Posts Tagged ‘Recipe’

We have reached the end of the month.  And the end of the grocery money.  I do think it is a cruel coincidence that January – the month I stick to my budget like my ultra-shy-four-year-old sticks to me in public – has five Mondays.  Monday is the day I do my shopping, and I budget per month, not per week.  Darn it!

I do not feel like making do, or eating from the pantry.  I love to read other people’s blog posts when they do it, but I really don’t enjoy it myself.  Alas, I am really not giving myself the choice.  Laziness is not an option.  

Thankfully, I am not even close to out of food.  My freezers are bursting and my pantry is an amply supplied walk-in.  Yes, I do need to get real and stop whining about this.  I need to hit the freezers and pantry hard this week.  Please leave a comment and let me know if I am not alone.  And tell me any great bean recipes you have, because that is one thing I have in abundance :).

Also, I am still on the “big meal of the day at noon” kick.  It worked out so well this week!  I loved being able to tackle the bulk of the dishes in the morning and afternoon.  I also really enjoyed making a simpler meal at the end of the day, when my energy level is not at its peak.

Here is what I have come up with:


Smoothies (plenty of frozen berries and even some frozen bananas, and nuts in the fridge)

English Muffins (freezer)

Leftover muffins

Eggs (still have some from this past week)

Granola (all the ingredients in the pantry)



Zesty Soup, steamed green beans

Chicken and Noodles, steamed peas

Vietnamese Fried Rice, applesauce

Black Beans, avocados (still have from this past week), fresh carrots

Frijoles, cornbread, steamed corn

Lentils and Spinach, oranges



Baked potatoes, steamed broccoli, clementines

Tuna salad, bread (I’ll be baking), steamed peas

Waffles, Blueberry syrup, chopped nuts, fresh carrots

Pizza (happen to have three of these in my freezer :)), steamed green beans

Orange Coconut Muffins, steamed peas, fresh carrots

Leftovers x 2

Honestly, my workload should be about the same this week in the kitchen.  I do need to cook a chicken I have in my freezer and make stock as well.  I also plan on baking two loaves of bread.  Everything else will be done the day of.

What are you eating this week?

Find out what many others are planning for the week over at Menu Plan Monday!

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Lemon Tuna and Rice

This simple recipe was given to me by my sister-in-law, Beth.  Our families lived together for several months during a time of transition many years ago (seems like yesterday!!).  Beth and I took turns making dinners, and this is one she shared with us.  I do believe it is one that hung on from her childhood, so it has a time-tested legacy of yumminess :).

Beth called the original recipe “Tuna Balls”, but ew.  No way can I bring myself to serve anything by that name!  So, at our house, we have “Lemon Tuna and Rice” – ah, much better.

Lemon Tuna and Rice (or Tuna Balls – if you’re into that)


2 cups cooked rice (I use brown basmati)

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 can of tuna, 7 oz.

3/4 cup chopped black olives

1 T. minced onion

1 T. dried parsley

1 t. season salt

2 eggs, beaten

2 T. milk

Yay - BUTTER!!


Melt the butter in a small pan with the listed ingredients. Pour over the rice after it comes out of the oven.

2 T. butter

1 T. lemon juice

1/2 t. season salt

1/2 t. dried parsley

Combine the rice, cheese, tuna, black olives, onion, parsley, season salt, eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Lightly press into an 8in x 8in greased glass baking dish.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  Or, press into 12 greased muffin cups (I think this must be where the awful “balls” must come from) and bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Drizzle on the buttery topping above and serve.

As usual, I double this recipe to feed my family.  I bake it in a 9in x 13in casserole dish at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.


I’ll be sharing this recipe this week at:

Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

Tasty Tuesday

Blessed With Grace

Penniless Parenting

Real Food Wednesday

These Chicks Cooked

Full Plate Thursday


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Every once in a while, while I am meal planning, I will ask the kids if they have any requests.  They asked me a few weeks ago to please include Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup on the menu.  So easy to please :).

I planned to just buy tomato soup from Trader Joe’s (is it obvious yet how much I love Trader Joe’s?) because Saturday is usually a night off from cooking for me.  Grilled cheese I can whip up, but homemade soup?  That is not a day off in my opinion.

But, as bad luck would have it, Trader Joe’s was completely out of tomato soup.  Even after I stared at the empty spot on the shelf for one whole minute with my mind spinning, it still wasn’t there.  Go figure.

So, I stood there steeping in the guilty-mom tea.  Tell the kids they have to go without the soup (even though they made a special request and have been waiting for this meal for three weeks) or suck it up and make the soup myself (even though I so look forward to my super-easy Saturday night dinners)?  Nice mom won out, and I decided, “How hard can it be?”

Turns out, not that hard!  Making homemade Cream of Tomato soup was relatively painless, and the result was quite delicious.  If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, or you just love tomato soup, give this tasty recipe a try.

Cream of Tomato Soup

From the kitchen of https://blessedrootsblog.wordpress.com

1 medium onion, chopped

4 T. butter

2 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes in tomato sauce (you could use all tomato sauce if you prefer your soup smooth)

2 cups half and half (TJ’s sells an organic version, for those of you who prefer that)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. dried basil (rub it between your palms to crush it very fine)

1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or you could use as many fresh cloves of garlic as you like, chopped fine and sautéed with the onion)

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


1.  Chop onion and saute in the butter.  (Cook until onions and beginning to turn translucent and then add any fresh garlic if you are using it.)

2.  While the onions are cooking, empty your tomatoes into your blender, and blend until you reach the consistency you prefer.

3.  When onions are completely translucent, add the tomatoes and stir.  Cover, and bring to a boil over medium heat.

4.  Turn off the heat and stir in the half and half, baking soda, basil, garlic powder (if not using fresh), salt and pepper.

5.  Return to heat to bring back up to serving temperature without bringing the soup to a boil.

Serve by itself or, of course, with the grilled cheese.


I am sharing this recipe with the following:

Real Food Wednesay at Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting

Works For Me Wednesday at We Are THAT Family

These Chicks Cooked at This Chick Cooks

Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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Let me start by saying, this is not a healthier version of my favorite granola.  That is obvious by the title, right?  But, that is definitely not the point of this recipe!  The main point of this recipe is to make an ordinary breakfast something truly celebratory for the holiday season.  And, of course, it is very yummy.

Christmas Cookie Granola

Mix together in a large bowl:

6 c. rolled oats (or 4 c. rolled oats and 2 c. puffed brown rice)

1 c. chopped nuts

1 c. dried, unsweetened, coconut

In a medium sauce pan:

Melt 1 stick of butter

1/2 cup of honey or real maple syrup

1/3 cup water

2 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. almond extract (if it works with your cookies)

After your cooked granola is cooled:

1 – 2 c. (or more if you are feeling really festive :)) Christmas Cookie crumbles (Just take which ever Christmas cookie you are willing to sacrifice for making granola :), and pulse it in your food processor until you have crumbles the size you like)

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  Dump the wet ingredients into the dry (but not the cookies, yet), and mix until everything is combined.  Pour the granola into a 9 x 13 pan.  Cook your granola for about an hour, stirring every ten minutes (set a timer to remind yourself, or you will have very unevenly cooked granola).  Turn the oven off, and leave the granola inside to cool and crisp.  When your granola is cool, add in your cookie crumbles and store in an airtight container.

This makes quite a bit of granola, so if you will want to cut the recipe in half if you are feeding fewer people than me :).

You can eat this like cereal, by itself with milk.  You could also sprinkle it on your yogurt or over ice cream for a dessert.  I plan to use some as a topping for a Peach Raspberry Cobbler I will be making for breakfast this week.

Merry Christmas!

If you have never made granola before, Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has fabulous step-by-step instructions with pictures here.

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This is a hands-down, far and away, off the charts favorite at our house.  I have a bigger problem with this stuff than I do with dark chocolate peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s.  And that is saying a lot.  There is a reason I only make this at Christmas time.

One of the best parts is how stinkin’ easy it is.  I have no clue where this recipe originated, but it certainly wasn’t with me!  The original recipe called for Saltine crackers and brown sugar – but these slightly healthier ingredients work just as well.

Ingredients for Cracker Toffee

Easy Cracker Toffee


2 sticks of butter (ignore the fact that there is only one in the photo :))

1 cup of Sucanat (or brown sugar)

1 sleeve of Social Snackers crackers from Trader Joe’s (or saltines)

1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips, or 1 1/2 cups

1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

1 Super cute baby eating empty butter box (optional)

Optional Ingredient

1.  Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Line a 10 x 15 sheet pan with foil, and butter the foil.  (Tip: Use the wrappers from your sticks of butter)

3.  Melt butter and Sucanat in a small pan over medium heat, stirring constantly.  It takes a few minutes for the two to come together, so be patient.  I’ve put my pictures in there so you know what you are looking for:

Butter and Sucanat Starting to Melt

Butter and Sucanat Starting to Come Together

Butter and Sucanat Ready to Boil

4.  Once the caramel mixture is boiling, stop stirring and set the timer for 3 minutes.  Let it do its thing while you place 1 sleeve of crackers on the pan and chop the nuts if you are using them.

Boiling for 3 Minutes

Crackers on Buttered Foil

5.  After the 3 minutes is up, stir the caramel and pour it on top of the crackers.  Use an offset spatula (or a butter knife) to spread it around evenly and cover all the crackers.  Put it in the oven and bake for 5 minutes.

Fresh Out of the Oven

Sprinkle on the Chips

7.  Once the chips have melted, use your offset spatula to evenly spread the chocolate over the toffee.  Sprinkle on the chopped nuts, if you are using them, and gently press them into the chocolate.

8.  Place the pan in the refrigerator to harden.


9.  Once the chocolate has hardened (this will take several hours), break the toffee into pieces.  Try not to eat it all as you go.

I guarantee you will love this, and so will everyone you share it with – enjoy!

This recipe is shared with:

Sweet Tooth Friday with Alli-n-son

I’m Lovin’ It with Tidy Mom

Foodie Friday with Designs by Gollum

Sweets For a Saturday with Sweet As Sugar Cookies

Meatless Mondays with My Sweet and Savory

12 Days of Christmas Goodies with Mom’s Crazy Cooking

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This is my first intentionally gluten-free and dairy-free recipe post.  Why gluten and dairy free?  No reason, really.  We are very lucky not to have any food allergies or sensitivities or Celiac disease at our house.  Praise God.

But, don’t you ever feel like you eat way too much WHEAT?!  I know I do.  I have been feeling like it would be a wise idea to branch out and try to serve other grains and seeds besides wheat.  There are so many fabulous looking recipes that call for coconut flour, I thought I would buy some in my last Country Life order.

Orange Coconut Muffin

These muffins are my first attempt at baking a grain-free muffin, and I have to say I was very pleased!  Laura, from Heavenly Homemakers, came up with a wonderful original recipe.  Reading through the comments on her post, I saw Jackie’s idea to include an orange in the batter and use a blender to mix as well.  Good idea – very good.  For someone who needs to avoid gluten and/or dairy, these are a treat.  And for people, like us, who have no medical need to cut them out, they are a yummy way to break out of the wheat box.

If you’ve never cooked with coconut flour before, you’ll be surprised to see how little flour and how many eggs you need.  No, they did not turn out tasting like scrambled eggs :).  And I cannot comment on how they may taste the next day – they were gone before lunch was over!

See - muffiny, not eggy

Orange Coconut Muffins

makes 12 muffins

6 eggs

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. honey

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 c. coconut flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 orange

1.  Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and preparing your muffin pan.

2.  Wash your orange, and then zest the entire orange into a bowl and set aside.  Now, peel the orange (discard the peel, obviously), pull it in half, and plop both halves in your blender.

3.  Add 3 eggs, coconut oil, honey, salt, coconut flour, baking powder, and 3 more eggs.  Blend until everything is nicely combined.  I used my Vitamix, but did not turn it on high.

4.  Add your orange zest and blend a little more to incorporate zest.  Or, just fold it in with a spatula.

5.  Evenly divide the batter between 12 muffin cups.  Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes (or until done – they won’t look “wet” on top anymore, but they aren’t going to brown either!).


This recipe is linked to the following blog parties:

Tasty Tuesday with Nap Time Creations

These Chicks Cooked with This Chick Cooks

Real Food Wednesdays with Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Turning the Table Thursday with Around My Family Table

Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen


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Homemade granola bars are one of my favorite things to bake.  I serve them for breakfast, lunch and snacks.  Making a 9 x 13 pan of granola bars will serve us for lunch one day and breakfast the next.  Love it. 

As usual, this recipe is very forgiving and very versatile – use what you have and what you like.

Homemade Granola Bars

by Blessed Roots Farm (https://blessedrootsblog.wordpress.com)

2 cups quick cooking oats

2 cups rolled oats

2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 cups add-ins (we love raisins or dried cranberries and chocolate chips)

1 cup combination of flax seeds, flax meal, sesame seeds and/or dried coconut

1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup all natural peanut butter

3/4 – 1 cup honey

2 eggs

3 tsp. vanilla extract

Splash of milk, if needed

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Butter the bottom of a 9 x 13 pan using the wrapper from your stick of butter. 

2.  In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients.

3.  In a small pot on the stove top, melt the butter over a low heat.  Remove from heat.  Stir in peanut butter, honey and vanilla.

4.  Add the eggs and other wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir to combine.  Make sure everything is moist, but not wet.  If you need to add a little more honey or a splash of milk to make everything moist, do so now.

5.  Dump the contents into your greased baking pan.  Press the mixture into the pan.

6.  Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until done.


I am sharing this recipe this week with the following:

Melt in Your Mouth Mondays

Meatless Mondays

These Chicks Cooked

Full Plate Thursday

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Since I posted my menu plan earlier this week, I have been dying to try this new bread recipe.  I’m not even sure how I happened upon Sumptuous Spoonfuls, but I do know I’ll be back.

I found a recipe she had shared for her Dad’s (I love that!) Soft and Wonderful Yogurt Bread.  It is a whole wheat bread, made with yogurt obviously, that supposedly stays soft and lovely for days.  Her pictures won me over.

Normally when I make bread, I make two loaves and knead them by hand.  Not because I don’t have a machine that can do it – I have both a Kitchen Aid mixer and a bread machine – but because I just love the feel of the dough.  I love getting my hands into it.

But there are times, many times, when lack of time and a dirty counter space make kneading by hand out of the question.  So, not only does this recipe look delicious, the instructions are for one loaf in the bread machine.  Dirty counter – check.  Very little time – check.  Today is the day.

Yogurt Bread in the Machine

I pulled my bread machine out of the back of my pantry, dusted it off, and dumped in the ingredients.  And wondered why I don’t use this machine more often.  I did substitute sucanat for the brown sugar, and I used all white whole wheat flour, since that is the only kind of flour I own.

I don’t bake my bread in the machine.  But, I will use the dough cycle to knead it and for the first rise.  Then, all I have to do is reshape and plop in my bread plan!  I’m going to get some things accomplished while my bread machine works its magic.  I have high hopes.  I’ll keep you posted 🙂 . . .

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Frying chopped onions in a frying pan

Image via Wikipedia

This recipe is definitely a family favorite.  I can usually whip this together with things I have in the house already, making it a great meal when I can’t get to the store.  And, it is delicious.  My husband and son will eat piles of this.  But, the best part about it in my opinion is that not only is all of the above true, but it is simple, versatile, inexpensive and healthy. I get very excited about that combination.

I usually triple this recipe to feed my family of seven.  If you happen to make too much, it makes wonderful leftovers!
Vietnamese Fried Rice
(modified from the More-with-Less cookbook by Doris Longacre)

Cook 1 1/2 c. brown rice or have 3 c. pre-cooked.
Heat in a large skillet:

4 T. cooking oil (I usually use olive oil or toasted sesame oil.)

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1 t. honey
1 1/2 T. soy sauce (I always use low sodium.)


Meat truly is optional in this recipe. I have cooked it with no meat, chicken, BBQ pork leftovers, and shrimp. All tasty. If you are adding raw meat, add about 1/4 to 1/2 lb. of meat with the above ingredients and cook along with the onions and the garlic, etc. If I am using leftover meat (which is most of the time), I throw it in after the onions are mostly cooked just to heat it up.

Stir-fry until meat is hot and/or onions are translucent.


Cooked rice. Stir and cook for about 5 minutes.


2 c. veggies ( I add more if I am going meatless). Oh, you need something more specific? Honestly, this is never the same twice for me. I use whatever I have on hand. Occasionally I will buy fresh bean sprouts to throw in because I am really fond of them, but mostly – whatever
I have. Peas, pea shoots, cut up green beans, chopped spinach, bok choy, shredded carrot, broccoli . . . Stir into rice mixture and allow the veggies to cook to desired tenderness.

Just before serving, add:

2 eggs, beaten

Over medium heat, stir the eggs carefully through the mixture until they are cooked.


I’ll be sharing this recipe with the following sites this week:

Melt in your Mouth Monday

My Meatless Mondays

Naptime Creations

These Chicks Cooked

Real Food Wednesday

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

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It was darn hard for me to control my urges and not dive into my stack of freshly printed new recipes this week.  I am dying to try them all!  However, Jason will be home for one dinner this week.  Now is not the time to try six new recipes.  Way too much effort with zero guarantee of appreciation.  I’ll have to hold myself back and just try two.  And, we have a birthday girl this week who gets to choose every meal on her special day!


Yogurt with fruit and homemade granola, clementines x 2

Oatmeal or granola with blueberries x 2

Vanilla Spice Smoothies, cereal bars

Baked Oatmeal, Maple Icing

Blueberry Coffee Cake (Birthday Girl pick)


Black Bean Quesadillas, veggies and dip

Baked or sweet potatoes, green beans, apples and peanut butter

Morning Glory Muffins (new recipe #1 – I’ll let you know what I think), fruit, raw milk cheddar cheese

Homemade Granola Bars (I really should post this recipe someday), veggies and dip

PB & J, veggies and dip, apples

Egg Salad Sandwiches, tortilla chips, fruit (Birthday Girl pick)


Lentils and Spinach, fruit

Swedish Meatballs (new recipe #2 – beyond excited to have found a real food recipe for these!!), brown rice, broccoli

Spaghetti with marinara sauce, spinach salad

Cream of Spinach Soup, bread, fruit

Pinto Bean Bowls (basically beans and traditional taco toppings in a bowl and tortilla chips as the spoons – very fun meal), tortilla chips

Pizza and Movie Night (Jason and I are going to a fundraiser and Nana is in charge), spinach salad

Tuna Crescents, peas, applesauce, CAKE AND ICE CREAM!!!!! (Birthday Girl pick)

So, that is the plan.  Life rarely goes as planned.  But I will be majorly disappointed if life interrupts my Swedish Meatballs.

Hop over to Menu Plan Monday and see what everyone else has cooking!

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