Saturday, December 8, 2012


Sorry bout the post without a recipe in it. That's what happens when you leave your computer open with littles around. We'll be making the dish this weekend, and will take pictures to accompany it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins

To be honest, I'm not a fan of pumpkin pie. Neither is Jake. And every pecan pie I've had is passable, probably because it's store bought. For us, traditional Thanksgiving desserts are kind of disappointing, so we always get a Marie Calendar's Razzleberry Pie. However, Thanksgiving calls out for pumpkin. Not wanting to buck tradition we wanted to find a way to include it and pecans in our festivities. Both flavors are combined in this flavorful and rich muffin. So much better than a pumpkin chocolate chip cookie or a pumpkin pie!

Sprinkle Some Sunshine

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins- Sprinkle Some Sunshine

1 15 ounce can 100% pumpkin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips (Guittard 63% cacao)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray or line with paper cups.

Bring pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and cloves to a simmer in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally, until puree thickens about 5 minutes. Pour into a mixing bowl & allow to cool.

In a separate bowl, mix together brown sugar and molasses (tada! dark brown sugar).

Add brown sugar mixture and oil to pumpkin mixture, and mix. Add beaten eggs, and mix until well incorporated.

In a separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture into pumpkin mixture, mix until just combined.

Stir in chocolate chips & pecans.

Using a #20 disher, distribute the batter into prepared muffin cups, so each is 2/3 full.

Bake 13-15 minutes for  regular sized muffins and about 10 minutes for mini muffins or until wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let muffins cool for 5 minutes. Remove from pan, allow muffins to cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

Yield: 20 muffins

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dried Fruit and Nut Stuffing

I love Thanksgiving! Especially the stuffing (dressing). The sage! The celery! I like dried fruit and nuts, so I came up with this recipe that uses both. My favorite combination is half raisins, half dried cranberries for the fruit, and pecans for the nuts.


  • 1 stick + 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cans (14 ounces each) chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups dried fruit, such as raisins, dried cranberries, or dried cherries, or use a mixture (chop larger fruits into small pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 pound bread, sliced, dried on the counter for a few hours and cut into small cubes
  • 1 cup chopped and toasted nuts, such as walnuts or pecans


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Saute onions and celery with kosher salt. Once onions and celery are crisp-tender and slightly browned around the edges, add sage, thyme, broth, and fruit. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, until the fruit plumps up.

Beat eggs in a large mixing bowl. Stir in bread and nuts until all the egg is absorbed. Add broth mixture and stir to combine. Put in large baking dish. Cut remaining stick of butter into small pieces and dot on top. Bake until the top is golden brown and crispy, about 40 minutes.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Nutella Brownie Bites

I remember in college some guy telling me he loved nutella on his pepperoni pizza. My enjoyment does not extend to that delicacy.

Everyday there is new Nutella recipe pin on Pinterest including this photo of a recipe, but not the link. :( I hate those kind of pins. I found on this recipe on Savory Sweet Life. These little bites are delicious. I'll save them for a special occasion, since it took about half of a 26.5 jar of Nutella for only 24 mini brownies.

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup mini muffin pan with paper or foil liners.

Put 1 cup of  Nutella and 2 eggs in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and well blended. Add 10 Tbs (1/2 c & 2 Tbs)  flour and whisk until blended.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins (about 3/4 full). I use a #60 disher.

Sprinkle with the chopped hazelnuts.

Bake until a toothpick comes out with wet, gooey crumbs, 11 to 12 minutes.
Set on a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately or cover and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Bet I could make these with peanut butter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Veggie Coconut Curry

I love curry! Although I know that most things in America called "curry" aren't really from the subcontinent, I love the flavor profile that American "curry powder" brings to any dish. Add coconut milk, and you almost feel like you're in Asia.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small/medium onion, frenched (see this old post if you're not sure what that means)
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or black)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 4 cups chopped mixed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, green beans, etc.)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk. (It could be homemade.)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it starts to shimmer, add onion and bell pepper with a pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are softened and start to brown around the edges, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, until the onions are golden brown, about 10-15 more minutes. Add garlic, ginger, pepper, curry, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and paprika, stirring to combine. Once the spices are fully mixed, stir in the veggies and coconut milk. Once the coconut milk is bubbling, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for another 10-15 minutes, until the veggies are cooked. Serve over cooked rice, couscous or quinoa (which is my favorite).

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Homemade Snacks

Hey there ladies of the Grove Third Ward! Because you asked for it, here is a list of the yummy treats that I shared at our Back to School Night, and some others.

Bugsy Bread or muffins (check out bake times here)
Fruit Roll Ups, Tri-Color or with shapes
Apple Crisps
Cowboy Cookies

And some other stuff I do that you might enjoy:
Basic Add In Granola Bars
Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lime-Cilantro Marinade

Marinades make meat much more flavorful, which makes it easier for us to eat* (as well as more enjoyable)! This is especially true of my two favorite things to grill: steak and salmon. This marinade works equally well for both of those meats, although you would marinate steak for 2-3 hours (especially thicker cuts), but salmon only needs 30-60 minutes (it's much more delicate).


  • 1/2 cup olive oil (regular, not extra-virgin)
  • juice of 4 limes
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 jalapeno chili
  • 2 cups whole cilantro (stems and leaves) loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


Peel the garlic. Cut off the stem end of the jalapeno and discard. Split the jalapeno body down its length and chop into 1-inch long pieces. Put everything in a blender and puree on medium until all the vegetables are minced and it has a uniform consistency, about 15-20 seconds. Marinate the target meat for 1-3 hours and cook as usual (I like grilling).

* It is a common misconception that a marinade "tenderizes" meat. I quote Alton Brown's seminal cooking tome, I'm Just Here for the Food:
Sure, acidic liquids can dissolve proteins and even plant cellulose, but the effect is localized to the surface of the target food...
The reason that marinades seem to tenderize has more to do with flavor than any actual textural alterations. Most marinades contain salty, sweet, acidic, and spicy components. When these compounds are drawn into meat via capillary action, they strongly season the meat. Then you cook it, slice it, and put it in your mouth. Immediately the salt and acid flavors divebomb your taste buds, which in turn tell your saliva glands to start pumping. By the time you're onto your third chew your food is thoroughly lubricated, and since saliva contains enzymes like amylase, the meat is already well on its way to becoming an easy-to-digest goo. Marinades may not actually do much in the way of tenderizing meat, but their use does help us to tenderize it.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Watermelon Limeade Slush

Happy Watermelon Day! A few years ago, we celebrated with Watermelon Salsa, yummy. Another time, we tried watermelon granita, yuck. This year, we had Watermelon Limeade Slush and Watermelon Frosty (with lime, not lemon), both yummy. I'm glad we have a few more points on the yummy side.

Watermelon Limeade Slush
4 oz lime syrup
8 oz water
10 oz frozen watermelon cubes

Blend and enjoy!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cantaloupe Smoothie

Jake scooped out a cantaloupe, but it wasn't quite right for snacking. He thought it would go great in a smoothie. If you enjoy melons, like Jake does, you'll appreciate this smoothie that I found at The Curious Country Cook. Jake and the boys thoroughly pleased with how this turned out.

Cantaloupe Smoothie
3/4 cup orange juice
1 cup peeled, seeded, chopped cantaloupe
1 tablespoon sweetener
1/2 banana
4-6 frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ice

Doubling the recipe made four 8 ounce servings.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Raspberry Mango Pineapple Smoothie

When #2 requested this mix of fruits, I had my doubts about it's tastiness, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Raspberry Mango Pineapple
1 cup apple juice
1/2 cup frozen raspberry
1/2 cup frozen mango
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
veggie boost: 3/4 cup spinach
                      1 tablespoon honey/agave, if needed

Blend and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Mango Strawberry Smoothie

This is #1 second pick for smoothies.

 Mango Strawberry Smoothie
modified from Blendtec's Fresh Blends: Go Mango Go

1 1/4 cup apple juice
1 banana
1 cup frozen mango chunks
2 frozen strawberries
veggie boost: 3/4 cup spinach
                      1 tablespoon honey/agave, if needed

Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Apple Slaw

Nothing beats slaw on a hot summer day. When most people hear "slaw," they immediately think of cabbage, but anything shredded or sliced into matchsticks can be slaw. Even though this recipe does have cabbage in it, it plays second fiddle to Granny Smith apples: crisp, crunchy, and tart. Rounding out the recipe are the supporting cast of carrots, raisins, and pecans and you have the perfect accompaniment to anything grilled or barbecued.


  • 1/2  head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
  • 1 cup golden raisins (or regular raisins, whichever you have/prefer)


Place the cabbage in a colander and toss with salt. Let the cabbage drain in the sink or over a bowl for 1-3 hours, until the cabbage has wilted. Mix together the yogurt, mayo, vinegar, sugar, black pepper, and cayenne in a small mixing bowl. Rinse, drain, and dry the cabbage and put into a large mixing bowl with the carrots, apples, pecans, and raisins. Stir in the yogurt mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Chill in fridge for at least 1 hour, or up to 4 hours before serving.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Multi Berry Smoothie

This is #1 & 2's absolute favorite smoothie.

Multi Berry Smoothie modified from Blendtec's Fresh Blends: Berried up to here1 1/2 cup apple juice
1 banana
2 cups of  Kirkland Signature Nature's Three Berries - any mix of berries will do
veggie boost: 3/4 cup spinach or one small carrot
                    1 tablespoon sweetener, if needed

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Orange Banana Avocado Smoothie

In yesterday's recipe, creamy orange avocado smoothie, I recommended using a banana instead of sugar for sweetness factor. Usually, that works. But this morning, I actually used the banana. The resulting smoothie was thick, barely sippable, and muddled. Bleh! I added more orange juice and some sugar and it was delicious again. I'll be sure to test my suggestions before recommending them.

Orange Banana Avocado Smoothie

12 -16 oz. orange juice -sorry didn't measure what I added
1 banana
1 1/2 cups spinach
4 oz. avocado
8 oz. yogurt cubes (vanilla or plain with 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon sugar

Blend and enjoy. Yields 32 oz.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Creamy Orange Avocado Smoothie

Freeze avocados
A few weeks ago, avocados were on sale. On Pinterest, I saw that you can mash and freeze avocados. I'm all for save $$ now, use later.

Following the photo, I put my avocados in the mixer, but they jumped out every time I turned it on and skittered all over the floor. In hindsight, it must have been  a hilarious sight. At the time, it was extremely frustrating. They must not have been ripe enough.

I eventually got it to work but next time, I'll use the food processor which has a lid, and will result in a smoother consistency. I scooped the mixture into an ice cube tray for easy portioning. Each cube is 1 ounce. Freeze then bag.

My blender did not not break down the avocado cubes very well. It was not tasty to get a chunk of unblended avocado in the middle of the orange creamy goodness :(

This morning, I put a few in the microwave to soften them. I didn't want to melt it into avocado goo, so I nuked it for 10 seconds at a time until it had soft but firm consistency.

Creamy Orange Avocado Smoothie
8 oz. orange juice
1 1/2 cups spinach
2-4 oz. avocado
8 oz. yogurt cubes (vanilla or plain with 2 tsp. vanilla extract)
1-2 Tbs. sugar or a banana

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

Courtesy of: SM Mall of Asia Official Facebook page

During my pregnancies, I loved going to Jamba Juice right after my doctor's visit. I craved the creamy smoothies: Chocolate Moo'd and Peanut Butter Moo'd. So I was tickled to find this recipe in the Fresh Blends Recipe Book that came with our Blendtec. Not that I'm adding to the family or anything, they are just yummy. A nice alternative to a fattening bowl of ice cream, if you will. At least, that's what I tell myself because I add spinach.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
modified from Fresh Blends Recipe Book
1/2  cup milk
1 1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon sweetener
1/2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 banana
4 oz frozen yogurt cubes (vanilla or plain w/ 1 tsp. vanilla extract)
veggie boost: 3/4 cup spinach
                    1 tablespoon sweetener, if needed
1/2 - 1 cup ice

Blend and enjoy.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Grapefruit Smoothie

Pretty in Pink Grapefruit Smoothie from Babble

I love to have a glass of grapefruit juice with my breakfast each morning. I discovered a grapefruit smoothie recipe on Pinterest. It was delicious, but way too much for just me, so I decreased the amounts a bit.

Grapefruit Smoothie modified from this recipe
8 oz grapefruit juice
1 banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup ice cubes
veggie boost: 1 small carrot, grated
                       1/2 cup strawberries

Blend and enjoy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Strawberry Banana Orange Smoothie

As long as we have owned a blender, we've made strawberry orange banana smoothies. It was our go-to smoothie, even though our blender could barely handle it. I broke it trying to expand our smoothie repertoire. When we got our blendtec, the smoothie world suddenly opened up for us, and we've been exploring it. BUt every once in a while, we come back to this reliable recipe.

Strawberry Banana Orange Smoothie

1 cup orange juice
1 banana
1 cup frozen strawberries
veggie boost: 3/4 cup spinach
                      1/2 cup ice
                      a squirt of honey/agave, if needed
Blend and enjoy!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sippin' the summer away

Since summer break began we've enjoyed a daily smoothie with our lunch. I love it! It's so cool and refreshing. I'm actually "eating" fruits; and veggies cuz I give our smoothies a veggie boost: a handful of spinach or a small carrot. We're taking baby steps to full out GREEN smoothies.

Smoothies we've made
Strawberry Orange Banana (SOB)
Chocolate Peanut Butter
Creamy Raspberry Limeade
Creamy Orange Avocado
Banana Orange Avocado

The Boys' Favorite Smoothies
Berried Up to Here
Mango Strawberry
Raspberry Mango Pineapple

Monday, July 16, 2012

Creamy Raspberry Lime Smoothie

On my way home from classes at BYU, I love stopping at Jamba Juice to pick up a Berry Lime Sublime. Anyone else remember when it was Zuka Juice? A few weeks ago, I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to duplicate it at home. I found this recipe.

I didn't have lime sherbet or raspberry juice. Lime sherbet is basically lime, sugar, and cream. I figured I could simulate that with lime syrup and frozen yogurt cubes. I used milk instead of raspberry juice to make a creamier smoothie and mellow the tartness of the lime and raspberry.  The resulting smoothie was delicious. I made it every other day at lunch, until I ran out of yogurt cubes.

This weekend Jake made yogurt. Woo hoo! I was so excited to start making this smoothie again. Slight problem, I could not remember the recipe, the quantities of each item. I'm anxious to get something posted. So here's what I had this morning. It's good but not the perfection I had before.

Creamy Raspberry Limeade II
3/4 cup water & 1/4 cup lime syrup (or limeade)
1/4 cup milk
1 banana (for sweetness)
1 cup frozen raspberries
4 oz.  frozen vanilla yogurt cubes (or plain yogurt cubes & 1 tsp. vanilla extract)

Blend and enjoy. Makes 22 oz.

Tomorrow, I'll try again for Creamy Raspberry Limeade I

Friday, July 13, 2012

Jalapeno Lime Chicken

Let's continue with our lime theme. However, we'll put the lime syrup on hold until our yogurt cubes are ready.

With jalapeno in the name you might think it would have some kick to it, but it is a very mellow flavor since the ribs and seeds are removed before dicing. The lime is the star of the show.

This recipe is pretty straightforward. Toss it together in the morning to marinade, then grill it up in the afternoon.

Jalapeno Lime Chicken
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (wear a latex glove to avoid skin irritation)
1 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast

In a small bowl, combine everything but the chicken. Place your chicken in a bag or plastic container, then add the marinade mixture and shake to evenly coat the chicken. marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.

Preheat grill to medium high. Grill chicken 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until no longer pink in the center.

Makes 4 servings. We served ours with rice and steamed broccoli and carrots

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lime Blended Float

Or a copy cat Sonic Cream Slush, if you must. I tried this recipe, but there wasn't enough liquid to blend the ice cream. Perhaps I wasn't supposed to cram my measure-all full of ice cream. Using the syrup, I'm able to control the level of lime flavor, so I added a 1/2 cup of suped up limeade (increased proportion of lime syrup to water). The extra liquid and boost in flavor created a delicious and limey concoction.

Lime Blended Float
1/2 cup lime syrup
1/2 cup water
1 cup ice cream
1/2 cup ice

Blend together until slushy. Add more limeade or ice to taste.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cherry Limeade Slush

Limes and cherries were on sale. It's kismet. A cherry limeade slush must be made. Armed with a pitter and a cookie sheet, I prepped those little orbs for frozen goodness.  I popped out the pits, lined up the cherries in neat little rows on my cookie sheet, shoved the whole thing in the freezer, then bagged it all up. Not that they are going to stay there very long.

Cherry Limeade Slush
1/2 cup lime syrup
1 1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup frozen cherries

Place in blender jar in order listed, and blend away.
Makes 3 - 8 oz servings

For the brain freeze version, add 1/2 cup ice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


Before I move on to a cherry limeade, I have to share the basic recipe, right?

ice cubes
1/4 cup lime syrup
3/4 cup cold water or sparkling water

In a 10 oz. glass, layer in the order listed above and stir.
Lemonade: Replace limes with lemon juice and lime zest.
Pink lemonade:  add 1/2 cup grenadine syrup to the jar of lemonade syrup and stir.
Strawberry lemonade:  add 2 tablespoons of puree of fresh strawberries into each glass.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Lime Syrup

On Pinterest, I found a recipe for Old Fashioned Lemonade from The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook. For this delicious lemonade, you make a lemon syrup, the add water and ice to each serving. Mmmm. . .

Limes were on sale, it's the perfect opportunity to make lime syrup. There are some many things I can do with it: Limeade (of course), Cherry Limeade Slush, Lime Blended Float, or a Creamy Raspberry Limeade Smoothie. Woo hoo!

Lime Syrup

1 ½ cups sugar
1 ½ cups water
Zest from one lime
1 ½ cups fresh lime juice

Measure the sugar and water into a sauce pan. While stirring with a wooden spoon, bring the mixture to a boil for 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Let cool slightly.

Add fresh squeezed lime juice and lime zest to the sugar syrup. Cool completely. Pour the limeade syrup into a quart jar. Cover tightly with the lid. The syrup can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 weeks. Makes 14 glasses of limeade.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Fruit Roll Ups with Shapes

Have cookie cutters. Will make shapes. At least that's what I thought I'd do. Mine were too big, so I used the boys' play dough cutters.  It was funny to hear what they thought each shape was.Trying to peel the shapes out added an extra 5 minutes to snack time. :)

Fruit Roll Ups with Shapes
25 oz apple sauce
3 oz  flavor jello

parchment paper
2 cookie sheets
spatula, an off set spatula works best for me.
small cookie cutters

Set oven to your lowest setting (mine is 170°).

Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.
 - Depending on the placement of the parchment paper, you can have a lot of short strips or a few long strips. 

Mix the two ingredients together. Pour a portion of the mixture onto one cookie sheet. Spread thinly and evenly over parchment paper. Repeat

Dry in the oven for 5-8 hours. The length of time depends on how thin the mixture was spread and the moisture content. After about 3 hours, I rotate and turn the trays.

At hour 5, it I start checking firmness and tackiness. If it is firm but sticky, leave it in and check in 30 minute increments.

When it is firm and barely sticky, use your cutters to make shapes. Press cutters firmly into the roll up.
-Leave enough space between shapes for cutting into strips. 

Pull the trays, when it is firm and smooth.
-If the middle is a little sticky, that's ok. Drying too long will make the sides brittle. 

Store in an air tight container

Servings: about 20

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Tri-Color Fruit Roll ups

To make things fun with our fruit roll ups, I'll make it with three flavors. I've also wondered if I can add little shapes that you pull out.

Tri-color fruit roll ups
45 oz apple sauce
1.5 oz jello of each flavor (blueberry, orange, raspberry)

parchment paper
2 cookie sheets
spatula, an off set spatula works best for me.
3 bowls
optional - scale, to weigh each ingredient.

Set oven to your lowest setting (mine is 170°).

Place parchment paper on cookie sheet.
- Make note of the direction the paper rolls up. I prefer it to roll along the short side (width) of the pan, so when I roll it into a tube it's the maximum length.

In each bowl, pour 15 oz. of apple sauce. Add 1.5 oz of jello into one bowl. Repeat. Mix together.

On a third of the cookie sheet, pour flavored applesauce in a long strip following the rolling direction of the
paper. Spread mixture thinly and evenly in that section. Repeat.

Dry in the oven for 5-8 hours. The length of time depends on how thin the mixture was spread and the moisture content. After about 3 hours, I rotate and turn the trays.

At hour 5, it I start checking firmness and tackiness. If it is firm but sticky, leave it in and check in 30 minute increments.
-If the middle is a little sticky, that's ok. Drying too long will make the sides brittle. 

Lift the parchment paper from the cookie sheet, and roll into a tube. With scissors, remove any uneven edges, then cut into pieces.

Store in an air tight container

You will have enough applesauce (flavored & unflavored) for two more cookie sheets. Use within a week, for another batch or to eat.
Mixing applesauce and flavors

Pouring and Spreading

Rolling Up

End Product

Monday, March 26, 2012

Fruit Roll Ups

I found a great recipe for fruit roll ups. I love it, the boys love it. It's super easy.

Fruit Roll Ups
25 oz apple sauce
3 oz  flavor jello

parchment paper
2 cookie sheets
spatula, an off set spatula works best for me.

Set oven to your lowest setting (mine is 170°).

Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.
 - Depending on the placement of the parchment paper, you can have a lot of short strips or a few long strips. 

Mix the two ingredients together. Pour a portion of the mixture onto one cookie sheet. Spread thinly and evenly over parchment paper. Repeat

Dry in the oven for 5-8 hours. The length of time depends on how thin the mixture was spread and the moisture content. After about 3 hours, I rotate and turn the trays.

At hour 5, it I start checking firmness and tackiness. If it is firm but sticky, leave it in and check in 30 minute increments.
-If the middle is a little sticky, that's ok. Drying too long will make the sides brittle. 

Lift the parchment paper from the cookie sheet, and roll into a tube. With scissors, remove any uneven edges, then cut into pieces.

Store in an air tight container

Servings: about 20

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet Potato Chips

from CHOW
Sweet Potato Chips from CHOW

1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), scrubbed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Slice the sweet potato into very thin rounds (1/16 inch thick; use a mandoline if you have one) and place in a large bowl. Add the oil, paprika, and salt and toss with your hands until thoroughly coated.

Place the slices in a single layer on 2 baking sheets—the rounds can be touching but should not overlap.

Bake one sheet at a time until the edges of the chips curl up, the centers are just golden brown, and the tops are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the chips cool until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using your hands, carefully transfer the chips to a serving dish.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Carrot Chips

Carrots are a staple in our home. I always have extras whenever I'm preparing carrots for a meal, because inevitable a little voice will ask "Can I have a carrot?" How can I say no to my child asking for a healthy snack? Let it ruin his dinner. Anyway, I thought it would be fun to make some carrot chips.

The thing I love about this recipe is that I don't have to bust out the mandoline. I can just use a vegetable peeler. Just be sure to buy thick carrots.

from CHOW
 Carrot Chips from Chow

2 large carrots (at least 1 inch in diameter), peeled
1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Basic Ranch Dressing for dipping (optional)

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds.

Holding the stem end, shave the carrots lengthwise into thin strips using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler. Place the carrot strips in a medium bowl, add the oil, salt, and pepper to taste and toss with your hands until thoroughly coated.

Place the strips in a single layer on 2 baking sheets—the strips can be touching but should not overlap. (Discard or save any remaining carrot slices for another use.)

Bake for 6 minutes, then rotate the pans between the racks. Bake until the edges of the chips are just starting to turn golden brown, about 6 to 8 minutes more.

Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let the chips cool until crisp, about 3 minutes. Using your hands, carefully transfer the chips to a serving dish and serve with ranch dressing, if desired.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Apple Chips

With the success of the potato chips, I sought out other items I could  turn into chips. These were an instant hit! Whenever, I make them the boys will ask me "Are they done yet?" or "When will the apple chips be done?" When I open the door, they crowd around enjoying the aroma, almost drooling in anticipation! They can't get enough.

The first time I made them, after 2 hours they didn't seem done. They were a little floppy so I left them in a little longer. I didn't want them to be so crisp that they would fall apart with one bite, so I pulled them out. They were still floppy, but as they cooled they hardened or crisped to perfection. I recommend pulling one out, allowing it to cool then check if you have reached your desired crispiness.

Two things to know

  • The time it takes to bake will depend on how juicy the apples are. (I use whatever I have)
  • They will harden as they cool.
From Vittles and Bits

Apple Chips modified recipe from Vittles and Bits
2 large apples, cored
canola oil spray

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

Thinly slice apples crosswise about 1/8-inch (2 mm) thick with a mandoline or sharp knife.  Arrange apple slices in a single layer on two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets, and spray with canola oil cooking spray.

Bake in the top and bottom third of the oven until apples are dry and crisp, about 2 hours. Remove from oven and let ‘chips’ cool completely before transferring to a sealed container for up to 3 days.  Makes about 2 cups of apple chips.

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips
2 T. sugar (optional)
1 t. cinnamon
Combine sugar & cinnamon. Put mixture into a sieve and sprinkle evenly over oiled apple slices.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Baked Potato Chips

photo by Ellie Miller for Martha Stewart
My kids love chips, mostly potato chips. If I want a bag that most of us can eat, I have to buy the name brand stuff. And even then #4 can't eat them and asks for our "cheeps" So I decided to make my own.

My biggest recommendation if you decide to make your own chips is to have a mandoline slicer, slicing attachment for a food processor/mixer, or even the slice side of a box grater. Sure you can practice your knife skills, if you want. But these tools will be faster and slice to a consistent thickness.

Baked Potato Chips from Martha Stewart

Canola-oil cooking spray
2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly coat 2 rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray; set aside. Put potatoes, oil, 1 tablespoon salt, and the cayenne in a large bowl; season with pepper. Toss to combine.
Arrange potato slices on prepared baking sheets, spacing them 1/4 inch apart. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until potatoes are crisp and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Spread out potatoes on parchment paper; let dry 5 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, if desired.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Basic Add In Granola Bars

We love this recipe and the variety of combinations we can enjoy. One of our favorites is cranberries and sunflower seeds. Chocolate chips and pecans. mmmm. Until I figure out what I want to substitute the corn syrup with, #4 will have to be content with Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars.

Basic Add In Granola Bars
2/3 c. oil
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. corn syrup
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. rolled oats
2 c. dried fruit, nuts, chips, coconut shreds

Preheat oven to 350. Mix oil, brown sugar, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla. Add oats then mix thoroughly to break the oats down for a smoother bar. Mix in fruits, nuts, chips, etc. . Pour into greased 9 x 13 pan. Pat down with wax paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until edges are golden.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

At some point during the school year, the boys started eating their lunch on the way to school or in the middle of the morning then would have no food left for lunch. To remedy that I started making things that could snack on mid morning: granola bars, fruit roll ups, apple chips, cheerio treats, etc. . . Anything to get energy to those hard working brains of theirs. 

from Menu Managed

My friend, Michelle, over at Menu Managed shared the recipe of these fantastic granola bars. Woo hoo! I love it and everyone can eat them, so I make these and Basic Add In Granola Bar every couple of weeks.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1/3 c. honey
1 egg
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. old fashioned oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. chocolate chips

Beat peanut butter, honey, egg, oil and vanilla until blended.
Combine oats, brown sugar and salt in a seperate bowl.
Add oat mixture to peanut butter mixture and mix well.
Stir in chips.
Batter should be sticky.

Coat a 9x13" pan with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, until edges are light brown.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Cowboy Cookies

This recipe is from Quaker Oats
Toasting the nuts and coconut really brings out the flavor and adds to the overall deliciousness of this cookie.

Cowboy Cookies modified recipe from Quaker Oats
2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
1/4  teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup apple sauce, drained
1/4  cup canola oil
1  cup firmly packed brown sugar
1  cup granulated sugar
3  medium eggs
1  teaspoon vanilla
2  cups Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 1/2  cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3  cup chopped nuts, toasted
2/3  cup shredded coconut, toasted
2/3  cup raisins

Heat oven to 350°F.
Combined flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a large bowl. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, mix apple sauce, oil,  and sugars, until well incorporated.
Add eggs and vanilla; mix well.
Gradually add flour mixture.
Add oats, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut and raisins; mix well.
Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls (or a #60 or #40 disher) onto ungreased cookie sheets; flatten slightly
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown.
Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.
Yield : about 4.5 dozen

Notes: Initially it was a really dry crumbly dough. I added an extra medium egg. Problem solved.
My reason ~ maybe when the recipe says "2 eggs" it meant large. If so, 2 medium eggs weren't going to cut it, an extra was needed. Don't know if that was the best solution, but it worked for me.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lemon Cookies

In my youth, we once had a ward luau in our backyard. As part of the menu, there was your standard luau fare: teriyaki steak, kalua pork, and chicken long rice.  And the not so standard: lemon and orange cookies, orange rolls, and mandarin orange jello. I love citrusy flavors and smells.

The cookies and rolls were so melt in your mouth delicious!! I was so glad that a handout of the recipes was provided (on bright pink and yellow paper. I can always find it in the midst of all the white printouts of recipes).

When I make these I usually go for lemon, but during the holidays I enjoy orange. Then for Chinese New Year, I'll make almond cookies. I love how easily I can change the flavoring to suit my mood or season.

Lemon Cookies recipe modified from Bonnie Workman
1/4 cup apple sauce, drained
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375.
Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Place oil, apple sauce, and sugar in a large bowl and mix.
Add egg, lemon extract and lemon zest.* Mix well.
Add flour mixture in 3 batches to the sugar mixture. Mix well after each addition. Dough will be stiff.
Use a #60 disher (or a tablespoon) to scoop the dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges.

* A variety of extracts may be used to change the flavor of this cookie.
Orange: 2 teaspoon orange extract, 1 tablespoon orange zest
Almond: 2 teaspoon almond extract, 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
Vanilla: 2 teaspoon vanilla

36-40 cookies

Monday, February 13, 2012

Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies

This recipe comes from the back of the Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Chips bag. 
 When making cookies for everyone to eat, I use dark chocolate or 60% cacoa bittersweet chocolate chips, since it has less or no milk in them. It's great for the 3A's!

Dark Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) dark chocolate Chips
1 cup chopped toasted pecan

Heat oven to 375°F.
Stir together flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
Mix applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Add eggs and vanilla, mix.
Gradually add flour mixture, beating well.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if desired.
Scoop with #60 disher (a tablespoon) or drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.
Cool completely.
About 5 dozen cookies.

It makes so much that I only bake one dozen,
 then freeze the rest.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
Place cookie dough balls close together, but not touching 

Freeze until hard. (I wait an hour).

Label a gallon sized zip top freezer bag with the recipe name, date, cooking temperature and bake time.
(I add an extra two minutes to the original bake time)
Bag cookie dough balls, and keep in freezer.

Thaw the balls, while the oven is preheating. 

The boys love coming home and having freshly baked cookies for snack time. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A journey with cookies

I love chocolate chip cookies. Since our first allergic was diagnosed, I rarely indulge in making them. It means making two batches, one from what was a short list of  3A approved cookies, and the chocolate chip cookies. So time consuming! To simplify things, I've been testing ways to make our favorite cookie recipes safe for all of us to enjoy. 

The main obstacle ~ butter/shortening. Folks use applesauce for healthier cookies, and oil can substitute butter. I figured those would be the best solution. But each came with their own issues.  

Too much oil make the cookies greasy. Too much apple sauce make the cookies poofy.  I want to stay true to the original cookie, if possible. 

With some testing, I found the right ratio of oil & applesauce to avoid the greasy problem. If a recipe calls for 1 cup of butter, I will use 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup apple sauce. 

However, the cookies were still a little too poofy and cakey. Then I thought: What if I drain it? You know, eliminate as much extra moisture as possible.

First, I dumped a bunch of apple sauce in a tea towel and squeezed the juice out. Then used the remaining sauce. It worked!!! But, I felt like I was losing too much of the apple solids in the squeezing process. 

Now, I use a fine mesh strainer to drain the apple sauce. You can also use a tea towel lined colander over a large bowl. I let it drain while I gather all the ingredients and combine the flour mixture. 

That was my "aha moment" in baking cookies for my kids with allergies! 

P.S. Jake pointed out that we have palm kernel shortening.  Uh . . . that works too :) 
I used this technique in these recipes:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Chili for a Crowd

I have posted chili recipes before, but they were for small batches to feed a single family. If you are cooking for a crowd, you need something that scales better! The recipe below can be doubled, tripled, etc. as necessary for large groups of people.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 2 cans pinto or red beans (or one of each)
  • 1 large jar pace picante sauce
  • Garlic Salt
  • Chili Powder, Cumin, Oregano, Black Pepper

Brown Ground Beef with ½ teaspoon garlic salt. Add beans and picante sauce. Add 1 teaspoon chili powder and ½ teaspoon each of cumin, oregano, and black pepper.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Paprika-Spiced Cauliflower Soup

I had a bunch of veggies that needed to be used so I looked for a recipe to combine them all and I found this, and made some alterations.


1/3 cup flour
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 tbsp. oil
1 egg

4 tbsp. oil
1 ½ tbsp. paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
6 cups chicken broth
1 small head cauliflower, large stem removed, cut into florets
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a food processor, blend together flour, salt, and 2 tbsp. oil. Add egg and blend until dough forms; refrigerate until ready to use.

Heat remaining oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add onion, carrot, celery, paprika, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock and  cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes. Add squash, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Using a ½-tsp. measuring spoon, portion out and drop all dumpling dough into simmering soup; cook, stirring occasionally, until dumplings are cooked through, about 3 minutes.

To serve, ladle soup and dumplings into 6 serving bowls.

1) #2 asked for more. Woo hoo!
2) Next time, we will double the dumplings. There just wasn't enough of those tasty little morsels. 
3) Or decrease the amount of broth. It was too brothy so we pureed it. We like thick soups.