Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shonna's Granola

I have been craving homemade granola for a long time. I found a recipe and ended up tweaking it quite a bit. I make this once a week (because that's what fits into my container). I love to eat it like cereal with milk or with yogurt. Enjoy!

6 cups regular oats
1 TBSP + 1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. chopped nuts (your choice, I used mixed nuts)
1 c. raisins
1 c. coconut

1 1/3 c applesauce, unsweetened
1/2 c. honey
2 tsp. vanilla
2 TB olive oil

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (or nonstick cooking spray) and preheat oven 325.

Mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a large bowl except raisins. Put honey in medium sized microwave safe bowl for 30 seconds to liquify. Add applesauce and vanilla to warm honey and stir well. Add wet ingredients to the large bowl and stir until all dry ingredients are coated.

Pour mixture onto 2 baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake for 15 minutes; stir. Bake an additional 15-20 minutes and check again. Replace if edges haven't turned brown yet, checking every few minutes. Once edges turn golden brown, it's done. Granola firms (gets crunchy) upon cooling. Add raisins and mix well. Allow to cool on baking sheet then pour into airtight container for storage.

(This recipe is roughly derived from this recipe on Fat Girl Trapped in a Skinny Body blog)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mexican Poached Eggs in Green Chili Sauce

This is an quick, easy, and yummy dinner or breakfast.

Mexican Poached Eggs in Green Chili Salsa
   Serves 2
4 eggs
1 cup or so green chili salsa verde or Avocado Tomatillo Sauce  (Shown)
Grated or crumbled cheese- about 4 or 5 Tablespoons  (pictured is a combination of queso fresco and cheddar)
Flour tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste.

Put the salsa in a large skillet.  Put enough in that you have about 1 inch in the pan.  Heat until very hot.  Carefully break the eggs into the sauce, trying to keep the eggs from touching.  Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and cover the pan.  Cook on medium or medium low until the whites are cooked, but the yolks are still soft.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with warmed tortillas.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce

Guiltless Alfredo Sauce
2 C low-fat milk (I used 2%)
1/3 C plain yogurt
3 T flour
1/2 tsp salt (original called for 1 tsp, but I thought it was very salty)
1 T butter
3 garlic cloves, chopped (or I used a heaping 1/4 tsp garlic powder)The real cloves make it so much better.
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese


Place milk, yogurt, flour, and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth. In a non-stick sauce pan, melt butter on med-high heat and add garlic. Let the garlic saute for about 30 seconds for powder or 3 minutes for chopped cloves, you don’t want to burn it.

Then add milk mixture to the pan. Stir constantly for about 3 or 4 minutes or until it just comes to a simmer. Keep stirring and let it cook for a few minutes more. It should be much thicker now.

When it’s nice and thickened remove the pan from the heat. Add the cheese, stir it up and then cover immediately. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before using. It will continue to thicken upon standing. Also, if you have leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken almost into a solid. Just re-heat and add a little milk and it will be back to normal again.

I got the original recipe from I have made several significant changes, but prefer it this way.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hot Clam Dip in a Bread Bowl

This photo is courtesy of I found a recipe there that is very similar to this one I've made for years.   This is our Memorial Day tradition and I wanted to share the recipe with you BEFORE Memorial Day and I don't have a picture, so hopefully they won't care.  I'll replace it with one I take after I make it.
This is a yummy addition to a Memorial Day Barbecue or any old time!

Hot Clam Dip in a Bread Bowl
1 large round loaf crusty bread (French, Sourdough, Italian, Sheepherder bread, etc.)
2 8 oz. packages cream cheese
3  6 1/2 oz. can chopped or minced clams. drained, but reserve the juice
2 Tablespoons grated onion
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (more or less to taste)
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Heat oven to 250.  Prepare the bread by cutting off the top and hollowing out, leaving 1 1/2 shell.  Save the removed bread.  In a large bowl, beat cheese until smooth, then beat in about 1/4 cup of the reserved clam juice,  onion, Worcestershire, lemon juice, Tabasco and salt and sugar.  Then gently stir in the clams.  Spoon the cheese/clam mixture into the bread.  Top with the top and wrap all in aluminum foil.  Put on a baking sheet and put in the 250 oven.  Bake for about 3 hours.  The last little while, put the bread you took out to make the bowl on the baking sheet to toast it.  Before serving, remove the top and sprinkle on fresh or dried parsley.  Serve with the toasted bread.  Don't forget to eat the bowl!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Chocolate Waffles

Chocolate cake mix
oil, water, & eggs per directions on cake box
Ice cream of choice
Hot fudge or caramel

1. Mix chocolate cake mix according to directions on the box while waffle iron is heating.
2. Once the waffle iron is hot, put some chocolate cake mix in the iron and cook like a waffle.
3. Once it's done, pull it off and separate 2 sections and put a scoop of ice cream in the middle. Add some hot fudge or caramel on top of the ice cream in the middle or the top of the whole waffle (or both ;).

It's my husband's birthday and this was his cake request. So easy and oh so delicious!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Keep Hoping Sandwich

I love the book Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer.
I just reread it for the second time. The main character in the book is Hope, a teenage girl who is a waitress.  She talks about a sandwich she invented that they put on the menu at the diner where she worked.  She called it the Keep Hoping Sandwich ( word play on her name.)  Here's what she said about it in the book: "I'd invented a sandwich here when I was fifteen- the Keep Hoping.  It had layers of smoked turkey, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and chopped salad greens with red wine vinaigrette on a sourdough roll.  People ordered it like mad, too, because hope is something that everyone needs.  It was a sandwich for our time."
I wondered if the author had ever actually made the sandwich, or if it was just something she thought of in her head.  But it sounded good to me, so I gave it a try.  I couldn't find smoked turkey, so I used Roasted turkey slices from Costco.  I also substituted a sourdough roll with a pretzel roll because that's what I had.  You could use a bottle red wine vinaigrette or I've included a recipe for one here.  I googled "red wine vinaigrette," then combined recipes that came up to make one that was just delicious.

Keep Hoping Sandwich
Sourdough roll
Smoked Turkey
Sun-dried Tomatoes
Fresh Mozzarella
Chopped Salad Greens
Red Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

My Suggestions:
Maybe I didn't put on enough vinaigrette, but I thought it was too dry.  I added mayonnaise, but other ideas would be softened cream cheese, butter, or you could add more dressing or even avocado to make it more moist.
The sun-dried tomatoes were good, but I was wishing they were dried cranberries to add a bit of sweetness.  The fresh mozzarella was wonderful, and something I probably wouldn't have thought of.

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1 cup to 1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/3-1/2 cup red wine vinegar
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon honey ( I put a bit more)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional, but this helps it stay emulsified)
Crushed black pepper

Put all ingredients in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake vigorously.  If you prefer, you can put everything but the oil in a blender.  Turn on the blender and stream in the oil and blend until emulsified.

There are other sort of recipes in this book that I just may try, too.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Pantry Pick of the Month: Hershey's Chocolate Syrup- Moon Cake

This Pantry Pick of the Month series has been so fun for me.  I've loved everything I've made.  You are going to be glad you wandered onto this blog today, because this recipe is so fun.  The "cake" is essentially a huge profiterole.  This recipe is a cross between a giant cream puff or eclair and Next Best Thing to Robert Redford dessert- if you know about that old recipe.  It would be a great dessert to serve to guests because it's pretty, it's easy, and it's not too sweet.  The pantry pick (I reach in my deep pantry and pull something out, then find a new recipe to try, using that ingredient) was a bottle of Hershey's chocolate syrup.  It's certainly not the star ingredient of this dish, but adds a nice garnish.  Another great thing about this recipe is that if you have the instant pudding and cool whip (you could substitute real whipped cream, if you wish) you probably have everything you need to make it right now.

Moon Cake
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs
2 (3.4 oz) packages instant pudding ( flavor of choice)
3 cups milk
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1 (8 oz) container whipped topping, thawed
1/4 cup chocolate syrup

Preheat the oven to 400.  Lightly grease a jelly roll pan.
In a large saucepan, bring the water and butter to boil.  Remove from the heat.  Mix in the flour.  Add eggs, one a time, beating well after each egg. You can use an electric mixer, but I just do it with a wooden spoon right in the saucepan.  Spread the dough into the prepared pan.  Bake at 400 for about 20-25 minutes.  Remove and let cool completely.
In a large bowl, beat together the pudding mixes, milk and cream cheese.  When smooth, spread over the crust.  Top with the whipped topping, then drizzle with the chocolate syrup. Swirl with a knife to decorate, if you wish. Keep in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Calico Beans

1/2 lb ground beef, browned & drained
15 oz can lima or cannellini beans
15 oz can pinto beans
15 oz can corn
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup ketchup
1/2 TBSP vinegar
2 tsp prepared mustard
1 medium onion, chopped

Saute onion & ground beef together. Drain & rinse. Then add the mixture with all other ingredients in a slow cooker. Cover & cook on high for 3-4 hours. Serve with corn bread or whole wheat muffins.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Kay's Conglomerate Burgers

There used to be a restaurant in our town that had delicious gourmet foods.  Everything was homemade and so wonderful.  Time after time, though, my husband would peruse the menu and then order Mike's Conglomerate Burger.  Mike was the owner and had come up with a delicious hamburger with yummy stuff on it.  Since  my husband liked it so much, I started making it, and over the years, it has evolved into the recipe I'm giving you.  But you could put whatever you please on yours and make it your own Conglomerate Burger.

Kay's Conglomerate Burger
This will make three burgers.
3 hamburger patties
Montreal Steak Seasoning
3 slices cheddar cheese
3 buns ( I like Costco's Torta bread)
butter and garlic seasoning
1 tomato, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
About 10 button mushrooms or even better, portabellas, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped and caramelized
About 1/3 cup bacon crumbles (optional)
olive oil

Sprinkle the patties with a little Montreal Steak Seasoning.  In a skillet on medium heat,  heat some olive oil.  When hot, put the patties in and let cook a nice, long time. When side is nice and brown, turn over and cook a nice, long time.  When the burger is almost done, put a cheese slice on each pattie.  Cover with a lid and turn off the heat.  The burger is done when the cheese is melted.  While the patties are cooking, put the onions in a skillet with some oil or butter and cook on med. heat, stirring frequently until they are golden.  Add the mushrooms.   Cook until soft.  Sprinkle in the bacon crumbles and stir together.
Spread the split bread or buns with butter and garlic seasoning and broil until browned.  Layer the pattie, mushroom mixture, avocado slices and tomato slices on the warm bun. You can add mayo, lettuce pickles, ketchup, mustard, and barbecue sauce, if you choose. What's to stop you?  Like I said, make up your own Conglomerate burger!   So tasty!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Springtime Veggie Pasta

I had the most beautiful lunch today. I listened to an uplifting message (Pick any one. They are all wonderful.) while relishing in this delicious dish.
Not only is it super healthy, it is incredibly delicious. One of my new favorite ways to "get my greens!" It is fresh and perfect for a light, spring or summer time meal.
Here is how it came about. I opened my fridge to find way too many containers of left overs. The steamed broccoli and asparagus and sauteed mushrooms especially caught my eye. I recalled seeing a recipe that I wanted to try online, so I pulled it up and created this dish using that recipe as inspiration.

Steamed or sauteed vegetables of choice. (I had steamed broccoli and asparagus & some mushrooms sauteed with onions in butter. You could also do sugar snap peas, cauliflower, zucchini, yellow squash...whatever floats your boat.)
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Penne Pasta

Cook pasta until al dente. Top with veggies then splash with lemon juice and drizzle olive oil to taste. I probably used a teaspoon or two on my dish. Sprinkle Feta cheese on top. This adds a wonderful depth of flavor. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Now I realize that this recipe is super inexact which is so not me. I like exact. Here is the link to the recipe I used as inspiration. You can use it as a guide for amounts if you would like: Penne with Shrimp, Feta and Spring Vegetables by Martha Stewart. 

And remember the link at the top of the page for food for your spirit as well! The combination was just the pick me up I needed in the middle of the day.