1 09 2010

This morning it was my turn to host our quilt group.  I went a little crazy with food for brunch.  My approach to cooking for groups is it is better to have too much than too little.  I did a little experimenting plus cooked a few tried and true recipes.   Just let me say this meal was all about taste — not health!   I started with Twice Baked Potatoes (Jesse loves these, so I made enough for at least three meals) and fresh corn.

Then a vegetable tray with dip.

Croissants with cheese and parmesan spinach artichoke dip/spread from Costco.

A last-minute addition,  Brunch Egg Cups from the book Crepe Cookery (with some modifications).  If I make them again, I’ll make sure I use a crepe recipe that isn’t sweet, they went over very well anyway.

Brunch Egg Cups

Servings: 6

6 cooked crepes
3 ounces mushrooms, sliced
6 eggs
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons light cream
1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated
2 or 3 green onions, sliced

Spray muffin pans or custard cups with cooking spray. Line each with a cooked crepe. Place several mushroom slices and green onion slices in each. Break one egg into each cup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon cream over each egg; sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until eggs are set.  

For dessert we had Fruit Pizza.  I worked at Sunset Lake Camp one summer and every Sabbath we had this for dessert.  I got the recipe before I left camp, but in the 23 years since I haven’t made it.  Maybe because the recipe is a little too general.

It called for 4-5 cups flour, margarine enough to make like dough, a pinch of salt, 1 cup pecan pieces.   Cook the crust.  Topping  — whipped topping, cream cheese and about 1/2 cup powdered sugar.  Top with fruit of choice.  Keep in mind this was to make dessert for campers and staff.  I only wanted it for a small group.  I used about 2 cups of flour, approximately 1/2 cup of butter, a pinch of salt and 1/4 cup pecan pieces.  For the topping I used 8 ounces of both whipped topping and cream cheese and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.  This was more than enough topping.

 I don’t think anyone went away hungry!



Edible Centerpiece

3 06 2009

Quilter’s Anonymous met at my house today.  (It is a group of 8 quilters that meet once a month at members homes.)  I quickly volunteered for June when we were planning this years’s schedule.  School is out and it isn’t hot yet (no air conditioning.)  I’ve had ideas rolling around in my head for months.  When I saw Deb’s mother’s day gift I knew I wanted to make an edible centerpiece.  These arrangements are available here in town from Edible Arrangements, but I wanted to make my own.

I found a flower cookie cutter at Hobby Lobby, but it was too big for the pineapple.  I ended up cut one petal out of it with tin snips and Guy soldered it closed for me.  I chose too make chocolate covered strawberries.  I pretty much knew how it was done, but did an Internet search yesterday and used these directions — Yum!  I covered the strawberries last night and cut out the pineapple flowers.  I waited until this morning to put the arrangement together.  Jesse helped me by using a pencil sharpener to sharpen the blunt end of the scewers.  Our group meets at 9am.  The arrangement was finished, but I was a little behind on everything else.  Here is the finished arrangement.


I made double chocolate muffins from this recipe.  I’ve made these before and they are very good, however today the bottoms burned.  It has been a long time since I made them and I think I need to make a note on my recipe to shorten the minimum cooking time.  The boys have been eating the tops of them.  Lisa bailed me out and stopped by King Soopers for muffins.  Other than that I sort of went with a Mexican theme.  I had Mexican Layered dip — sort of like 7 layer dip, but my own twist on it, tortilla pinwheel rolls filled with cream cheese etc., and Sweet Corn Cake (first time I made it and it took longer to cook than the recipe said, which also set me behind.)

I don’t think anyone left hungry and the boys have been eating leftovers all day.


5 04 2008

It seems to me, there are those that cook and those that are cooks.  I am the former.  I cook out of necessity, not because I particularly enjoy it.  I search for recipes that look good, test them and if the general consensus is a thumbs up they go into my repertoire.  At some point I may choose to make slight modifications to the recipe, but that is about the extent of my creativity with edible ingredients.

My sister on the other hand is the latter.  She actually seems to enjoy cooking.  Yes, she does use recipes, but she will also make up a meal just pouring various ingredients into the mixture.  My grandma could do that, too (She made a wonderful grape pie once — I think I ate most of it, but she didn’t use a recipe so it is gone forever).  Sheila (The Sister) will actually choose to cook rather than going out to eat sometimes.  Not me!  There are times Sheila can’t share a recipe because she doesn’t remember what she used.  She makes a mean spaghetti sauce and I actually made her measure and write down the ingredients once.  It’s on an index card for my use and she didn’t even recognize it as her recipe when she was here.

If you would like to try a good spaghetti sauce or if you need a meal for a vegetarian this might be for you.

Sheila\'s Spaghetti Sauce Sheila’s Spaghetti Sauce

1 medium Onion, chopped

1 can Mushrooms or about 1/3 cup sliced fresh Mushrooms

2/3 can Vegeburger

1 to 2 Tbs. dried Parsley Flakes

1 tsp. Onion Salt

1 tsp. Sweet Basil

1 tsp. Oregano

1 tsp. Cumin

¼  tsp. Garlic Powder or 1 or 2 cloves garlic minced

1-1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

Approx. 32 oz. Tomato Sauce

½ cup water

Saute onion, (fresh garlic if you use it), mushrooms and vegeburger.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer together.  Serve over spaghetti noodles (Whole Wheat are a great option.)

I do make some slight modifications.  Sheila cuts all onions into miniscule particles, I just chop them up. I usually leave the mushrooms out because one member of my family won’t even walk by them in the store.  He is disturbed by their “eyebrows.”  I use either Loma Linda Vegeburger or Worthington Vegetarian Burger.  What is it?  It looks like this —

You can saute the onion, mushrooms and garlic in water if you are trying to reduce fat and add the burger at the very end.  The whole wheat spaghetti is also my suggestion.  Once you get used to it the normal spaghetti doesn’t taste as good.

My children are thrilled whenever I make this homemade sauce rather than opening a jar.

Am I turning into (gasp) a Domestic?

21 12 2007

I’ve done more cooking in the last two days that probably the last three weeks combined!  My in-laws arrived near midnight on Wednesday so I do have more people to cook for than usual.  Tomorrow is our Sabbath so I was working on our dinner today.  The main dish tomorrow will be Tofu “Meatballs.”  These are Vegan if you ever need a fairly easy dish for someone that doesn’t eat meat.


Tofu Meatballs

1 pkg. Mori Nu Tofu, firm
1-1/2 c. onion
2 T. lite soy sauce
½ t. garlic powder
1 c. pecan meal (or ground walnuts)
1-1/2 c. bread crumbs
2 t. parsley flakes
½ t. sage
¼ t. oregano
¼ t. basil

Combine first four ingredients in a blender and whiz smooth. Pour into a mixing bowl. Add the last six ingredients and mix well. Scoop walnut sized balls onto cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. (I use a cookie scoop for this.) Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. These will freeze nicely at this point. When ready to use, thaw and place in flat shallow casserole in a single layer. Cover with favorite gravy that isn’t two thick. (I will add mushroom gravy to mine tomorrow.) Bake uncovered in 350F oven for 25-30 minutes.

I also made Garlic-Herb rolls.  This is actually a bread machine recipe for a two pound loaf, but rather than letting it bake in the machine I ran it on the dough cycle and then formed into 24 rolls and baked at 350 for 15 – 20 minutes.

img_1993.jpgGarlic Herb Bread

1-1/2 c. water
4 t. margarine or butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 c. whole wheat flour
3 c. bread flour
2 T. sugar
2 t. salt
½ t. dried rosemary leaves
¼ t. dried thyme leaves
¼ t. dried basil leaves
1-3/4 t. regular active dry yeast

Our church is holding their annual Christmas program and Slice of Pie tonight so I baked a couple of pies this afternoon.  I had some eggs left from doing the schools dinner theatre and wanted to use them up so these are the pies I made.

img_1991.jpgCreamy Peanut Butter Pie
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
½ c. creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
2 T. flour
1-1/2 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
1 9 inch pie shell

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the sugars, peanut butter, eggs and flour. Gradually stir in the milk. Heat at 70% power, stirring every minute, until thick. Don’t boil.
Remove from microwave and stir in the vanilla. Pour into the baked pie shell and chill.
Serving Ideas : Serve with whipped cream

The original recipe on the peanut putter pie had you make it on the stove top.  I modified it for the microwave and it made it much easier and quicker.

img_1990.jpgLemon Meringue Pie 

1-1/2 c. sugar
½ c. cornstarch
1-1/2 c. boiling water
3 egg yolks
½ c. lemon juice
1 T. butter or margarine
1 t. grated lemon peel

1 9-inch pie crust

3 egg whites
¼ t. cream of tarter
6 T. granulated sugar.

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a microwave safe bowl. Slowly stir in boiling water. Cook on Full Power for 4-6 minutes, or until thickened and bubbling. Stir twice during cooking time.

Mix part of the hot mixture into slightly-beaten egg yolks. Return all to remaining hot mixture. Cook on Full Power for 1 to 2-1/2 minutes, or until mixture begins to boil. Stir halfway through cooking time.

Stir in lemon juice, butter, and lemon peel, until butter is melted. Pour filling into 9-inch baked pie crust.

Preheat oven to 400F. Combine egg whites and cream of tarter in a small bowl. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and gradually add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Immediately spread the meringue over the filling sealing meringue to the curst of the pie. Bake about 5 minutes until golden brown.

While I was in the middle of making the pies, I looked out the kitchen window and there were 6 mule deer standing right below the window.  I raced up stairs grabbed my camera and opened the slidder door to snap a picture.  The camera wouldn’t come on!  Oh, come on, I just charged the batteries last night.  I popped open the battery door and duh — I charged the batteries, but forgot to put them back in the camera.  Another race up the stairs to grab the batteries and in the mean time the deer are on the move.  I went out the front door and snapped these pictures.  One fellow even stopped to pose.




You can see on this last picture that it had just started to snow.  I think this is as close to reindeer as we will see around here.

I made homemade chili today too, but am not going to bother with the recipe tonight.  Just a word of warning to my family if they are reading this — don’t get used to this!  I don’t want to spend my whole life in the kitchen.  Also thanks to my MIL who did all the clean up behind me.  If you’ve gotta cook — that is the way to do it!

Stop & Breathe

5 12 2007

This week is exceptionally busy so this may be my only post for a few days.

guy.jpgMonday was Guy’s birthday he caught up with me once again for a couple of months.  I thought I had actually managed to buy a gift that would surprise him.  He has been talking about this saw for almost a year.  When I checked it was almost $100 less than I could get it here in town with the free shipping.  The scheduled date for shipping was on his birthday, but then I received a notice that it had shipped and was due to arrive on Monday.  How cool is that — here for his birthday and I didn’t have to unload it from the car.  Last Thursday he comes home and says, “Hey that saw is a lot cheaper on Amazon.”  Oh great, there goes the surprise.  I went ahead and told him it was on the way, because we sure didn’t need a second one showing up on the front porch. 

Today Quilter’s Anonymous met at my house.  (Guy says first you have to admit you have a problem, but it is actually my mini quilt group.)  We had our gift exchange today.  It was great! Everyone made gifts for the name they had drawn this year and the gifts were all awesome.  There were four quilts, a beautiful fiber runner, an embroidered shirt, hand knit socks and fingerless gloves and last, but not least the gift I received from Joyce, a purse.  We sent emails to our group discussing our likes and dislikes and I specifically said I like blue and yellow.  Isn’t it cool?  It has pockets all the way around the inside, too.    purse-001.jpg  

While we were chatting today we somehow ended up talking about a female police officer that frequents the quilt shop where two of our members work.  I made some comment about how the vests police wear make them look buff.  I then received some teasing about liking my husband in uniform.  I frequently quilt for one of the other members and she has met Guy and she said something about him being good looking even when he isn’t in uniform.  In case I haven’t mentioned it before, Guy volunteers as a deputy with the Sheriff’s office.  The volunteers go through the academy and have all the same authority as any other deputy when they are on duty, they just don’t get paid.  Anyway, the Sheriff’s office recently took formal pictures of the volunteers to have on file.    Since about half the group hasn’t met Guy, I went and grabbed the picture and passed it around.  I got a kick out of the comments — they went something like this — “Oh, he is good looking, he still has his HAIR!”  I’m posting the picture here so you can be the judge (No matter what you decide, I’m keeping him!).  It’s a pretty good picture, but Guy wasn’t pleased that they spent most of the day on the range before they took the pictures so they were sunburned, had hat hair and weren’t freshly shaved.guy-saw.jpg

The final thing that is making this week hectic is the Christmas Dinner Theatre at school tomorrow.   The teachers and students provide the theatre and I provide the dinner.  We are having soup, salad, bread and dessert.  The soups are all homemade (also vegetarian) and I had planned to bake the bread as well.  At this point I think I will be stopping in at Panera tomorrow to buy some bread.  For soup I have a mild Chili, Mock Chicken Noodle soup, Minestrone, Taco soup, and Baked Potato soup.  The first four are finished except for adding noodles to some of them and the baked potatoes just came out of the oven for the last one.  For most of the soups I quadrupled the recipes.  How did I end up with this job anyway?  Oh, yeah it was my idea several years ago to add the dinner as a fund raiser and to get more people to show up.  So now I do it twice a year, at Christmas and in the Spring. 

So until I finish with clean up tomorrow night, I will continue to remind myself to breathe!

Friday Night = Soup Night

16 11 2007

As long as I can remember Friday night has been soup night.  The exception was in the hottest part of summer, then salad was the likely replacement.  I only remember one soup from when I was a small child and it was a simple recipe that came from my Grandma Kemmerer.

                              Yankee Chowder

  Amount              Measure              Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–                  ————            ——————————–

  2                          cans                      vegetarian vegetable soup, condensed

  1                          can                        cream of mushroom soup, condensed

  1                          onion

  3                          medium               potatoes — cubed

                                                            salt — to taste


                                                            Water — to cover potatoes and onions

In a large pot sauté onions in a small amount of oil.  Add potatoes with enough water to cover them and salt.  Cook until the potatoes are tender.  Stir in the condensed soup and add enough milk to give a creamy appearance.  Heat until warm.

If we were spending the week-end at my Grandparents’ house the meal was finished off with Tapioca pudding with bananas and mini marshmallows in it.  When we were home there wasn’t dessert on Friday night. 

I have expanded my soup horizons since I grew up and rarely make the one above anymore.  Tonight’s soup is “Parsley-Potato Soup” I have modified it from the recipe in “Vegetarian Soups for all Seasons” by Nava Atlas.  (I have been pleased with every recipe I have tried from Nava’s books.)  My version is Vegan and I have eliminated the oil and used dried herbs rather than fresh.

                            Parsley Potato Soup

Amount                Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–                  ————  ——————————–      

  1                           large     onion — chopped

  2                          cloves  garlic — minced

  6                          medium  potatoes — peeled and diced

  2                          bay leaves

                              water — as needed

  1                          large cube  Vegan Vegetable Bouillon (No Salte Added)

  1                          teaspoon  Italian Seasoning

  4                           ounces  Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese — diced

  2 2/3                   tablespoons  dried parsley

     1/4                   cup  quick cooking oats

  1                          cup  Light Silk Soy Milk — or as needed

                              Salt and pepper — to taste

Place the onion in a soup pot with enough water to cover the onion.  Saute over medium heat until the onions are soft.  Add the garlic, potatoes, and bay leaves.  Add enough water to cover along with the Bouillon cube, then stir in the Italian Seasoning. 

Bring to a simmer, then simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid with a ladle and transfer it to a small mixing bowl.  Combine with the Tofutti and whisk together until smooth and creamy.  Stir into the soup along with the parsley.  Slowly sprinkle in the oats.  Simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes over very low heat, or until the potatoes are completely tender.  Add the Soy Milk and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

This soup thickens as it stands; thin as needed with additional milk, then correct the seasonings.


At our house we usually have bread with the soup.  More often than not cornbread.  In the last year we have been trying to really reduce our fat intake and when we are at home we trying to go vegan.  I had been using the same cornbread recipe for years and when we decided to eat more healthfully I found a cornbread recipe we like in “Vital Vittles” by Heather Leno.  Again I have modified the recipe slightly.  I replace the oil she calls for with applesauce and go with lite salt since I have been fighting high blood pressure ever since my last pregnancy.

                             Vegan Cornbread

  Amount              Measure       Ingredient — Preparation Method

——–                  ————  ——————————–

  1                          cup  whole wheat pastry flour

  1                          cup  whole grain cornmeal

  2                          Tablespoons  unrefined can sugar

  1                           tablespoon  flaxseed meal

  2                           teaspoons  Rumsford’s Baking Powder

1/2                        teaspoon  Lite Salt

 1 1/4                    cups  Light Silk Soy Milk

  2                          Tablespoons  unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine dry ingredients.

Mix together milk and applesauce.

Combine the liquid with the dry ingredients.

Fill Pam-sprayed 8×8 inch pan.

Bake 25 minutes.


It sure smells good in the house right now and I’m really hungry so it is time to leave the computer and finish supper.


9 11 2007

We are having Fall Festival at my boys’ school tomorrow night.  In past years I usually did most of the organizing.  We have been doing it long enough now we pretty much know what to expect and the principal/8-10 teacher has done most of the organizing this year.  Much easier on me.  We only serve Vegetarian food at this function — not vegan — just vegetarian.  I always make the vege-burgers so that’s what I’ve been up to today.  I used to make them for hot lunch and the kids love them, even those that are carnivores.  They go over well with the adults, too.  I’ve posted the recipe here.  They are better fresh, but still good reheated.  I can’t make them fast enough to sell them fresh.  Once the burgers are made just add the same fixings you would for a hamburger. 


2 cups Worthington Vegetarian Burger (comes in a can and is distributed by Kellogg’s)

4 eggs

3 Tablespoons minced onion

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 Tablespoon flour

3 Tablespoons quick oats

Italian Seasoning to taste (I put it in and mix then smell to see if it smells like something I want to eat)

Combine ingredients and spoon onto hot oiled griddle.  Cook slowly until moisture is gone before turning.


My whole house smells like burgers.  I just came back from a quick trip to the library and noticed while I was there, I smell like them, too.