies as if they were really Hostess (tm) or you could have fun with them.  Either way, it's up to you.  

Can you believe I stayed up way past midnight doing this one night?  I can't.  I hope you enjoy. 

Beef with Broccoli and Asparagus

I am a bad blogger.  Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way, we can get on with the recipe.  This was a happy little number I *gasp* modified from cooks.com.  Turned out amazing.  I added asparagus in order to make it stretch a little further and the flavors ended up complimenting one another. Who knew?

Needs:  2 tsp. not soy sauce
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 lb. boneless sirloin
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. not soy sauce
1 tbsp. med. dry wine
1/4 c. water
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. sunflower seed butter mixed with 1 tsp canola oil
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp. ginger
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. dried hot red pepper flakes
12 oz frozen broccoli florets
12 oz frozen asparagus tops

Begin cooking brown or white rice to accompany this dish.
Begin to thaw frozen broccoli and asparagus
Slice your sirloin into ¼ inch thick slices and marinate it in 2 tsp not soy sauce, ¼ tsp sugar, and ¼ tsp salt for 20 min. 
In another small bowl dissolve the 1 tbsp cornstarch into the 1 tbsp not soy sauce, add 1 tbsp wine, ¼ cup water, 1 tsp sugar and sunflower butter-canola oil mixture (This is your “sauce”). 

Put 3 tablespoons oil in stir fry pan or wok, add ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and meat.  Cook on medium-high heat.  Once meat is almost cooked, remove from pan into clean dish.  Add broccoli and asparagus to wok and cook to desired tenderness.  Add the cooked beef back to the wok and cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add your prepared sauce from earlier and simmer for 5 minutes. Serve hot over rice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Amazingly cute headbands!

A friend of mine on FB linked this adorable headband tutorial, so I thought I'd share.  I love wearing headbands.  LOVE them.  But what happens when I go to the store goes something like this, "Oh, this one is cute, hmmm, maybe, erm, snakeprint, WHY, I like this one! Twenty dollars, never mind, I think I can MAKE THESE..." And I have made a couple out of ribbon and elastic, but I like the fabric idea because it opens up SO MANY possibilities.  I'll post pictures once I get them cut and sewn.  Until then, enjoy her pics.

Notes postfact:  I made these with no interfacing and they came out great.  I also used a scant 1/4 inch seam because I wanted them a little wider.  The girls are thrilled with them, and I used size medium.  The safety pin trick is awesome.  Duel sided headbands were an amazing idea it's like a twofer!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Coffee Icing

So I should totally cheat and SAY that I posted this the day after I posted the cake.  But that would be lying.  Yes, and that would be naughty.  SO, here's the coffee icing to compliment this cake, happy nomming!  I actually modified this recipe from food.com - I know I thought I'd surprise you a little there.

1/2 cup softened butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbs cooled coffee (or milk)
3 tsp Starbucks Iced VIA Coffee granules

To explain, I always have a smidge of coffee left over from the morning run.  This is perfect for making this icing, if you have no coffee lying about milk will do as well. Also, the iced VIA granules make a very smooth, tasty, icing because they disappear into the mixture so it's not grainy.  I recommend starting with 2 tsp of the granules then adding an additional teaspoon if you like it a little more coffee flavored.  I love coffee.  Obviously.

Dissolve VIA in your cooled coffee or milk.

Mix butter and vanilla together until creamy.  Add powdered sugar and mix well on medium speed.  Add coffee mixture to mixing bowl.  Beat on high until light and fluffy.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Kahlua Chocolate Cake

My Mom-in-law requested I get her this recipe a LONG time ago.  And I'm just now getting it up.  I promise it's amazing.  In fact, I promise you will never eat another plain chocolate cake, if you love Kahlua.  If you don't, well that's your problem.  I modified (do I even have to SAY this anymore) this recipe from a standard chocolate cake recipe in my better homes and gardens cookbook.

3/4 cup of butter
3 eggs
1 cup all purpose whole wheat white flour
1 cup Pastry Flour (Arrowhead Mills)
2 tsp Vital Wheat Gluten (Arrowhead Mills)
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1/2 cup Kahlua

Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes
Lightly grease 2 round (8" or 9") cake pans with butter (not the butter that's sitting out)
Place waxed paper in the bottom of the cake pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In medium bowl mix together all flour, gluten, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
In large pyrex measuring cup (liquid) mix together milk and Kahlua.

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with electric mixer on high for 30 seconds.  Add sugar, a 1/4 cup at a time, beating on medium after every addition.  After all sugar has been added scrape sides of bowl and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition.  Add vanilla, beat.

Alternate adding the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the butter mixture, beating on low speed after every addition until just combined.  Once everything has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat for about 20-30 seconds more.  Spread the batter evenly into your cake pans.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes for until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean.  Cool in pans for 10 minutes, remove from pans.  I use the Pampered Chef Skinny Scraper to make sure that the edges don't stick when I remove the cake from the pans.  Peel off the wax paper.  Cool on racks.  Oh, you're so close to tasty goodness.  I'll post my icing recipe later.  It's a chocolate coffee icing.  Let the suspense build!

Sensational Stroganoff

This (gently modified) recipe comes via the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook.  I give it a massively easy, and sensationally tasty five stars.  No one will ever want to eat hamburger helper again in your house.  I doubled it to feed our crew easily, so don't be fooled it does serve what it says.

1/2 lb boneless beef sirloin (I substituted for ground beef)
8 oz sour cream - Organic Valley is free of all allergens and doesn't have guar gum, a cousin to soy
2 tablespoons whole wheat white flour
1 cube of Edward and Son's Not Beef Bouillon
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups (about 1/2 large package) fresh baby bello mushrooms
1/2 onion
1 tsp - 1 1/2 tsp (taste) crushed garlic - we get ours at Trader Joe's
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 1lb package of egg noodles

Sirloin - thinly slice into small bite size pieces
Mushrooms - wash and slice
Onion - dice finely
Egg noodles - cook per package instructions

Make:  Place meat, onions, mushrooms, garlic, and butter in large skillet and cook over medium high heat until meat is done and mushrooms and onions have reached desired consistency.  If you are using sirloin and would prefer the meat to be less done, wait until the vegetables have cooked a little while before adding the meat.  While that is cooking, in a small bowl mix together sour cream, flour, bouillon, pepper, and 1/2 cup water.  Mix sour cream mixture into meat mixture and reduce heat to med low.  Stir mixture until it is thickened and bubbly, then add cooked noodles.  Serve with hot bread and green beans.  Tasty!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sewing Machine Sweater Mending Tip

Waste not, want not is a saying that someone's grandmother always said.  However, it definitely has merit.  Again, I hate throwing anything away.  There's something inside of me that screams, "BUT YOU COULD DO SOMETHING WITH THAT." Sometimes I force the little voice to shut it.  Other times, I listen, and then I have something available when I need it.

I'll be honest, I love my cardigans.  I have one in black, oatmeal, purple, navy, grey, ... and I'm in the market for a yellow, red, or green one.  They're not cheap items, and rarely do you find them at GoodWill, but sometimes you do.  It saddens me when they get a small hole in them, but with a little sewing machine magic and a cut up old t-shirt, I have a cardigan that looks new again.

Prep: Go to your local fabric store and match your cardigan to the thread they have there.  More often than not, they don't mind if you take a tail end of a thread out of the casing and make sure it matches.  At home cut a square of t-shirt material that is big enough to cover the hole on all sides from the inside, with extra on all sides.  Don't forget to wind your bobbin with the same color!

Let's do it: Place the t-shirt fabric on the inside of the sweater, set your satin stitch  to where it will cover the hole, but not much more than that.  Take great care to only sew the spot that needs mending.  After, cut the t-shirt fabric down making sure not to cut your newly mended sweater.  Whew, a few dollars and a little effort just saved your sweater.  It's worth it.

NOTE:  Old t-shirts make excellent reusable tissues.  Place 2 same side squares right side to right side and stitch with 1/4 inch seam almost all the way around.  Leave enough open to turn the square "right side out" turn in the unfinished edge and seam.  Easy, and a great way to not throw something into a landfill.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Apple Quesadillas

So, I should TOTALLY have more pictures of food, because that's what will have people flocking to this site, right? I thought about this the other night as I bit into something that I went, hmm, this would make a good blog, or flog... HA!  However, that would require me to, a) have a camera ready as I put hot food on a plate, b) not be trying to manage 5 children into the intricate game of "set the table and no distractions right now please" and c) not be trying to eat the food while it's... STILL HOT.  So, I'll work on that picture bit.  Promise.

Today's food blog comes from a modified recipe from the Whole Foods website.  I made this recipe the way they called for it at first, then decided to play with it the next time.  As follows.

Need:  3 Sharp Crisp Apples (think Honeycrisp or Fuji)
           2 Tortillas per person  (we use Rotiland Uncooked Roti-Tortilla because they are spms free)
                   *These are purchased at our local CostCo
           1/2 lb Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese
           1 lime
           Sea Salt (I'll rant about this at a later date, read the ingredient list on your standard salt, DEXTROSE!)
           Chili Powder

Prep:  Slice the apples into extremely thin slices, put them into a bowl and squeeze 1/2 a lime over them, then season with 2:1 parts chili powder and sea salt.  I like mine to be very covered and use about a tablespoon of chili powder and 1/2 tbs salt.  1/2 tablespoon chili powder and 3/4 tsp salt is probably sufficient.  Grate your cheddar cheese and (mostly) precook your tortillas on a medium heat griddle ~325.

Now:  Layer the quesadillas on the griddle with a tortilla, cheese, apple slices from edge to edge, more cheese, and another tortilla.  Cook them slowly, and once the cheese begins to melt on the top side, flip them and cook until the cheese is nice and gooey.  Serve piping hot with a side of sour cream and salsa (if wanted), and ENJOY!  This is a flavor sensation that is an experience that you've probably not had before.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Almost as Easy as Hamburger Helper

So the other night I didn't want to throw something together from scratch.  Then all of a sudden this brilliant idea hit me!  Archer Farms (Target) has this amazing rice packet that is soy, peanut, sesame, and malt free.  I could, with a little ingenuity, turn that into a *gasp* easy dinner.  Again, you're lucky I'm in a sharing mood, cause sometimes there are secrets you have to keep to yourself.  I served it with a side of vegetable tortilla chips.  The kids ate this meal like it was manna from Heaven.

Needs:  1 pkg Archer Farms Cilantro Lime Rice
             3/4 lb of chicken
             1 can dark red kidney beans (drained and well rinsed)
             1 tbs olive oil
             1/2 tbs crushed garlic
             colby jack cheese, to grate (to taste)

Prep:  Cube your chicken.  Rinse your beans.

Step 1:  Begin to cook your chicken in the olive oil and garlic in a medium saucepan.  Once the chicken is cooked on the outside, but still pink on the inside, add the kidney beans, and  follow the instructions on the rice packet making sure to omit the oil.

Step 2:  While the rice mixture is still warm, put on plates and grate cheese on top.  Serve with a side of veggie or corn tortilla chips.  Quick, tasty, who could ask for more??

Tasty Sweet Pepper Dish

I promise I'm trying to update on a semi-regular basis.  Sometimes it feels like I'm talking into the vast unknown of nothingness.  I'm hoping these recipes are ones that you'll use, enjoy, maybe even modify and make your own.  Feel free to comment and tell me if you tried one of the dishes I've posted, or maybe just click the little box under the blog.  I'd love to hear your opinions!

Tonight I tried something totally different, random, and EASY.  It turned out great, so I'm sharing.  Aren't you lucky?

Pork with Sweet Peppers (Feel free to substitute chicken or beef for this one)

Need:  1 lb pork (or chicken or beef)
           1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, and 1/2 orange pepper
           1 small onion
           1/2 tbs crushed garlic
           2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
           1 tsp ginger powder
           1 dash crushed red pepper flakes
           1 tsp salt (more if taste dictates)
           1 tsp pepper (more if taste dictates)
           2 tsp oregano
           1/2 cup soy sauce substitute

Prep:  Slice 1/2 red pepper, 1/2 yellow pepper, and 1/2 orange pepper into strips.  Dice a small onion into medium sized chunks, slice your meat of choice into thin strips and lightly season with salt and pepper

Step 1:  Saute your pepper strips, garlic, and onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan until the onions are translucent and the peppers are still slightly firm.  Remove from pan.

Step 2:  Add your meat to the remaining tablespoon of olive oil along with the ginger powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and oregano.

Step 3:  Once the meat is almost done, add the peppers mix back to your saucepan, and pour in your soy sauce substitute.  Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4:  Serve over rice with broccoli or asparagus as a side!  Enjoy hot!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sweet and Sour Pork

This recipe was on cooks.com and was kind of poorly arranged.  However, it made some of the BEST sweet and sour pork ever!  I can't leave any recipe alone, and there were some things we didn't have in our kitchen so I've posted this as I cooked it.  The time investment wasn't too high and it was absolutely worth it in the end!

10 oz. pork tenderloin or boneless pork chops cut into bite sized cubes
OR 10 oz. chicken tenderloins cut into bite sized cubes
1 tbsp. not soy sauce
1/2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 1/2 tbs cornstarch
Marinate pork your marinade for 15-20 minutes.  Fry in 3 tbsp of canola oil at Medium-High heat.  Drain and set aside.
3 tbsp. canola oil
1 clove garlic
1 small bamboo shoot thinly sliced (optional)
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 small onion diced
1 carrot shredded or julienned
1 1/2 cups of diced colored peppers

3/4 can of diced or cubed pineapple (drained)

Heat oil. Add garlic, onions, mushrooms, (bamboo shoots), carrots, and peppers. Stir Fry quickly at Med to Med-High heat. Add sauce (see below) and bring to a boil.

1 tbsp. ketchup
6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp.
 not soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/2 Edward & Sons Vegetable Bullion
1 cup water

Pour in a mixture of 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with ¼ cup water. Add 3 tbs white vinegar.  Add fried pork and pineapple.
Mix well.
Serve while hot.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Soy Free Soy Sauce OR Soy Sauce Substitute

It's been forever since I've posted, but I'm going to try to make a comeback.  This recipe which I've gleaned from allrecipes.com is downright amazing!  It can be used to substitute in Asian dishes or for Worcestershire sauce!  And not only is it soy, peanut, malt, sesame free, it's also vegetarian!  I (of course) modified it a little bit, but here it is:


  • 6 cubes of Edward & Sons Not Beef bouillon
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dark molasses (brown sugar can be substituted here)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 cups water


  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, stir together the bouillon, balsamic vinegar, molasses, ginger, pepper, garlic powder and water. Stirring frequently, boil gently until liquid is reduced to about 1 cup, about 15 minutes.


15 minutes is just about dead on for reduction time as long as the mixture has a constant boil.  We found that once ours cooled it seemed to separate (the bouillon has palm oil in it) but it did not effect the flavor in any way.  Happy Soy Free Cooking!