Monday, November 15, 2010

Where do you buy your eggs?

As a young child, I remember my parents raising chickens. I have always wanted to raise chickens. Unfortunately, we are unable to at this time. However, we are extremely fortunate to have a family friend who raises chickens. I estimate at peak usage we use about 3 dozen eggs per week. I can only imagine that will increase during the next 6 week holiday extravaganza.

Fortunately, we receive these eggs in kind. If I were to purchase these eggs I would be spending about $15 per week on eggs alone. Thankfully, we are able to give back to our friend.

We will pass on our food scraps (fruits / vegetables / breads ) to help feed the chickens.

Typically, the shelf life of an egg is 4-5 weeks in refrigeration. This is a major benefit of having eggs delivered fresh from the coop. Store bought eggs can be almost this old at time of purchase.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Yummies!

The Autumn season is my favorite. For one reason only, the fall harvest! I have enjoyed trying out new recipes and revisiting the oldies but goodies!

Here is a bit of what we have been working on......

Jalapeno Relish........

and this......

Pineapple / Jalapeno Relish.....

Jalapenos have been on my mind since we received this from the garden....

Do you have a great Jalapeno pepper recipe to share....I know we can use it!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sweets on a hot summer day!

There are many things that I love being a part of the family at Lutherlyn! One of which working with the kitchen staff to put together a fabulous dessert buffet. Every year I challenge the staff to make the desserts for this buffet. This is not an easy challenge, since we are still preparing all the meals, snacks and extras needed for the week. Somehow, someway it gets done.....!

So, what I choose to share with you this beautiful summer evening is all about...

Chocolate Banana Trifle....

More yummy chocolate....

Something not chocolate but just as sweet....

No it is not ice cream....

But it is just as good....

Cupcake cones.... definately not ice cream but definately a joy to eat!


Friday, June 18, 2010

Provencal Stuffed Peppers

I am often on the hunt for a main meal option that is vegetarian. Whether for work or to persuade my children to continue to try and consume those yummy vegetables. This recipe probably does not go well for my children, but has a robust and hearty flavor.

Not only is this recipe easy to make, but can be made ahead to save on last minute prep time.

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 red onion, sliced
1 zucchini, quartered & diced
1-2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
1-2 garlic cloves
2 tomatoes, diced
1-2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
4 lg yellow peppers
1 cup cheddar cheese
Basil to garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 360*F
2. Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion, garlic, zucchini, and mushrooms, cook gently for 3 minutes.
3. Add the tomatoes and paste. Boil uncovered for 10-15 minutes. Sauce will thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and add the basil, salt and pepper. Set aside.
4. Cut the peppers in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and the white membrane. Blanch in a pan of hot boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain and Dry.
5. Place the peppers in a shallow pan. Fill with cooked vegetable mixture.
6. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes (If prepared ahead bake 25-30 minutes).
7. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and place back in oven to melt cheese.


Saturday, May 8, 2010


There are a few recipes / formulas that always make their way to the table at Holidays. This is one of them. This formula is great at breakfast with a hot cup of coffee.. or to snack on throughout the day. :) I will worn you now, they have an addictive quality.

Book: Family Favorites
Chapter: Bread

Anna Nelson

1 cup butter
1 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour sifted
1 cup milk warm
3/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons yeast
3 eggs beaten

1. Melt butter add warmed milk. Cool till 105*F
2. Add rest of ingredients and mix. Knead 5 minutes. Dough should be smooth and elastic. Cover gently with light towel.
3. Let dough rise until double in size.
4. Punch down. Shape into cresent type roll.
Divide dough into 3 rounds. Roll out to a circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Roll each wedge from the large to small end. Place on sheet tray.
5. Let rise till double.
6. Bake 20 minutes @ 375*F.
7. Cool. Frost with buttercream.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Orange Cookies

So, my challenge for this summer is to find formulas for cookies that offer a food memory...! This cookie may just succeed at this objective.

11 tbsp of butter, unsalted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup Freshly squeezed orange juice (2 oranges)
2 tbsp orange zest (from 2 oranges)
2 cups Whole wheat flour
2 cups white chocolate chips

Cream the butter. Add the sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Cream. Add egg. Cream until pale in color.
Add juice and zest. Add whole wheat flour. Fold in the white chocolate chips.

Place on sheet pan 2 tbsp each. Bake 12 - 16 minutes at 350*


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Double Fudge Brownies

These brownines are delicious! Enjoy the brownies today, but if you wait 24 hours.. the texture is so much better!

1 cup Unsalted Butter
2 cups packed Brown Sugar
3/4 cup Cocoa
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
4 large Eggs
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups SemiSweet Chocolate Chips

Melt the butter in a saucepan - the saucepan needs to be big enough to hold all of the ingredients.... Once melted add the brown sugar. Keep over low heat until the mixture moves freely.
Remove from heat, add cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Mix to combine. Allow mixture too cool slightly. When adding the eggs, you don't want to cook them.
Add vanilla extract and eggs (one at a time).
Add whole wheat flour and chocolate chips. Stir to combine. Do not over mix.
Place batter into a 9X13 pan, coated with pan spray.

Bake at 350*F for 20 - 25 mintues.

I have been looking for a formula that was yummy! And well I think I might have found it. After making this formula, I substituted the butter for a Vegan option and the chips for a dairy free product. The brownies were just as delicious.


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Ministry of Food! Pass It On!

Be prepared.... I might have been a little wordy tonight!

I have in the last 6 - 8 months wanted to bring more organic, whole grain, good for you foods to my table. With this task I have been researching various avenues in which folks bring quality meals to their families' table.

This week I was reading The Great American Supper Swap, by Trish Berg. Primarily, the book is focused on a supper swap among friends. I have to admit a supper swap sounds appealing. It does not work for me... at least not a regular basis. However, the point of referencing this book, is because of the authors reference to the Ministry of Food. So, what does Christianity have to do with food. Most folks may not put these two words together.

Fellowship - We are called to live our life in fellowship with one another. We unite our faith and family by praising our God. Food brings folks together in fellowship. Specifically, food brings folks to the table. Food is a gathering point!

Discipleship - Disciple one another! Teach and learn from one another. "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations" Matthew 28:19 Sharing knowledge about what we are passionate about helps others.

Servanthood - Give generously as you serve! "For even the Son of Man did not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as ransom for many." Mark 10:45

Stewardship - Give greatly to others. By preparing more foods at home from scratch, you will have more to give!

Evangelism - Share in God's love! Share the words that are spoken. "Shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life." Philippians 2:15-16

Join me in this ministry! Share in God's love... Pass it on! Passing on the flavors that you have come to know and appreciate in your family will benefit all.

When I started this blog is was to pass on what I am so passionate about. I have spent some time trying to remember who originally taught me to cook. Was it one person or a group? I can honestly say it was several people. My Aunt in the kitchen at Grammie's in Rhode Island making magic squares or my grandmother in Vermont (now in Maine) preparing an enormous Christmas dinner. The the wonderful ladies at camp. When I think about them, my eyes fill with tears and I remember the love and passion they had to prepare great food. Martha Liemer's homemade rolls..... topped with butter right out of the oven, or Beulah Byers' homemade potato soup. Beulah would not write the recipe down for her soup.... She said it was not about the recipe it was about the flavor. I stood by her side for 2 hours one summer morning just so I could meticulously write down everything she put into the pot. I still can't make it her way! Edith Puffinberger made these scrumptious cookies. The French dressing that until recently we could not duplicate. Mrs. (Blevins) Nicodemus (I think) at the Butler County Vo-tech, who said, you can do it! Because of her, I can make a mean Lemon Meringue Pie. My Pa Beach (Grandpa Johnson who lived at the beach) who created garden fresh memories each summer (4) I spent in Rhode Island. Pa told me once to go pick the tomaotes.... what he did not take into consideration was that I was about 10 yrs old. So, I literally picked all the tomatoes.... that's right the green one's to. Pa also made the best spaghetti sauce! No one could match it!

I could go on and on about my memories of folks passing on the flavors! My point in sharing these memories is that we need to create these memories with our children, friends and family. I won't say that the folks that I mentioned used all fresh products... I am sure most was not whole grain, but what I can say... they took the time to share. I am glad to be among a group of friends that are devoted to the quality of food. The time that this passion takes away from other things in our lives. Whether we work out of the home or not... there is always something else to do... We do it for our children.

I want to acknowledge the author, Trish Berg, of the book Great American Supper Swap. In referencing the Ministry of Food, I used some of her thoughts and references to share in the point.

Join me on this journey! Pass it on!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

I have been reading Jamie's Food Revolution.

In his book Jamie issues a challenge to teach others to cook. In fact, the challenge is to pass it on. Sound familiar!

Originally, I started this blog to share with others about cooking / baking from scratch. I want others to acknowledge and benefit from eating foods prepared at home, not at a plant. This does not mean that you can't consume fried foods, soda, eat out on an occasion, enjoy those salty snacks. It just means that we need to reap the rewards of taking a step back in time a hundred years and cook at home. I was food shopping today and found my cart rather empty. I didn't need to buy much. If you think about it how far does a box of Au gratin potatoes go, one meal right! Now think about a gallon of milk, a pound of cheese, and 10# of potatoes. Just the potatoes alone will feed a family of 3 for about 8-10 meals. Just a thought! I figured about 5 ozs of potatoes per person per meal.

Getting back to the book - Jamie's Pass it on movement is to motivate each of us to provide recipes, cooking tips, lessons.... to 4 people. Then those 4 people will pass it on to 4 people. Each person commiting to pass it on again, again and again.

So, today I challenge each of you to find 4 people to pass it on. Ask each person to again pass it on to another 4 people, and those 4 people to pass it on to another 4 people.

Check back soon, I will pass it on!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Last week, while I attended the Farm to Table conference in Pittsburgh, I had the opportunity to try a few fresh and appealing salads! These recipes are fom Fable Table, a catering business.

Orange~Zucchini Salad

1 large zucchini
2 sm seedless oranges or Clementine's peeled and segmented
1 sm red onion, finely diced
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley, washed and trimmed
1-2 large oranges for fresh juice & zest

1. Wash and trim zucchini, julienne into 2 inch strips. Place in large bowl.
2. Combined orange segments, onion, and parsley then place in bowl with zucchini.
3. Zest orange, then slice orange and squeeze juice onto ingredients in bowl. Gently toss.
4. Season lightly with salt & pepper, if desired.

4 servings

Corn & Tomato Salad

1 1/2 cups corn, cooked & cooled
6 ounces white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp rosemary seasoning
4 medium Roma tomatoes, cut in 1/2" slices
3 cup fresh Spinach, coarsely chopped

1. Cook corn with 1/4 of the vinegar and rosemary in microwave for 5 minutes. Cool.
2. Toss sliced tomatoes & spinach in same bowl as cooled corn.
3. Add remaining vinegar
4. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving

4 servings


Monday, March 29, 2010

Miller's Smorgasbord

I have mentioned a lot the last few days about this restaurant. While I was there I could not resist tasting several items, oh and photographing their food!

So here are a few snap shots of the food that was offered.

Carrots: Probably by far my favorite item on the menu! I love vegetables... however, carrots.. well not my favorite. These carrots were prepared perfectly. Steamed ever so gently and then drizzled with butter and parsley.

Roast Turkey with Apple Cider Glaze: This glaze really was wonderful, but the turkey was like butter in your mouth. It simply melted away! The glaze was a flavorful combination of Apple Cider and Apple Butter!

Dessert: Apple pie w/ raisins and cranberries! Very tasty!

Homemade Bread! What could be better... :)

Swedish Meatballs: Smooth and creamy, and of course YUMMY!

So, if you ever get the chance stop by this fabulous place....
Here is some general information! I know it is costly!

Full Buffet - $22.95 This includes salad bar, bread, soup, carving stations, and all hot foods.

Salad Bar / Soup - $10.95 Literally this is just the appetizer bar (minimal) salad bar (Terrific) and soup. Their seafood bisque looks marvelous.

Carving Station and hot foods - $15.95 If I were to return, this is what I would purchase. The salad bar was beautiful and extremely tasty, however, I can have a yummy salad any time! ( I may change my opinion on that if it were during harvest season.

There are coupons available. We had a coupon for $3.00 off the full buffet. Call ahead and make a reservation. Especially if you have children. The wait can be significant. I believe we waited about 25 minutes.

Children pricing - Full Buffet $10.95 unlimited. $5.95 1 trip to each section of the buffet. ( I would purchase this for my children if they were attending).

So, if you are in the area, Stop in!


Zucchini Fritters w/ Chili Jam

This has become one of my favorite recipes to make. Depending on the day, my children enjoy these fritters as well! I have baked them and fried them in a pan...Of course the baked is better for you, but fried gives them a crispier taste. Because this recipe makes enough for 12 people.. I prepare the entire recipe and then freeze the left overs.

Makes 12 servings

7 cups zucchini coarsely grated
1 1/3 cups Parmesan cheese
4 large eggs beaten
8 tablespoons flour
Vegetable oil
Olive oil as needed
4 medium onions
8 cloves garlic
2-3 chile pepper
4 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Squeeze all excess moisture out of the zucchini.
2. Combine zucchini with parmesan cheese, eggs, flour, S&P.
3. Heat oil to cover the base of a skillet. Using about 1/8 cup of fritter mixture, portion out fritters. Do not over crowd the pan.
4. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown and set.
5. Drain and keep hot until service

1. Cook onions and garliv in olive oil. Cool.
2. Transfer to the food processor. Add chilies and sugar. Blend till smooth.
3. Put in saucepan. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently until the liquid evaporates.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Farm to Table!

I spent the better part of the day at a Farm to Table conference in Pittsburgh! So much information. I gained so my knowledge! For example: I always new that Crisco is not a whole food.. Meaning it is a substitute for a whole food.. that being Butter and Lard. So, what makes this product? Cotton Seed! So, my question is why is it then called vegetable shortening! Cotton must be a vegetable, right! So, the journey continues... striving to providing whole foods which have been minimally processed! The road that I have chosen to take on the journey is to provide my children with a better understanding of food! If only we new what we know now! Sound familiar. As I continue on this journey these are some questions that I will be seeking answers to...
1. Soy... What affect does this item have on my children, particular my son who drinks soymilk and consumes soy based products as a substitute for dairy products. Is rice milk really the next best thing, or will this too lead to future medical challenging ordeals!!!
2. Is raw milk the way to go... or is buying Organic milk enough?
3. Where does my real food challenge begin and end... What items am I willing to continue to purchase already prepared... If I can make it, within a reasonable amount of time, is that the deciding factor?
4. How can I minimize the amount of time preparing food and still provide a whole food diet for my family? Is it reasonable to say that I will focus each month on preserving food, making (homemade) mixes for quicker preperation time, buying food in larger quantites and freezing what cannot be used within a reasonable time period, and develop a garden plan to better serve my family!

Lots of things to consider on this journey of food. Till another day!


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Maple Pecan Puffs

I made these puffs over the weekend! Wonderful! OH, and easy! Now, these are not for folks that have a nut or dairy allergy! (I had to make something equally as nice for Billy today, since he is allergic to these items) It was well worth it!

I like this recipe just because it does have some versatility and a minimal amount of ingredients. The versatility is that you can use spelt flour.
While I was in New York last week I was able to pick up a small amount of maple sugar! I thought of this cookie immediately. I had been wanting to try it for a long time .

8 Tbsp Butter, unsalted, at room temperature + extra for greasing the pan
2 Tbsp Maple Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Shelled Pecans, very fresh
1 Cup Sifted Whole Wheat Pastry Flour or Spelt Flour
1/4 Cup Powdered Maple Sugar or Organic-Powdered Cane Sugar

Preheat Oven 300*F

1. Cream butter. Add maple sugar and blend until creamy. Stir in vanilla and set aside
2. Grind pecans, if using a food processor - pulse the nuts a few times only - too much processing will create a nut butter.
3. Combine the flour and pecans. Add to the butter mixture. Portion dough into small balls about 1 1/2" in diameter.
4.Place dough on greased sheet pan about 3/4" apart.
5.Bake on upper rack of oven for about 20 minutes.Bake until cookies have a nice roasted smell and the bottoms are browned just lightly. ( If cookies are browning too quickly, reduce the oven temperature to 275*F)
6. While still hot, roll cookies in powdered sugar. After cooling, store in an airtight container.

Note: To make powdered maple sugar, place maple sugar in food processor or spice grinder. Sugar will not be as fine.


Friday, March 5, 2010

French Dressing!

Here it is! Over the passed couple years at work, we have working on making all of our own salad dressings. Just from the cost, it is much cheaper. But, my drive to make our own dressings, is to reduce the amount of processed foods that we pass on to our children. That is what we are doing, by purchasing these products, we are continuing the habits. Let us break the mold! I was speaking with a friend today about macaroni and cheese. Children should not believe that real macaroni and cheese comes from a box. I benefit from my career choice when it comes to food. I have chosen to provide as little processed food as possible. I will say, some days I feel like there is not an end to the dishes because of my choice! Dish pan hands here I am! I would trade the benefits of less processed foods for anything!

Back to the topic! Growing up at camp, my favorite salad dressing was French! When I returned to camp 4 years ago, I was faced with this new dressing that was purchased already prepared. It was just not the same. The following recipe has become a favorite!

Sugar 1/2 cup
Ketchup 3/4 cup
Veg Oil 1 cup
Garlic 2 cloves
White vinegar 1/2 cup
Hot sauce 1 1/2 tsp
Celery Seed 1 1/2 tsp
Chives 1 tbsp

Combine all ingredients and blend with a hand blender till smooth.


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pantry List: Baking

So, here it is.. a list of items that I always keep on hand. If you choose to fill your pantry with these items be sure to only purchase items that you will use.

Whole Wheat Flour
All-purpose Flour
Light Brown Sugar
Granulated Sugar
Powdered Sugar (I only restock during the Holidays, unless I have a special occasion)
Baking Powder
Baking Soda
Quick Oats - I use the Quick oats, mainly due to my children will not eat the others. The texture is much different when cooked for a cereal.
Corn Meal
Butter - Real Butter - I buy it on sale and place it in the freezer, Note: Butter is fresh for 1 month in the refrigerator, 3 months in the freezer. I tend to not keep it longer than 6 weeks in the freezer.
Vegetable oil
Shortening - I only use this with select recipes, my son is allergic to dairy, so butter is out.

I have several other ingredients in my pantry, but these are my basics! I tend to purchase things like chocolate chips and other baking additives when needed. This helps to keep products fresh and of great quality.


Facing the Challenge!

It is difficult today, in this world around us, to be different. Who would have thought 100 years ago, people would be saying, just buy a mix, or you can buy that already prepared! The one thing that I hope this blog does for others (and myself) is the opportunity to share recipes/ formulas which are prepared from scratch. I was talking with some friends and found it to be astonishing that they do not have basic baking ingredients in their kitchens. Really! I am working on a basic pantry list to share. What a great delight it is to challenge ourselves to make foods that are healthier and tastier for our families (and friends).

Below is a preperation list. This list is for you to use while you are in the kitchen. If you do not already prepare scratch foods at home, this list will help you in preparing your kitchen.

1. Keep a shopping list on the refrigerator or in the kitchen to compile items which need to be purchased. ~ I keep my list on the refrigerator with a pencil to help keep my pantry stocked.

2. Do you already have ingredients in your kitchen for baking? If so, check your dates / quality. I am not suggesting you go to your pantry and throw everything away, but if it has been a year since you have used your flour............???? All food items have a shelf life. Whether it is for quality or dates, foods expire.
Note: If you still have the white cans from McCormick spices / herbs in your pantry...McCormick stopped production of this container over 10 years' ago.

3. Locate a local food supply store. Challenge yourself to find a local farm market / farm to purchase several pantry items along with eggs, chicken, meats, produce. I have a few that I enjoy shopping at: Frankferd Farms (Saxonburg, PA) East End Food Coop (Pittsburgh), Butler Farm market, local Amish bulk food stores. Larger chain food stores also provide organics foods, and specialty foods.

4. Repurpose and old binder or box to make a recipe holder. I have a book that I keep recipes that I have used for years in my kitchen, in addition I have a file box for those impromptu recipes / formulas that I create. In addition, I have a software program on my computer to keep all of my recipes organized. Make sure to have paper / index cards available to write new recipes / formulas on.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Roasted Eggplant w/ Leeks and Italian Cheese over Cornbread

I recently, well within the last few years, found an appreciation for eggplant. Now, my children do not have the same appreciation, but I am working on it. Recently, I posted about having a taste for meatloaf. Meatloaf to me is comfort food. It is very filling and when cold will help to warm you up. This dish (for me) is also a comfort food. Now, I am not a vegetarian / vegan, but I prepare food for those that are. So, I try to find meal options that meet every ones needs. I look forward to preparing this recipe with the harvest in the fall. What a wonderful dish to explore the flavor of the gardens bounty.

Olive Oil
2 lg. eggplants (about 2 1/2 lbs), sliced 3/8" thick
4 lg. leeks (about 1 lb.)
4 ozs. mozzarella cheese, grated
4 ozs. provolone cheese, grated
1 recipe Moist Oatmeal Cornbread (4 pcs of the 6 pcs are needed)
1 small bunch basil, washed, stemmed, and torn into large pieces
Fresh garden tomatoes as garnish, (preferrably in season)

Preheat oven to 350*F
1. Coat 2 large baking sheets with oil. Place eggplant in single layer on the baking sheets. Brush tops with oil. Bake for 25 minutes, until bottoms are lightly browned, turn over and bake an additional 20 minutes to brown this side. Both sides of the eggplant should be lightly browned and crisp. Remove slices to a platter.
2. Wash and drain leeks thoroughly. Saute' leeks over medium heat with about 2 tbsp of oil. Cook until tender about 10-15 minutes.
3. Combine mozzarella and provolone cheeses.
4. Cut the oatmeal cornbread in half. Place each half on a baking sheet. Top the cornbread with the leeks, eggplant, cheeses. Bake for about 5 minutes. Long enough to heat through and melt the cheese.
5. Garnish with a garden fresh tomatoe slice.

2 cornbread halves / serving.

Moist Oatmeal Cornbread

1/4 cup + 2 tbsp boiling water
1 cup ground oats (use rolled oats or quick oats, place in food processor)
1/2 cup fresh / frozen corn kernels
1 1/4 cup fresh honey soymilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil + extra for greasing the pan
1/2 cup mild honey
1 egg
2 1/2 cups fine yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt

Preheat oven to 350*F

1. In small heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over ground oats and into a smooth paste. Let sit 5 minutes. Steam corn for 5 minutes, or until just tender.
2. Combine the oatmeal paste, corn, soymilk, oil, honey and eggmix until smooth.
3. Combine cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. Pour liquids into cornmeal mixture, quickly mix using just a few strokes. Pour into an oiled 9 X 13 X 1 baking pan, bake for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
4. Cook in pan before cutting.

This recipe is from Follow Your Heart Cookbook by Janice Cook Knight This book is focused on Vegetarian cuisine.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cake Mix!!!!

Finally a formula that works great! Instead of going to the food store and purchasing a box of cake mix, take a few moments and make your own. I have not yet used whole wheat flour with this formula, but I will and then let you know the changes that I made to the overall recipe. If you do not already substitute part of your all-purpose flour with whole wheat, try it. The flavor will be slightly different, but overall the product will be that much better. If your family prefers white flour to whole wheat, then try exchanging only a small portion of the white flour to start. Each time you make the formula add more whole wheat and less white flour.

Back to the cake mix. What is nice about this mix is you can make it ahead and store it up to 6 months in the freezer.

This formula makes about 24 - 30 standard cupcakes

4 1/2 cups flour

2 3/4 cup sugar

2 tbsp baking powder

1 1/2 tbsp salt

1 cup shortening

Combine first 4 ingredients (sifitng if necessary). Add the shortening and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Store mix in an air tight container. Freeze up to 6 months. Prior to using allow mixtures to come to room temperature. This can be divided into 3 parts and frozen individually. This would then accomodate for making small batches of cupcakes or a small cake.

When ready to use combine with 1 cup of milk, 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs. Mix till combine. Do not overmix, cake could be tough. If the originally recipe was divided into 3 parts, ensure you decrease the amounts of milk, eggs, and vanilla extract.

Bake at 350*F 12 - 25 minutes. Depends on whether you are making cupcakes or cakes.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cold Winter's Night!

These cold nights really drive cravings of food that is warm, filling and flavorful! I am not a huge fan of meatloaf, however tonight it really sounds good. So, (since it is 9 PM) tomorrow night my children and I will have meatloaf... with a few changes of course. A mix of beef and turkey is in order for this meal. One of my favorite toppings for meatloaf and lots of other main entrees is my grandma's chili sauce. A mixture of tomatoe, onion, green peppers, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, a bit of salt and cider vinegar! Because this sauce is basically fat free, it replaces the traditional gravy. Make a big batch of this sauce and place in jars, seal and have when ever you have that craving for a warm, filling and flavorful meal!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banana Muffins with a hint of chocolate!

So, this formula includes two favorite food items for my children; Bananas and chocolate!
(Keep in mind, its a hint of chocolate)

2 ripe Medium Bananas
2 large Eggs
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup butter (or substitute), softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup All-purpose Flour
1 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips (mini)
1/2 cup Chopped Walnuts

1. Cream butter and brown sugar. Add Bananas. Add eggs and vanilla.
2. In a seperate bowl combine flours, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix just to combine.
4. Add chocolate chips and walnuts.
5. Scoop into prepared muffin tins, bake for 10 - 12 minutes at 350*F. Let cool in pan for 5 mintues. Place on cooling rack till cool.

I used a mini muffin pan. This formula produced about 60 little muffins. Place most in the freezer for another day.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Making changes! And Oatmeal Whoopie Pies!

Over the last few days I have made several changes to the blog site! It really is a lot of fun! This blog is probably more than I ever thought it could be. Some of the changes... Mostly adding various pages to the site! Though the pages will need a lot of work in the days to come, I will enjoy it!
Last night I made oatmeal cookies. Now, originally these cookies were to end up as whoopie pies!
Once baked I felt the cookies were far to big for 4 & 5 year olds for a morning snack. So, regular cookies it was.

3/4 cup butter, softened (or butter substitute)
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp boiling water
1 large Egg white
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk ( or milk substitute)
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup butter (or butter substitute)
Preheat oven to 425*F Lightly grease a sheet pan. Ensure the oven is set at the correct temperature. I baked these at 350*F once and found that the cookies weren't as good!

1. Cream the butter, sugar, eggs together.
2. Combine the flours, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture.
3. Add the oats. Mix well.
4. Combine the baking soda and boiling water. then add it to the cookie dough.
5. Using a scoop, drop onto prepared sheet trays about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

1. Combine the egg white, vanilla, milk and 1 cup of powedered sugar. Cream well. Add the remaining 1 cup powdered sugar and butter. Beat until smooth. Using about 1 tbsp of filling, spread onto bottom of one cookie, place the second cookie on top.


Friday, February 5, 2010

Monster Cookies!

Recently, I have challenged myself to find various recipes / formulas that are good for all eaters. This is a very difficult task. So many children and now adults are finding out that they have food allergies and intolerances. Not so many years ago it was rare to know someone allergic to a food. Now, almost everyone that I know has a food allergy / intolerance. I am challenged daily in my menu planning for my son who is allergic to peanuts and dairy products. I have been able to adjust recipes / formulas to suit our needs and fulfill my need to not make two meals at every meal.
This formula suits several folks. It can be dairy, peanut, and gluten (except oatmeal) free. That is a lot to ask of a cookie. In addition, it needs to be whole grain and taste good. WOW!

1 cup butter, softened (substitue shortening or gardener's blend)
1 cup sugar, granulated
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsps baking soda
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (substitute sunflower or soy butter)
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
2 cups chocolate chips (peanut / dairy free)
2 cups candy coated chocolates (omit for peanut concerns)

1. Cream the butter and both sugars together.
2. Add 1 egg at a time, incorporate fully before adding the next.
3. Add vanilla, baking soda, and peanut butter
4. Add oats. Mix to incorporate
5. Add chocolate chips and candy coated chocolates
6. Scoop onto cookie sheet and bake @ 350*F for 10-12 minutes.
7. Let cool. Store in an air tight container.