Archive for March, 2011

My children love, love, love sausage in a pancake.  Mom does not love, love, love the store price for these little breakfast luxuries. So, what do we do? Make them at home of course.  They really are not that difficult and it helps that my children just take the stick out anyways before eating, so I don’t even bother with that little piece of silliness.  So what if the children (and you) get some syrup on your fingers?  Half the fun is getting to lick the sticky sweetness off. As you can see from my son’s plate, he really likes them good and sticky, and swimming in syrup.

I make these up in large batches, flash freezing and then packing between layers of parchment to store in freezer.  When I want to use them, I simply pull them out and put in oven at 375 degrees for 12 -14 minutes…or microwave them…depending on how rushed I am.

Breakfast Pigs In A Blanket

Pork Sausage Links – as many as you want to make.

Pancake Batter – (thick style for this, if wanting to make pancakes, thin with milk)

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cornmeal

1 tbsp maple syrup

3/4 cup milk

1 egg

3 tbsp butter, melted

2 cups oil – for frying

To make.

1.) Fry your sausages and pat dry between paper towels.

2.) Mix up your pancake batter.

3.) Heat your oil in skillet for frying

4.) Put four sausages in batter and coat well, drop in hot oil and fry on one side until golden, flip and fry other side to golden.  Drain on paper towel.

5.) Serve or place on cookie sheet in freezer to flash freeze for 20 minutes, then store in baggies or containers.





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Lasagna is just one of those, must have in freezer dishes.  It is so simple to make, simple to freeze and reheat and delicious to eat.  On the negative side, it can also be packed full of starch and fat. To reduce this, I have substituted eggplant for lasagna noodles in the middle layers.  Rather then using Ricotta cheese I make my own Labnah that I use in it’s place.  Homemade spaghetti sauce is a given and I also use a mix of half ground beef and half ground turkey filler.  It’s been a hit so far not only with family, but with work clients and school and community socials where going back for seconds isn’t uncommon.

Here is the basic recipe.  But feel free to adapt it to your own.

Eggplant Lasagna

2 9×10 cake pans

1 lb ground hamburger (cooked)

1 lb ground turkey (cooked)

1 cup onion, diced

1 package lasagna noodles, cooked and divided.

2 egg plants, sliced (with skin)

1 large jar spaghetti sauce

1 lg container low-fat  Ricotta cheese (or the following recipe for Lahbeh)

2 tsp basil, oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

1 cup Parmesan cheese, divided.

Cook your lasagna noodles until still slightly firm.  Cook the hamburger and turkey with the onion until done.   In your cake pan, place a layer of noodles, sprinkle with meat, then add your cheese, spaghetti sauce, and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp of basil and oregano and 1/4 tsp garlic powder.  Layer on a row of egg plant slices and repeat your layering of ingredients. Place a second row of egg plant slices, layer once more.  Top with layer of lasagna noodles, spaghetti sauce and sprinkle on Parmesan cheese, cover with remaining herbs.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes.


1 quart plain yogurt (with active cultures – homemade works best)

1 tsp salt

1 unused cloth diaper or sterile hankerchief

Pour yogurt into dish and add salt, stir well.  Pour into the center of diaper/hanky.  Fold up edges neatly to make a pouch and secure it with a rubber band.  Hang pouch over a dish to drain.  (I use the rubber band to attach mine to a upper cabinet handle).  Let drain for 24 hours for whey to drain off.  Once drained, open the pouch and scrape out the cheese forming it into a ball.  (This is a rather soft cheese, much like a cream cheese. In fact I use it in place of cream cheese and it can be flavored much the same.)


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Mushrooms, delicious, nutritional and a excellent meat substitute source.  Cream of Mushroom soup is a meal I make in quantity and freeze in individual containers for later consumption.  To reheat only involves a quick reheating in a pot on stove or in microwave.  It is also very easy to make and cost saving, in addition you can control the sodium and preservatives unlike canned soups from stores.

To make:

1 small package of mushrooms (button, shitake, portabella) sliced or diced.

5 cups milk  or 3 cups milk to 2 cups half and half.  (I just use milk)  (reserve 1/2 cup milk)

1/2 cup diced onion

2 tbsp corn starch or flour

Salt and pepper to taste.

Place all ingredients in pot on stove and on medium heat (just below boiling) let simmer until onions and mushrooms are cooked and lose their firmness.  At this point you can leave as is, or if you like smaller mushroom pieces (which my kids prefer), place in blender.  Return to stove top and bring back up to near boiling.  Add the corn starch/flour to the reserved 1/2 cup of milk and add to the soup stirring well to thicken. That’s all there is to it.

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My son asked me one day to buy these store packages of mini pizza bites for him. I gave in and spent a ridicules price for a few morsels of something I could easily make from home and in larger quantity for the same price.  These Pizza Bites have now become a staple in our freezer. They are easy to make, quick to reheat and great for quick snacks, tie-me overs on busy days or to serve when their company comes calling.

To make you will need a package of mini bagels in your choice of  flavor (Wheat, Plain, Onion.). Split them in half and put on cookie sheet.  Place under broiler to crisp and take out to cool slightly.  Cover with pizza sauce either store bought or homemade.  Add your choice of toppings (Pepperoni, turkey pepperoni, chopped onions, peppers, onion, olives, bacon, etc).  Sprinkle on your preference of cheese.  I use basil, parsley or oregano seasoning in addition but that is my personal preference.  Put the pan of pizza bites back under broiler and melt the cheese.

At this point you can either serve them, or let them cool and put the cookie sheet in freezer for a hour to flash freeze.  Store them in ziploc baggies or containers to take out as many as you need for a snack.  To reheat, put on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

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This weekend was hectic, and that is putting it mildly.  I did get some time to make up a couple pans of Eggplant Lasagna, one for fresh eating and two for freezing for later meals.  I really wanted a good bread to be an appetizer dipped in olive oil to accompany the  lasagna and salad dinner. Ciabatta is one of those breads that just has a perfect love relationship with olive oil.  It is also not difficult to make.  I am not certain where I originally got this recipe, but it has never failed me.

Ciabatta Bread

Make Sponge

1/8 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm water

1/3 cup room-temperature water

1 cup bread flour

Make the sponge: Stir together warm water and yeast, let stand five minutes until creamy. Transfer to bowl and add room temperature water and flour.  Stir for 4 minutes before covering with plastic wrap and letting sit at room temperature at least 12 hours to as much as twenty-four hours.

Make Bread

1/2 tsp active dry yeast

2 tbsp warm milk

2/3 cup room-temperature water

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups bread flour

1 1/2 tsp salt

Stir together the yeast and milk in small bowl and let stand for five minutes until creamy.  In bowl of electric mixer, blend milk mixture, sponge, water, oil and flour until flour is moist.  Beat an additional 3 minutes, then add salt and beat 4 more minutes.  Scrape the dough from bowl into oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let sit until doubled in size.  (This dough will be very sticky and full of bubbles).  Cut two pieces of parchment paper and place on baking sheet, flour top of parchment pieces well.  Fold dough onto well floured surface and divide in half.  Transfer each half onto piece of parchment paper and form into oval or square shapes roughly 9 inches long.  Dip fingers in flour and dimple loaves, then dust tops lightly with flour.   Let rise again until almost doubled.

Bake loaves separate at 425 F for 20 minutes or until pale to golden brown.

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After years, and years of washing dishes by hand and pining for a dishwasher. I finally got one. I am loving it!  But true to form, I looked at the dishwasher detergents at the stores and could not bring myself to buying them.  My thoughts went from cost involved, to chemicals added, to how badly they would clog up my new dishwasher, they ended with “just what will I be putting in the ground I plant and harvest food from?”  The idea of buying detergent was soon nixed and I went into finding a homemade version I knew would be safe and cost saving.   Having given these recipes several tries, I am more then pleased with the results.

Homemade Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

2 cups borax

2 cups baking soda

Combine and use 2 tbsp of mix in dishwasher.

Spotless Dishwasher Rinse

Fill rinse department with straight white vinegar.  Works great and removes odors.


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This is a picture of my latest project(s).  Two quilt tops (minus the bordering/back/final stitching).  I apologize for not having pressed them prior to picture taking.  I am hoping by weekend to have the project completed, and will be sure to post the final quilt when it is.

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For any wondering what your freezer looks like after cooking for two weeks of meals? This is mine after cooking for two weeks worth of “Frozen Dinners.”   This is my “Main” kitchen freezer (One over refrigerator).  As I preserve as much food as possible, my second freezer holds containers of fruits, vegetables, freezer jams, bulk meats (to be pulled out later and remade into freezer meals), frozen herb cubes, onions, celery, mushrooms and other odds and ends for stock or soup making, frozen fresh squeeze fruit juices and the likes.

I can not praise these little containers enough.  Not only are they sturdy, they can go from freezer, to microwave, to dishwasher, back to freezer to be used over an over many, many times before needing to be replaced.  I use them in both freezers.  None divider ones are ideal for storing vegetables, fruits and herb cubes.  Just lay out the vegetable or fruit on a cookie tray, freeze to firm and pack in containers.  Reheat when ready to use.  Soups, stocks and fixings can go into larger or smaller square or round containers.  Everything can be neatly labeled, stacked and right at finger tips.  Definitely a worth while investment and far better then baggies that can bust open or glass jars that break.

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My daughter will be turning 4 years old Monday.  Hard to believe so much time has passed.  My daughter is a serious girly girl, and tomboy wrapped into one.  She loves pink, pastels, flowers, dolls, fairies, dresses and to get into and wear my makeup.  She also loves to play sports, roll in grass, play in dirt, and fake sword fight with her brother, often times beating him.

For her birthday this year she requested pink…everything and anything pink, with lots of flowers, fairies and butterflies.  My son cringed, begged and pleaded for anything but pink. To keep peace in household, and my son from becoming pink traumatized. I managed to convince my daughter to consider a pastel color theme.  Easter right around corner it was fairly easy to find the colors for a pastel party theme along with plenty of butterflies. To continue to keep the peace regarding the cake, I opted for miniature cupcakes. I would make a white cake and do a strawberry frosting filling with pastel sprinkles, and lemon cupcakes with lemon pudding filling and lemon frosting.  Let’s hope it doesn’t come to blows when she insists he wear a princess crown to eat them.

White Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 egg whites

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup butter, softened.

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix together flour, soda and powder in separate bowl.  In mixing bowl combine egg whites, butter and sugar.  Beat well.  Add vanilla, then alternate flour mixture and buttermilk, mixing until all is combined.

Pour into greased cake pan, or lined cupcake holders.

Bake 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes for cake.  15-20 for cupcakes.  Test with toothpick for done.

Fresh Strawberry Frosting.

1/2 pint fresh strawberries

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3-4 cups confectioner sugar

4 tbsp soft butter

Slice strawberries night before and place in bowl.  Sprinkle with granulated sugar and refrigerate.

Next day drain juice from strawberries (save it for fruit salads or regular salads),  mash the strawberries.

Beat butter until smooth, add powdered sugar and mashed berries and beat again until fluffy. Add more confectioner sugar as needed for desired consistency.

To use as filler in cupcakes, place in Ziploc bag with prepared “tube” tip.  Squeeze into center of cooled cupcakes being careful to not overfill and explode cupcakes.

Frosting and decorate as desired.

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New Quilt Laid Out

Think I’ve found a workable pattern for laying out the pieces.  This quilt was a bit of a struggle as it was done with various size yards of fabric.  All the pieces were from scrap so there was more of some, less of others.  When finished it will fit a full size bed and host a border of black.  My mission today, start sewing the rows.

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