Sunday, May 30, 2010


I made myself a glass of lemonade by juicing two lemons, added five crushed spearmint leaves from my garden, water, ice, and 3/4 tablespoon sugar.

Trail Matzo

Gayle suggested slathering my leftover matzo with butter, adding chocolate and walnuts and baking it in the oven for a Girl Scout style trail snack.

I made a sauce of 3.5 ounces intense dark chocolate, 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, one stick butter, and one cup peanut butter. I added about 3 tablespoons dried strawberries and about half a cup candied ginger, torn into chunks.

I put the matzo on cookie sheets and added the chocolate, then I added walnuts and baked at 350 for five minutes.

I should have sprinkled the strawberries and ginger on top with the walnuts instead of in the sauce. I didn't use enough. If I did it in the sauce thinking it would allow the ginger to blend into the chocolate. We'll see.

It worked well, but next time, I'm going to spread the chocolate and the goodies more evenly.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Ginger Pork

Today's experiment is Ginger Pork. I'm expecting company at an unknown time, so I wanted to make something I could keep warm in the oven (with a loaf of homemade bread, of course.)

So in the Le Creuset skillet, I put three large pork chops, about 1" thick each. I put:
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- about 3/4 teaspoon four color pepper
- about 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground garlic salt
- about 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
- about 1 tablespoon grated candied ginger
- one tablespoon white grape juice.

I cooked over medium about five minutes each side. When I flipped them, I drizzled
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil

Then I made a sauce of
- one tablespoon white sugar
- one cup white grape juice
- one tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

I poured that into the skillet and put the whole thing in an oven preheated to 300 degrees.

The recipe is inspired by Venir Dîner, C'est Prêt, a French cookbook. I plan to serve with a Dole Spring Fling Salad and my bread. I'm debating whether or not to add cooked baby carrots. I'm thinking yes.

Soup and Matzo

My husband came home the other day with a box of Matzo. Today for lunch, I took a can of cheapo vegetable soup and dressed it up. Added a cup or so of soup vegetables, about 1/2 cup peas, 1 cup french cut green beans. Diluted with the requisite can of water AND added about a cup of beef vegetable stock from the roast last week. Yes, I freeze everything.

The original soup came from Aldi.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Dried Beans in Crock Pot

Peanut Butter and Blueberry Muffins

For lunch today I served my daughter two of my super-duper blueberry-banana-walnut muffins with peanut butter, and a side of chocolate soy milk.

cheesy bread

I found myself hungry with no real plan for what to do for breakfast. So, I took a big slice of homemade bread, topped it with shredded Jarlsberg, velveeta and white cheddar and toasted it under the broiler.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wegmans Pesto Ravioli

We had Wegmans pesto ravioli, from the frozen food aisle, for dinner. One bag feeds the family for a light dinner. I usually get florentine ravioli for the extra "vegetable" content. They really do have some green vegetable vitamin equivalent. Reading the label on these pesto raviolis, they also have green vegetable matter.

They were delicious. We had simple red tomato sauce, and added some asiago cheese on top.

Then we sopped up the extra sauce with homemade bread. And in the child's case, some butter.

Five minute chocolate cake


o coffee mug
o 4 tablespoons flour - make sure you measure it right - or the cake is a lie!
o 4 tablespoons sugar
o 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
o 2 tablespoons whisked egg - 1 egg is too much, 1 egg white is too eggy, 1 yolk is too dense, but 2 tblsp is just right!
o 3 tablespoons milk
o 3 tablespoons oil
o 3 tablespoons chocolate chips
o splash vanilla or other flavoring - try peppermint or cinnamon

For a fudgier version, omit egg!

Cake Wrecks posted this to Facebook. It cooks in 2.5-4 minutes in the microwave.

We made ours with chocolate soy milk instead of milk.

We also discovered one of our eggs made two cakes.

I made mine with chocolate chips, pecans and chopped caramel candies to make a turtle cake.

tuna boats

I've been struggling with my iron levels lately so I haven't been doing too much serious cooking. Leftovers and simple food. Breakfasts of cream of wheat, raisin bran, and/or yogurt. Snack sandwiches of those veg. sausages on biscuits.

A few meals out. Pizza with a friend Monday. Lunch with in-laws yesterday. Dinner with my Dad.

So for lunch today, I sliced my homemade French country bread (last loaf from the freezer), toasted it, and made some tuna. Topped with shredded Jarlsberg and served with a side of mandarin orange slices.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


For a late lunch yesterday, we used the leftover browned hamburger from the "Daddy Pasta" my husband made the other day (I don't think I blogged about that), added some cheddar and Velveeta on multigrain chips and some Wegmans mango salsa and sour cream leftover from my cake.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shrimp with broccoli

A friend bought a bag of shrimp for us to help celebrate my birthday. Tonight I made a shrimp, broccoli and egg noodle dish.

I sauteed the shrimp in butter, 3/4 clove garlic, and lemon juice. Sprinkled with it's a dilly.

Sauteed broccoli in olive oil and a touch of butter. Added that to the cooked pasta, added some extra virgin olive oil and a tad more butter. Mixed.

Added the shrimp. Mixed.

Added shredded asiago.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper veggies

So my daughter requested leftover chicken shawarma for lunch, part of the birthday feast we had from Forks Mediterranean Deli. Last night's feast was a near vegetarian delight, chicken shawarma being the only meat on the menu.

We had that seasoned bread that my former boss loved, hummus, cucumber yogurt salad, roasted red pepper dip, mini pitas, mango nectar and four different mediterrannean sandwiches: the falafel, tabouleh and feta, feta with black olive and cucumber (my new fav) and the shawarma.

I took some frozen cauliflower, carrots and broccoli and melted the following in a skillet to use the roasted red pepper dip as a sauce:
- one tablespoon butter
- one tablespoon olive oil
-one heaping teaspoon red pepper dip
let that simmer and broke it apart so the flavors could get into the oil and butter
- one heaping tablespoon fresh parsley from the garden
- one half teaspoon chives from the garden

added about two cups vegetables

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Strawberry Crunch Cake

Darrell's delightful cake:

Strawberry crunch cake

Guest blogger Darrell Parry

Today, is Angel’s birthday. So… with the help of our 5 (almost 6)-year-old, I made a birthday cake. Which comes to us from


Strawberry Crunch Cake

Strawberry cake is made from scratch, with frozen strawberries, sour cream, a pecan topping layer, and strawberry sauce

Cook Time: 35 minutes


  • 2 (10 ounces each) packages frozen strawberries in syrup
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Pecan Layer and Topping:

  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon



  • Reserved strawberry syrup
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


Drain thawed strawberries, reserving syrup; set aside.

In a mixing bowl cream butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs; beat well. Blend in sour cream. In another bowl stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture, blending well.

Spread half of the batter in a greased and floured 13x8x2-inch baking pan. Spoon drained strawberries over the batter.

Combine pecan layer ingredients in a small bowl; sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the layer of batter and strawberries. Spread remaining batter over all, then sprinkle with remaining nut mixture.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine reserved strawberry syrup with 4 teaspoons cornstarch. Heat, stirring, until thickened and bubbly. Add 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Cool and serve over warm or cooled strawberry crunch cake. Serve with whipped cream or whipped topping, if desired.


Putting our skills to the test, we thawed, measured and mixed. Everything was perfectly smooth. My helper thought the batter tasted great. I put the fist layer in the pan. It seemed thick, but not impossibly so. However, this led me to spread a little more batter than the ½ suggested be the recipe. Uh-Oh. After mixing the nutty part and adding the drained strawberries there wasn’t enough batter left to cover the top. Oh crap! So now what?

Quick, more batter! Channeling the spirit of my Pennsylvania Dutch Grandmother who grew up on a farm baking 10 pies a day since she was 6-years-old, I grabbed handful of thi9s and spoonfuls of that and haphazardly threw them into the mixture, following no recipe but my gut. When it was done the consistency was about right and the flavor was a pretty good match, so we threw it in the oven and headed upstairs to put the little one to bed.

After the 35 min. to cook the kid was settled in and I checked the cake. RAW! I put it in for 5 more minutes…. still raw. Okay 10 MORE MINUTES! Panic time. Was my mixture not cooking because I messed with the balance of ingredients?

Those of you who actually have baking experience can probably see this coming. Angel comes home. I explain the problem and she says, “Did you double the recipe or something? That looks like a lot of cake. Maybe that’s why it’s taking longer.” My extra batter! Should have figured that one out myself, really.

In the end the cake baked through although It took a looong time.) This morning we cut up pull n’ peel Twizzlers and spelled “Happy Birthday Angel” (the little one’s idea) and added gummy bears and candles. In the end it was a great success!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Salads with beef

The beef last night, for my first roast, came out admirably. I have a few thoughts on how to improve it should I repeat the experiment.

For breakfast today, we had big bowls of cream of wheat made with soymilk and served with lots of sliced strawberries.

Lunch was salads of romaine, iceberg, beef, peppercorn ranch with no MSG, carrots, broccoli, raisins and for me, some hot wasabi bar mix. Washed it down with apple-raspberry juice. And we're finishing off the guacamole with some multigrain tortilla chips.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


I wanted to make cheddar and bean quesadilla with my homemade guacamole last night but I didn't get there... We had salads with guac and chips instead.

Today for lunch I made the quesadillas: cheddar, velveeta, black beans and black olives, garnished with romaine lettuce, homemade guacamole, and mango salsa. And a side of strawberries.

The little one loves it, and while she insists at restaurants she does NOT like guacamole, she sure loves mine.

She even said to me when I served her, "This is guacamole?"
And I replied yes.
"But I don't like guacamole, but I love this!"

The Intimidating Round Roast


I am faced with a three pound bottom round roast that, thus far, has kicked my ass.

Let me preface this tale.

For most of my adult life, I have been a vegetarian. I probably spent eight years as such. I even spent about six months as a vegan. I do not like to cook meat. I do not feel meat is a daily necessity. I think it general Americans consume too much meat, and too much processed foods, and too much flat out junk. As this blog documents, I do eat meat.

It started toward the end of my pregnancy with the occasional turkey sandwich. I was on a gestational diabetes diet and after several months of eating protein six times a day, the vegetarian options were starting to get old.

Then, when my daughter was 18-months old, I got a high stress job and starting craving bacon cheeseburgers, even though I hate bacon. So once or twice a month I would eat one.

But all this time, I ate vegetarian at home. And occasionally I'd eat a tuna sandwich. I took vegan cooking courses. And, thanks to the gestational diabetes diet, I was very cognizant of mixing our foods to get protein, calcium, green veggies, orange veggies, fruit, etc. That's when my husband starting calling me the nutrition nazi.

I ventured into cooking some meat while working on the manuscript of my second (yet unpublished) novel. I had the main character cooking. And he's French. And they eat anything they can catch. In order to make the scenes work in the novel, I had to test the recipes. So I did. And I tried to put myself in my main character's shoes. And that's how, even today, I force myself to cook meat.

Now, someone I know who is concerned about us brought me some pork and a three-pound bottom round roast that he found on sale. (A $14 roast for $6) He read my blog entry about my last trip to Wegmans and I guess he feared we were too poor to buy meat (due to my recent unemployment).

I called my mother-in-law and asked how to cook it. She said put it in the crockpot with liquid and carrots. I thought I could handle that.

So my daughter peeled carrots, I got some water and some Wegmans vegetable stock, and the roast was WAY too big for the crock pot.

A facebook poll of my friends led to me cutting it. I added a cup of water and a cup of stock and a hearty few grinds of garlic salt. IT FILLED THE CROCK POT. No room for carrots. I sliced them and put them in my skillet, with stock and water, thinking about 30-40 minutes before dinner, I'll put some meat in there and roast in in the oven.

This better taste damn good. Because it took an hour to get this far.

Yogurt and crumbs

Now, I realize there's a fine line between frugal and being over-the-top cheap, but when I make homemade baked goods I hate to waste.

I froze a good portion of the oatmeal bars, and I scraped all the crumbs out of the bottom of the pan. I sprinkled those on vanilla yogurt this morning for breakfast. We like stuff in our yogurt and this did not disappoint.

Monday, May 17, 2010


Opened my big recipe book today, the volume where I keep all my favorites. I think it's been three years since I made guacamole, but the recipe still lingers in my head... though not complete enough to be memorized and followed without a recipe.

The recipe wasn't there.

I couldn't imagine where else it would be... turned out to be from the Betty Crocker 25th Anniversary Cookbook.

Mix, cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Do not use a metal bowl.

  • 2 large ripe avocados, mashed
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (about 1.5 cups) *I used one tomato, about 5/6 of a cup)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1/2 cup) *I only used about three tablespoons of red onion
  • 2 jalapeno chilis, seeded and chopped (I didn't have, tossed in a pinch of cumin instead)
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro (I used parsley from the garden. I know, it's nothing like cilantro but I figured why not)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
  • two tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice. (My lime was small, I used the whole thing)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used sea salt)
  • dash pepper (I used my four-color organic pepper)

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I went to Wegmans with my family and didn't even bother keeping track of the cost as I went through the store. I spent $58.93, which brings my total for the month to about $200.

  • Coffemate creamer, the 64 ounce bottle I think, in Italian Sweet Cream flavor, $3.09
  • Eggs, 99 cents
  • Wegmans vanilla yogurt, 32 ounces? (the big bucket) $1.99
  • 2 boxes of Wegmans spinach feta peorogies, $1.69 each
  • frozen green beans, French cut, 99 cents
  • Wegmans frozen jumbo pesto cheese ravioli, $2.99
  • 2 cans sliced potatoes, 69 cents each
  • Diced tomatoes, 59 cents
  • petite diced tomatoes, 2 cans at 59 cents each
  • white grape juice, 1.99
  • Cream of Wheat, $3.29
  • Multigrain tortilla chips, 2.50
  • Wegmans natural applesauce no sugar added with calcium, $1.19
  • Wegmans sesame ginger vinaigrette dressing, $2.50
  • mango salsa, 2 jars at $2.99 each
  • Juice boxes, Minute Maid 100% juice mixed berry, 10 boxes, $2.79
  • Chunky pizza sauce, 2 jars at 99 cents each
  • toothpaste, $2.39
  • one fresh lime, 67 cents
  • one green pepper, $1.29
  • one small red onion, 40 cents
  • Organic spring mix, for the tortoise, 60 cents
  • romaine bagged salad, $2
  • iceberg/romaine bagged salad, $2
  • 2 broccoli crowns, $1
  • orange tomatoes on the vine, 4 small, $2.04
  • 2 hass avocados, $3.33
  • big batch of bananas, $1.48
  • BIG container of strawberries, $2.99


Today one of us should go to the grocery store. I need to go to Wegmans but I don't feel like it. I have a small list: mango salsa, salad for humans, greens for the tortoise, cream of wheat, fresh fruit, fresh veggies, cheese?, noodles?, and eggs. Oh, and the ingredients for ugly bean dip.

We've eaten primarily leftovers over the last few days, including some of my mother-in-law's chicken that we adore.

But this morning my husband made a lovely, unorthodox breakfast of toasted homemade bread topped with melted cheddar and sliced apples.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oatmeal Bars??

Anyone who even casually follows this blog probably knows that I am on a quest to replicate something similar to Quaker Oatmeal Squares.

This recipe turned out delicious, but wasn't cakey enough to qualify:

So today I doubled the batter ingredients and included the same dried ingredients. Optimistic, I put the batter in pyrex dishes and baked. One even has chocolate almond topping I found in the rear of the freezer today.

Cross your fingers. These took most of my morning...

Update: they worked! When I doubled the batter ingredients, I resisted using four sticks of butter, because a pound of butter is insane. I also used three eggs and some applesauce instead of four eggs, partially because it seemed healthier. The practical reason for the egg swap is that's what I had. I ended up freezer several batches of these for future breakfasts.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Egg sandwiches

I had a two-hour glucose test this morning so...

My daughter had a bowl of Peanut Butter Krunch and soy milk and off to the lab I went.

At 10:15, I finally got this breakfast for the two of us on the table:

Egg sandwiches on homemade bread... Fried deli black forest ham, fried egg, topped with havarti dill cheese and a side of 100% juice.
(plus a cup of reheated coffee for me)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chicken with cornflake sludge

This is one of those meals that did not do what I intended.

Ah, well. Win some, lose some.

I started with a hint of butter and an equal amount of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and a teaspoon of fresh rosemary snipped into tiny pieces.

I took some chicken, sliced into tenders, and had my daughter grind some four-color peppercorns and some McCormick garlic salt (packed in France, go figure). Added the chicken and some chicken broth. I cooked the chicken about four minutes on each side, then I coated with eggs, and "breaded" with crushed cornflakes, made more 50/50 lemon butter sauce and added some olive oil for a "frying" effect and returned everything to the Le Creuset skillet.

The cornflakes fell off.

I added a whole bunch of steamed baby carrots from the freezer, thawed in the microwave, added a few dollops of butter and some more chicken broth and placed the entire skillet in the oven.

Meanwhile, my husband is making cheapo mac and cheese from a box for a second side.

keep your fingers crossed. I'm going to need it.

The result: FABULOUS!!!

Honey Glazed Grilled Cheese

Made honey glazed grilled cheese with ham, on homemade bread in the Le Creuset skillet, for lunch. The recipe has been posted previously.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Simple things

I haven't written in a few days partially because I have been "off" for Mother's Day. I spent Saturday at an all-day fiction-writing workshop and Sunday we played Risk and ordered pizza. Papa John's had a special: an extra large up-to-seven topping pizza for $12.

But today, I returned to reality.

Breakfast was toast and apples. Lunch was leftover pizza. (And apricot halves from a can.)

Dinner was...

Well, let me tell you about my trip to the grocery store.

I went to the grocery store for three reasons.
1. I needed $2 cash for my daughter's school and the mac machine doesn't dole out singles.
2. I had a craving for chicken
3. My psychologist suggested I buy four boxes of Morningstar vegetarian breakfast patties. (Seriously, that man sometimes rocks my world.)

I spent $13.04 on groceries. I bought:
  • Hunts ketchup with no high fructose corn syrup, 24 ounces, $1.15
  • Naturally delicious ranch dressing (no MSG), 16 ounces, $2
  • Dole Premium Southwest salad kit, $3.50
  • chicken, $2.90
  • Morningstar vegetarian sausage patties, $3.49
But unbeknownst to me, the women in front of us forgot a bag at the end of the register. So, when she left, my daughter starting bagging my groceries and piled our food on top of this lady's. I go pick up my husband from work, unpack the bag, and find a pound of hamburger and some Boar's Head premium deli ham.


I hadn't noticed the lady return to the store before I left, and it's almost an hour after I left the store. So, I asked my husband, "Do I take it back?" Because I assume they'll throw it out. I hope they'd throw it out. I mean, what if I had that hamburger in the hot sun the whole hour.

But the other story relates to my psychologist.

He suggested indulging in my little biscuit sandwiches once a week for breakfast as an exercise in indulgence. He's concerned that I hold too rigidly to the line of discipline and delve into self-denial. He suggested buying four boxes of the little veggie sausages a month because we all like them-- I had mentioned that I stopped buying them because nutritionally all they offer is protein and if I need a protein source for a sandwich an egg is way cheaper.

I'm proud of myself because I bought the sausages AND a premium bagged salad. Lettuce by the head is way cheaper, but I like Dole Premium Salads. So tonight we had biscuit sandwiches and salad for dinner. I had three servings of the salad.