Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Just a few of the plants that I planted a month ago.. the above is a yellow squash that my daughter paid 25 cents for 4.. they were half dead but look how well this one had done in only a month.

This one even has a baby squash on it and I have lots of herbs growing which I've already been eating and drying for this winter..
Several pots of basil

This pot has oregano, basil and parsley

more basil, rosemary, chives and green onion

Today a local store had all their pots on clearance
$6 for these large ones

$2 for this green pot
and potting soil $1 a bag
I bought 10 bags

In my kitchen window I've got cucumbers seeds
they will be planted in one of the large pots and green beans in the rest of the pots.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Caramel Apple Monkey Bread Baked in Crock Pot's New Casserole Pot

I didn't even know Crock Pot had made a casserole pot until I stumbled across this one at a Kroger store.
Loving crock pots like I do (I only owned 8 of them)
This baby came home with me making it my 9th pot :-)

First day I baked enchiladas in it, second day I baked baby back ribs.. everything turned out delicious and perfectly done.
So then my devious mind went to work thinking up what else I might use it for..
I started wondering whether I could bake in it.. maybe something like monkey bread.. 
Here's what I did and the results:
BTW don't ask for a recipe because I don't have one, I just used what I had and could fix up myself such as caramel sauce which I will share that recipe with you.

Chopped and slightly cooked 4 apples with a bit of lemon juice and sugar. I wanted to get all the moisture out of them.
 Then I poured a bit of white sugar into a bowl and added cinnamon until it looked good to me.

Chopped up and toasted a bit of pecans.. you can toast them in the microwave, just drizzle on a bit of olive oil and do in 30 second increments, stirring each time and checking until their the way you want them.. go slowly, they do burn easily if cooked too long.

 Once all the moisture is out of the apples, spread them on a plate to cool.
While their cooling make the caramel sauce:

Put in a sauce pan
1 cup of packed brown sugar
1/2 cup of half and half or cream
4 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil and simmer until thick stirring frequently..
Once thick add 1 tablespoon of vanilla and simmer again until as thick as you want..

Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and sit it aside to cool
Now you're ready to assemble the monkey bread

I used two cans of cheap biscuits for this.. 
cut each biscuit in quarters and toss in the sugar/cinnamon mixture
After you have one can sugared, lay them out in the bottom of the greased casserole dish.
Spread the apples over top, add the nuts and then cut and sugar the second can of biscuits and lay them on top.. sorry I forgot to take a picture of the separate layers.. but there are two of them, biscuits on bottom, apples and nuts in the middle with the last can of biscuits on top..
Drizzle the melted butter on top and then the caramel over it all.
Cover and bake on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.. I started out on low then got impatient and turned it to high.  just keep a check on them, you can tell if their done by pinching a center piece of dough..
here they are when they were done.. you can see where I pinched off a tiny piece of a biscuit :-)
I let them sit for 5 minutes before turning out onto a platter..
I learned something.. not only is the casserole dish heavy it's hard to flip over so the next time I bake something in it, I'm going to remove piece by piece using a spatula.. or just leave it in the dish.. 
Here it is upside down out of the pan
 Will I do this again? 
I sure will.. its fun, easy and no oven heat..

Friday, October 23, 2015

Main Street Meatloaf using Dehydrated Veggies

This is a recipe that came with my FoodSaver..  
I made a few changes such as using dehydrated veggies but the basic recipe is still the same.. 
All the dried foods came from my garden and was dried in my Excalibur

4 tablespoons dried onions 
4 tablespoons dried celery
4 tablespoons dried chopped or shredded carrots
3 tablespoons dried chopped mushrooms
3 tablespoons dried chopped red, orange and yellow bell peppers
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 cloves garlic, minced (I used fresh)
1/2 cup light cream or milk
1/2 cup ketchup
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 lb of savory pork sausage
3/4 cup bread crumbs 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup tomato sauce
3 thick slices of bacon

place all dried vegetables (not herbs) in a bowl and cover with boiling water.. let sit for about an hour then drain. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Coat a large rectangular baking dish with cooking spray.
Place everything except the topping ingredients in a large bowl and mix thoroughly either by hand or using a Kitchen Aid mixer..
Shape into a loaf and place in baking pan.
Mix the tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce together and spread over loaf.. place bacon on top and bake for 45 minutes or until internal temp reaches 162
Remove from oven, loosely cover and let rest for 15 minutes. 
Slice and enjoy
One of the best meatloaf recipes I've found.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Cooking With Dehydrated Apples

Last fall I dehydrated about 30 pounds of apples, we've ate all but 2 pint jars.  The more I use them the more idea's I'm coming up with.

I like to cook them in apple juice, sugar and a couple tablespoons of lemon juice... apple juice isn't necessary but adds greatly to the flavor.  They make a nice side dish for pork and really good just as a dessert..  

This morning my daughter ate some on waffles and as I was watching her enjoy her breakfast it came to me they just might be delicious in cinnamon rolls..
So I made my usual batch of rolls, added the normal cinnamon, butter, sugar, nuts and on top of that I spread out the rest of the apples, rolled them up and sliced and baked.

After they cooled I added my standard icing which I like to use almond extract in place of vanilla.. 

Here's one cut in half and its really delicious..


Monday, July 27, 2015

Dehydrating Herbs

This is what is in my dehydrator today
Chives, green onions, basil, sage, oregano, thyme and a white onion because I had an empty tray.
Yesterday I dried 20 limes
Our local Mexican store had them 10 cents each
Plus beautiful jalapeno peppers for 99 cents a pound.
Going to be some good eats this winter

Monday, July 20, 2015

Easy and Delicious Zucchini or Banana Bread

Have you ever wanted to make zucchini or banana bread that was soft and light like what the store sells?  Or those expensive muffins that we all love but don't like the price or the amount of calories?
I have found out how to do it.
You can use my basic method to make any kind of bread you wish by changing the add in ingredients.. I've tried just about everything I can think of and it has never failed me.
This batch I made today has 2 cups of zucchini, one banana, two handfuls of blueberries and half cup chopped pecans.

What you need is one box of yellow or white cake mix
 (yes, I know we've all saw those recipes on the net using cake mix to make muffins, I don't know if theirs is good or not but how I make mine really works)

Add in's.. Two cups (you can use a bit more if you wish) of what ever you want:
Grated zucchini
Crushed ripe banana's
Chunks of strawberries
Orange zest (but not two cups) :-)
Diced sweetened cranberries
Diced apples
Grated carrots
let your imagine go wild here..
What I meant about the orange zest is if you want to make cranberry orange bread, it really kicks it up a notch to add a teaspoon of orange zest and use orange juice for the liquid.

To make your batter, add everything the box of cake mix calls for except for the liquid.
My box called for 3 eggs and 1/3 cup oil

Place it all in a large mixing bowl and add your zucchini or whatever you've chosen.  I used one banana and two cups of zucchini.
Mix it all together with a hand mixer 

Dump the box of cake mix on top and beat until well mixed
The batter will be thick and that's how you want it because this is where the fun part comes in..
If you've made cakes before then you already know the consistency of a cake batter.. 
Now it's time to decide on the wet ingredient.
I'm sure the box says to use water but 
wet ingredient choices are:
spiced rum
apple juice
orange juice
mixed berry juice
etc. etc.
Choose something that goes well with the fruit/veggie you've used..

I love to use spiced rum when making just straight banana bread but this bread was going to have blueberries folded in so I used 
Apple juice
only as much as needed for the right consistency, I usually start with half the amount of liquid the box called for, you can always add a splash more if needed but you can't take it back out. 
Here it is after adding the apple juice and folding in the blueberries
Not too runny or too thick
I like baking sweet breads in a bunt pan
Bake at the same temp the box calls for which is usually 350 degrees but expect it to take a bit longer then usual.
This batch took 50 minutes.. bake until a tooth pick comes out clean..
of course muffins will bake faster. 
There you go.. 
Another perfect sweet bread
In the morning, grab a cup of coffee, a slice of sweet bread and kick back and reflect on all the healthy ingredients you put in it
veggies, fruit, fruit juice, eggs and nuts
I hope you give this a try