I love baking and cooking! Join me as I explore new recipes, old favorites, and healthier options.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gingerbread Play Dough

Birthday party in December...must have gingerbread scented play dough!
Makes the house smell like Christmas!
Gingerbread Play Dough
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 cups water
3 tbsp. oil
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ginger

Mix all ingredients in a large pan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture reaches a "dough" consistency.  Remove from heat.  Knead dough for 5 minutes.  Add color with food coloring.  (I tried liquid and paste - both worked equally well.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Our favorite family treat...smoothies!  We enjoy them so much, we often have smoothies and popcorn for dinner.  Could be bad, but with a healthy recipe like this, it's a guilt-free indulgence.
fresh fruit
frozen fruit

Sometimes simple is best!  Add fresh fruit to bottom of blender.  Next add frozen fruit until blender is 3/4 full.  Add vanilla (to taste).  Add milk until level is even with the top of frozen fruit.  Puree until smooth.

Here's a few of our favorite flavors:
banana mango
strawberry banana mango
banana strawberry blueberry

Monday, November 15, 2010


Nothing quite like chili on a cold fall day.  Keep it simple with ready to go ingredients and a crock pot.
 Crock Pot Chili
2 cans chopped chicken breast, undrained
1 can black beans, undrained
1 can pinto beans, undrained
1 can chili beans, undrained
2 cans diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans tomato sauce (large)
1 cup chopped onion (or rehydrated onion flakes)
1 bag frozen chopped onion/pepper blend (onions with green, red, and yellow bell peppers)
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
4 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. cocoa powder
large pinch red pepper flakes

Dump everything in the crock pot.  Simmer for 3-4 hours.  Enjoy!
I loved all the colors after adding the spices.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


What do you do when your husband comes home with a HUGE bag of apples from a co-worker's tree?  Make applesauce, of course.  Growing up, I watched mom make applesauce every year, so applesauce brings back memories.  I didn't have any fancy equipment, but applesauce is simple.  Try it!
Ingredient:  lots of apples

Peel, core, and chop your apples.  Dump all those apples into a large pot.  You'll end up with something like this.
Cook them on medium heat for a couple of hours, stirring occasionally.  When the apples soften, mash with a potato masher.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Taco Soup

This should be titled "Dinner in 10".
Today was a busy one at our house.  This afternoon I looked at the clock and thought...
10 minutes until dinner.
What in the world can I make?
Ten minutes later, my husband walks in an dinner is ready to go.
Do you have a favorite "Dinner in 10" recipe?
Taco Soup
1 can chicken breast
1 can tomato soup
1 can tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can green beans
1 can corn
1 pkg. taco seasoning

Open all those cans.  Dump everything into a pot.  Cook until thoroughly heated.  Serve!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Apple Friendship Bread

After several rounds of traditional Amish friendship bread, I was looking for something healthier.
I found a fantastic alternate recipe and adapted it.  Yum!
Guilt-free friendship bread.
Apple Amish Friendship Bread
1 c. flour
1 c. white wheat flour
1/3 c white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 C. AFB starter
3 eggs
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp vanilla
2-3 shredded apples (Granny Smith tastes best)

Mix all ingredients together.  Stir well.  Pour batter into two well-greased loaf pans. Bake 50 minutes at 350, or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  Place pans on rack to cool completely before removing.  Stores well in fridge or freezer wrapped well in plastic wrap.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Teriyaki Stir Fry

I love teriyaki.  Not all the sugar I found in some recipes.  Try this one for that sweet/sour taste.
And have you tried these great Pyrex containers.  I LOVE them!  Perfect for lunches.
Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 diced onion
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped
2 cups sliced bell peppers (I used a mix of red, yellow, & green)
2 cups sliced carrots
pineapple juice from one can of pineapple chunks
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground pepper

Cook the onions and garlic in oil until onions are tender.  Add chicken, peppers, and carrots.  Cook until chicken is no longer pink.  Whisk remaining ingredients in small bowl.  Add to chicken mixture.  Cook until thicker and bubbly.  Serve over rice.  

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Blueberry Pancakes

Saturday morning at my house means blueberry pancakes.  Try them!
Blueberry Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup whole wheat or white wheat flour
1/3 cup powdered milk
3/4 to 1 cup water (do you want thick or thin pancakes)
2 Tbsp. oil
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups blueberries

Beat egg until fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients (except blueberries).  Stir until smooth.  Fold in blueberries.  Cook on griddle.

We like to top them with peanut butter, applesauce, sliced fruit, syrup, and whipped cream.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Swirly Bread

Sometimes my kids resist wheat bread.  I thought I'd try a compromise.  They loved the fun factor, and it's encourages more whole grains.  Cool all around!
I made two batches of the bread recipe below.  One using all whole wheat flour (I prefer white wheat flour), and one batch using white flour.  Then I took enough dough for 1/2 a loaf of white dough and rolled it into a rectange.  Next I took enough dough for 1/2 a loaf of wheat dough and rolled it into a rectangle.  I placed the wheat rectange on top of the white rectangle and pushed it together a bit with the rolling pin.  Next I rolled dough up starting with the short end, and tucked in the ends.  Then I just baked it as usual.

Renee's Bread
1 cup milk (warm)
1 1/2 tbsp. butter (softened)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg (lightly beaten)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tbsp. sugar
1 3/4 tsp. yeast

Place all ingredients in a large bowl in the order listed.  Stir in bowl until all ingredients are well mixed.  Kneed by hand on a floured surface for 10 minutes.  Place dough in a greased bowl.  Cover.  Allow to rise in a warm place until double in size (approx. 1 hour).  Shape into a loaf.  Place in a greased bread pan.  Cover.  Allow dough to rise until double in size (approx. 30 minutes).  Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.  Remove from pan immediately and cool on a wire rack.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mom's Breadsticks

Maybe they should be Brenda's Breadsticks. But they'll always be Mom's to me. We love to make a huge batch and freeze them for a quick side. Yum!Mom's Breadsticks
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 ½ cup warm water
2 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
3 cups flour
½ cube butter
garlic salt
parmesan cheese


Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Add salt & flour. Mix together 3 minutes. Raise 20 minutes. Melt butter & brush half onto cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookie sheet with garlic salt, parmesan, and parsley. Roll dough to size of cookie sheet. Cut in 1 inch strips. Place on cookie sheet. Brush with butter. Sprinkle with garlic salt, parsley & parmesan cheese. Raise 20 minutes. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fruity Popsicles

Looking for a way to beat the heat?
Try this frozen snack.
Your kids will love it!
Fruity Popsicles
2 cups fruit
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. vanilla (I prefer imitation in non-baked goods)
Blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into molds. Insert sticks. Freeze.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pots de Creme

After discovering an old recipe for pots de creme,
I wondered if I could make it low-sugar.
I read many online recipes, then created my own. Chocolate Pots de Creme
1 cup milk
1 cup high cacoa chocolate chips
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
Heat milk until nearly boiling - stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Add eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat until smooth. Pour into small glass cups. Bake for 40-45 minutes until set. Serve warm or chilled with whipped cream.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Nutty Nuggets

Modeled after Mexican Wedding Cookies, these nut-filled cookies will satisfy your sweet tooth with protein. Nutty Nuggets
1 cup butter, softened
4 Tbsp. powdered sugar
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups finely chopped nuts
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Roll dough into small, round balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and serve.

Apricot Lemon Squares

Today I made lemon bars.
They sounded so good.
I figured there must be a low-sugar way to make them.
My new favorite dessert. Apricot Lemon Squares
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 cup pureed dried apricots
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs
Mix flour, butter, and powdered sugar. Pressed into ungreased 9x9 pan. Bake 20 minutes at 350. Puree dried apricots, lemon juice, and vanilla. Pour mixture into medium bowl. Add baking powder, salt, and eggs. Beat well. Pour apricot mixture into hot crust. Bake 25-30 miutes until set. Cool in pan. Cut into squares and serve.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Peach Apricot Jam

Add something fruity to your morning toast.
When the peaches from my peach tree ripened, it was jam time. Peach Apricot Jam
2 cups pureed peaches
2 cups pureed dried apricots
Puree peaches in food processor or blender. Puree dried apricots. Mix together. Store in freezer. Thaw before serving. Spread on your favorite toast, bagel, or English muffins. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Cake

When I needed a cake for my baby's 1st birthday, I adapted a recipe. He loved it! Cinnamon Raisin Cake
3/4 cup apple juice
1/2 cup raisin
1/2 cup prunes
1/2 cup dates
1/2 cup whole raisins
1/4 cup butter
2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup whole white wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbsp. baking powder
pureed prunes
Pureed juice, raisins, prunes, and dates. Add pureed fruit to large bowl. Stir in remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into greased 8 inch square pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean). Cool. Frost with pureed prunes. Serve.