Sunday, July 6, 2014


I spent part of my holiday weekend canning.  This weekend it was dill pickles.  I had a good bunch of dill in the garden and decided to put it to good use.  In fact I'll have to make another batch to use it all up!

The basic recipe for 4 quarts is approx:
2 quarts water
2 quarts white vinegar and
1/2 cup of salt.
Bring to a boil.

In sterilized quart mason jars place a sprig or 2 worth of dill leaves in the bottom of each jar.  Add cucumber (in favorite shape) or whole if mini pickling cucumbers.  To help prevent softening soaking whole cucumbers overnight in ice water may help. 
Add any additional flavors here.  Whole garlic cloves, mustard seed, chili flakes, chilis, and peppercorns are all favorite addins around here.

Pour brine in jars, top with a couple more dill leaves and place 2 part lids.  Then process in water bath canner for 10-15 minutes. 

Cool till sealed and tighten the lids.  Cool another few hours before storing in cool dry place.  Give them approximately 2 hours before opening to allow flavors to fully incorporate.

Friday, July 4, 2014

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Check out the Facebook page that accompanies this blog!  I'd love to see you there!

Zucchini Dessert Bread

Zucchini Dessert Bread

1 medium-large zucchini finely shredded
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil or butter (I used a combination)
1 1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 healthy pinches of salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups of AP flour
1/2 cup blueberries

 Preheat oven to 350
Prepare two loaf pans

Mix wet ingredients and incorporate flax meal, spices, and baking soda before adding flower.  Once well mixed fold in blueberries. Bake between 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Zucchini Bread

Its that time of year, zucchini over abundance is taking grocery stores and farmer's markets by storm.  At our local market they're only 50 cents each (and these suckers are huge!).  You know you gotta use them up, but what to do with them?

Well, I started testing zucchini bread.  It freezes beautifully, and will give lots of delicious breakfasts for months.  This week I tested a breakfast version, less sugar and more fiber, and a dessert version.  Both were yummy and a hit with the toddler as well as the hubby.

Zucchini Breakfast Bread

1 medium-large zucchini finely shredded
2 eggs
2/3 cup oil or butter (I used a combination)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of salt
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups of whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare two loaf pans.

Mix wet ingredients together then add in baking soda and flax meal to incorporate before adding flour.  Split batter between two loaf pans and bake between 30-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


For my son's third birthday I made him a Batman cake.  He's a tad obsessed, and while the decorations were a lot of hard work, the cake itself was easy and decadent.

This cake was mostly homemade.  I took some help from the grocery store, and purchased a cheap devil's food cake box mix.  So that's step one for this, step two is throw out the box and do something very different.  I used the cheap cheap box, I can't remember the exact ounces but it was different than the brand name ones, and this seemed to work fine, and should work well with other mixes as well.

To the dry ingredients I added one package of dark chocolate pudding mix
3/4 cup of yogurt
3 eggs (beaten)
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup of flax meal
 Incorporate well by beating on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes.

Fold in 1/2 cup of chocolate chips and then pour into your molds. 

Bake at 350 till a toothpick inserted in the center is clean.  Around 25-30 minutes. 

This cake was so fluffy and light you'll never want to use the directions on the box again!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Homemade Laundry Detergent!

When you buy detergent at the store, you're getting all kinds of chemicals, and unless you're buying powdered detergent, mostly water.  I've worked awhile on a formula that works well, and its all ratio based.  You only need 3 ingredients:  Bar soap, Borax, and Super Washing Soda (see image below).  All these ingredients are readily available and inexpensive.  Cheaper in fact than the leading commercial brands of detergent, and you get a heck of a lot more loads out of this mix!

Your ration is 1:2:2    So for every cup of grated soap, you need 2 of both the Borax and Washing Soda. 

I've found the good old food processor to be the easiest method to get the consistency you want. 

Put your soap in the processor first and grind till a pretty fine powder (this may take a few minutes, patience).  Then add in your Borax and Washing Soda, pulse till well mixed, pour into a storage container and wahla!  Laundry detergent.  For powder, as per usual, you start the water on your machine, add in approx 2-3 tablespoons of powder, then the clothes.  A little goes a long way.  I've never tested this in an HE front loader, so check your warranty information, but for the standard top loading washer, works like a dream.


I often add about a cup of baking soda to this mixture because I have a toddler boy and smelly dogs, and this provides extra deodorizing power, though the original recipe works fine for most stuff. 

The soap you use is up to you.  Traditionally something like Fels-Naptha or Ivory is used.  I prefer an organic low ingredient brand like Kiss My Face, or other natural brands.  The one in this picture is a dead sea soap, and has a beautiful vanilla almond scent.

Happy Cleaning Y'all!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Banana Bread

Yummy yummy Banana Bread.  This is a healthified version that my son and husband love.  A slice of this for breakfast is a great way to start the day, and it functions as a delicious dessert as well.

1/3 olive oil or melted butter
3-4 overripe bananas
1 egg
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
Optional mix in
1/2 cup slivered almonds (or other nut/seed) or
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven 350
Combine wet ingredients in large bowl...whisk together dry ingredients and combine into wet.  Once well mixed fold in your mix in. 

Pour into well greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or till toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool on wire rack.

I recommend doubling and making more, this will go quick and freezes beautifully.  You can alter each one with different mix ins, I've used blueberries (great success), strawberries (not as pretty but still tasty), almonds, pecans, flax seed, walnuts, etc.  I often top with either some sort of crushed nuts or a cinnamon sugar mixture to give a little bit of a crust. 

This recipe is a basic quickbread, you can switch out the banana for carrot or pumpkin or apple or zucchini (approx a cup of puree or equivalent), If using the veggies, more sugar may be needed.  For the pictured loaves of bread, I omitted sugar in the recipe as the bananas were VERY ripe, and just gave it a light cinnamon/sugar dusting on top. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Amazon Cards

I don't usually post stuff like this, but a girl's gotta try and make some cash.

I've recently started using a site where I can get Amazon gift cards for clicking on sites and completing offers, shopping, etc via instaGC!.

Feel free to join me on this internet journey!  Maybe we'll make some Christmas cash!

Happy Shopping Y'all!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Caesar Dressing

Quick, easy, and guilt-free!

Now, I don't feel much guilt about food anyway, I'm a foodie-but I do try to make things as healthy as possible.  For this recipe, there was a little mayonaise, but very little and I used an olive-oil based mayo (which is what I tend to keep around when we don't have veganaise). 

1/4 cup of low fat Mayo or Veganaise
1/2 cup of plain yogurt. 
2 tsp anchovy paste
2 tsp spicy mustard
2 -3 tbls grated Parmesean cheese
Juice from half a lemon

Freshly ground pepper

Whisk together ingredients and put on your favorite greens for a yummy salad.

For dinner tonight, I seasoned chicken breasts which were given a quick pan fry, then sliced to top a bed of romaine, carrot, and cucumber then topped with the yummy Caesar dressing.  Guiltless and DELICIOUS! 


Sunday, May 4, 2014

April Canning

Who's excited for canning season to begin!?

First round this year, salsa (got bulk Roma tomatoes and peppers from the restraunt supply store) and pickled sweet peppers. 

The peppers brining liquid:

peppercorns, mustard seed, garlic clove, red pepper flake, salt, water/vinegar

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Homemade Crackers!

These have been a huge hit...they won't be quite as crisp as store bought, but you get to control the salt, fat, and quality of ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400

I used the dough blade in my food processor to make this much easier, I imagine a stand mixer would work as well.

1-1 1/2 cup of any fine grain flour oat, AP, whole wheat, corn, etc
2-3 tbls oil 3+ tbls of water
salt and other other spices

Pulse till it comes together in a ball, add water or flour as needed to get the consistency. Roll super thin, approximately 1/8th of a inch and either cut into shapes or cook as is then break apart once baked. 

I made three varieties, one with garlic powder, onion powder and oregano, one with basil and tomato powder, and one with a splash of vanilla, sugar, and less salt (ala wheat thins).

The smaller the piece the less time it takes to bake. I baked them off in sheets and broke apart, they took about 20 minutes in this format, if you cut into shapes, they should take less time so start at about 10 minutes there. The less water/oil in the recipe the crisper a cracker you're going to get since it'll be a drier dough. Pictures to come soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Yesterday I made up a big freezer batch of cream of mushroom soup. I love using it in recipes, but I hate all the extras that come in store bought cans (BPA, a ton of salt, etc). So I made my own, turns out its not so hard. The recipe I used as a base can be found in the link above. Based on my needs I adjusted the recipe. I had recently purchased a large amount of mushrooms from a local food supplier and needed a place to use them up. This made a lot of soup, and was pretty simple to make. Using the food processor to pulse the mushrooms saved me a great deal of time as well. 4 tbls of olive oil 1 large onion, minced 4 cups of minced mushrooms 3+ tbsps of flour 4 cups of cream 4 cups of vegetable stock Saute the onion in the oil till soft, add in mushrooms and continue to cook a few minutes more adding in a pinch of salt and a couple good pinches of pepper. Sprinkle flour and adjust amount as necessary to get a wet sand consistency (a roux). Slowly add in warmed liquids whisking as you go to prevent lumping. Serve as is, or simmer till soup is reduced by one-third to one -half for storage. This recipe calls for very little salt (good for those who are monitoring intake). If you intend to eat it as a soup, additional seasoning is required, since I plan on using this in recipes that will be seasoned themselves, it would only be excessive to add more than a pinch of salt. I then placed reduced soup into 8 half pint mason jars and freezing them, as well as a small container in the fridge for immediate use. Whenever freezing in glass remember that liquids expand and to leave sufficient head-space. This can be used in place of canned condensed cream of mushroom soup in your favorite casserole, and I intend to use it in a chicken pot pie casserole this week!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Tonight’s dinner was quick, simple, and absolutely delicious!
3 Cheese Tortellini in a tomato bacon sauce with sweet peas. 1 package of your favorite tortellini from the freezer aisle 1 small can of crushed tomatoes (I used Muir Glen so I know its BPA free!) 2-4 Cloves of garlic 1/2 lb of bacon medium dice (I like an all natural, uncured bacon) Pancetta would also be perfect here 1 small onion or a couple of shallots Favorite Italian herb blend Frozen peas Crisp up your bacon in a skillet, drain off most of your fat. Add in your onion and garlic, saute till translucent. Add in tomatoes, favorite spices, like oregano, basil, thyme, chili flake (to taste) (you prob won't need much or any salt with thanks to the bacon). Cook off your tortellini and drain then add to your sauce. Toss in your frozen peas and serve. Garnish with fresh torn basil. This dish would also do very well with spinach ribbons in place of the peas, or with a cheese and spinach tortellini. Keeping quick ingredients like tortellini and canned tomatoes on hand helps you make dinner in a snap!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


Have you ever tried making butter? Does it remind you of times of old and endless churning? Well, its easier than you think. If you've got a food processor you're already halfway there! Just add a couple of cups of whipping cream to the food processor and leave it for a few minutes. In light of the growing evidence that fat is not in fact a leading cause of heart disease, that hydrogenated oils (i.e Margarine) are slowly killing us and are more dangerous than butter, perhaps its time to stock that freezer! Take a carton of whipping cream and set in the food processor and let it go at a low to moderate speed until it separates. You'll have solid fat (the butter) and a liquid (buttermilk). Strain well, reserving the liquid, and rinse, then pat dry. Once strained and dried store in the fridge or freezer like you would regular butter. You may need to use it more quickly, so freeze anything you won't use up in a week or two. An additional benefit, is this is unsalted, making it easier to manipulate for recipes as you want. The buttermilk can be stored in the fridge for a couple weeks as well. Use it in your favorite biscuit recipe, when making tortillas, pancakes or waffles.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fruit Leather! Who doesn't love fruit leather (or the common fruit flavored commercially available snack)? This recipe takes awhile, but it is delicious, and significantly more filling (i.e real fruit), and less chemical filled than any commercial snack even if they claim its made from fruit flavors. I made a large batch starting with 8 cups of fruit, bc I had a bunch of strawberries to use up, but the recipe can easily be halved. The process Im giving isn't exactly what I did, but more what I think would work better than the recipe I recieved. I started with 8 cups of washed hulled strawberries (or whatever fruit you have on hand-just no pits or stems) and puree in a blender/food processor In a saucepan pour in puree and add approx 4 tablespoons of sugar and 4 teaspoons of lemon juice. Taste your fruit here, something like ripe bananas wouldn't need the sugar, and many apples won't require quite as much. These were very early for berries and are quite tart. the lemon juice helps prevent oxidation and brightens your fruits natural flavors and sugars. Simmer mixture till reduced by at least half and rather thick and spreadable (this step consentrates flavor and reduces a lot of the moisture before the oven drying process) . Spread mixture evenly about a 18-1/4 inch thick onto parchment lined sheetpans Dry in a 150 degree oven for 3+ hours. You know the fruit is dry when the surface is no longer tacky. Cool completely and tear or slice the fruit leather. This will keep for quite sometime in the fridge, assuming it lasts that long. My toddler had this devoured in a couple of days!

Monday, March 31, 2014

After streamlining a few things, I've finally come back to my blog. Here I hope to keep up with foodie postings a bit better. I've redesigned a few things, and hope you enjoy the new layout. I do aim to please some of the time ;) and would like to know what YOU want to see here. Any recipe requests? Got a recipe you can't figure out how to get it to work, or a technique you'd like help with, let me know in the comments or over on my facebook page and I'll do my best to answer in a post.
Homemade tortillas and the taco filling, turns out it IS a 30 minute meal! Tortillas: 2 cups of flour (AP or whole wheat) 2 tsp of salt 2 tablespoons of solid fat (lard is traditional, but I've also used butter, coconut oil would work as well) 3/4 cup of warm liquid (milk, whey, water) incorporate salt into flour, then cut in your fat, add milk and knea on floured surface till comes together relatively smooth form a ball and rest 10-20 mins (this is when I prepped and started my filling on the stove) preheat a griddle or dry cast iron skillet pull several bouncy ball size rounds and roll each very thin, they'll puff on the heated surface cook on the griddle till puffed, and flip to brown both sides keep warm and serve with your favorite Mexican/texmex dish