Archive for the ‘recipe’ Category

I just made this delicious summer salad, first posted by Elizabeth Rider at Whole Living Blog and reposted by Alina at My Yellow Umbrella.  Thanks ladies!


Black Bean & Quinoa Salad
Prep Time: 15 min
Total Time: 20 min
Serves 4-6

Ingredients for the dressing:

•1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
•2 tbsp Agave Nectar (or Honey, but I prefer Agave as it’s low-glycemic)
•1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
•1 Tsp Cumin
•1 Clove Pressed Garlic
Ingredients for the Salad:

•3/4 Cup Dry Quinoa
•1 Can Whole Black Beans
•1 Red Bell Pepper
•1 Handful Cilantro
•1 Bunch Green Onion (about 7-9 onions)


1.Combine all dressing ingredients in bowl and set aside to allow the garlic to diffuse.
2.Cook quinoa according to package instructions.  (With whole grains in general, double the amount of water for the amount of grains you are cooking, combine water and grains in a pot, bring to a boil, then simmer until the water is cooked into the grains.  In this case, 1.5 cups of water and 3/4 cup quinoa should take about 15-20 minutes to cook. Careful to not let it burn!)
3.While the quinoa is cooking, chop the red bell pepper and green onion into small pieces.
4.Drain and rinse the black beans.  Make sure to give them a good run under the water and drain out completely.
5.Give the cilantro a medium chop.
6.Combine all ingredients and dressing and fold together. Salt and black pepper to taste. (Can be served warm or chilled, and keeps in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.)


I substituted a mixture of white, red & black quinoa and used honey because that’s all I had on hand.   I also only had 1/2 of a red pepper, but it still tasted excellent.


Great recipe to bring to a party!

Taco Mound    

Layer on a serving platter or quiche dish, in this order:

Mix together and spread on top:

  • 1 16-oz. container sour cream
  • 1 1-oz. package taco seasoning

Add fresh pico de gallo salsa made with:

  • 3 chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 sweet or Vidalia onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, pressed
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime (taste it and perhaps you’ll use both halves)
  • fresh cilantro, chopped (a handful)
  • olive oil (splash)
  • salt & pepper
  • Tabasco pepper sauce (a few shakes) or part of a fresh jalapeño pepper, minced

Top with:

  • 1 bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese or Mexican Style Finely Shredded Cheese (a blend of Cheddar, Monterey Jack & other cheeses)

Serve with tortilla corn chips. (We like TOSTITOS®  Scoops or Hint of Lime.)

This is so delicious and people always ask for the recipe!

 Thanks Sarah!

Okay so if most of your family doesn’t like seafood you can’t make traditional caesar dressing with anchovies.

We’ve found a delicious substitute which makes us want to have extra helpings of salad!

Caesar Dressing

  • 1 tsp. freshly grated lemon zest (I zest the entire lemon with my Microplane and add it all)
  • 3 TBSP. fresh lemon juice (Always use a real lemon – never bottled!)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (always use fresh garlic – never from a jar.  I press two large cloves with my Garlic Press.)
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt (I use Real Salt from Utah.)

This recipe is from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins © 1989 (Authors of The Silver Palate Cookbook & several more.)

Serve over romaine lettuce, with Kraft Shredded Parmesan cheese and croutons.   If you have a Cheese Grater, then definitely use a hunk of authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano or asiago.

Eat with crusty bread and red wine.


This summer I had a super-yummy Sangria.  Here you go:

  • Barefoot “Sweet Red” wine 1.5 Liter bottle, chilled
  • De Kuyper Peachtree peach schnapps 1/3 of the 1 Liter bottle
  • Club Soda 3/4 of the 1 Liter bottle
  • Lemonade to taste
  • Cut up fruit (green apples, oranges, fresh cherries) and let soak all day!

Different and refreshing (although “girly” for sure!)

Thanks Sarah! 😉

One of the food crafts I attempted in 2010 was Cake Pops.  I had been admiring Bakerella‘s website for a couple of years, and had her book on my wishlist, but didn’t try making them until I had a reason to make them for our son’s birthday

By Christmastime I had gotten better and decided to make Cake Balls  to use for Christmas cookie exchanges and gift-giving.  I served several hundred at a special holiday community dinner, and most of the guests were retirees.  In order to sound fancier than “cake balls” for the senior crowd, I called them “holiday truffles”.                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             I made several varieties such as:

 Holiday Birthday Cake (basic cake pop recipe – yellow cake, mixed with storebought red frosting in a 16 oz can [for certain holidays you can find Baker’s Corner frosting in colors such as red/green/blue at Aldi], dipped in white chocolate, topped with Christmas tree sprinkles) This is what the kids like the best! Delish! 

Coconut Chocolate Cake (chocolate cake, mixed with chocolate frosting in a can, dipped in milk chocolate, rolled in coconut)

Peanut Butter White Chocolate Cake (chocolate cake, mixed with peanut butter instead of frosting, dipped in white chocolate, rolled in crushed salted peanuts) This ended up being a little dry so the next time I experimented with a mixture of icing and p.b. which turned out better.

Cream Cheese Toffee Cake (yellow cake, mixed with a tub of whipped cream cheese instead of frosting, dipped in milk chocolate, rolled in HEATH Milk Chocolate English Toffee Bits) This one was a good combo!








Hazelnut Chocolate Cake (yellow cake, mixed with Nutella hazelnut spread instead of frosting, dipped in milk chocolate, topped with Betty Crocker Cupcake Gems Gold Sugar) Very subtle Nutella flav – yum!

Orange Chocolate Craisin Cake (yellow cake, white frosting from a can, dipped in milk chocolate which has a little pure orange extract mixed in, topped with a Craisin dried cranberry)

Basic Cake Balls (basic cake pop recipe – yellow cake, white frosting from a can, dipped in milk chocolate, topped with colored sugar) The toothpick holes usually got covered up by the sprinkles but by the end of these batches we got a little lazy! LOL!

Aren’t they fancy? 

This is my grandmother’s antique settee.

My friend Jean brought this to a church coffee hour and everyone raved.  I’ve since made it many times, for Thanksgiving and Christmastime, cookie exchanges, church events, potlucks, neighbors and friends.  Fantastic recipe!

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Oatmeal Crust/Topping:
2 cups flour
1¼ cups quick cooking oatmeal
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature

Cheescake Filling:
12 ounces cream cheese (1 1/2 bricks), softened to room temperature (I just used two 8 oz. pkgs)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Cranberry Filling:

1 16-ounce can of whole berry cranberry sauce
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Crust: In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, oatmeal and brown sugar.  Using a pastry blender cut in the butter until resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1½ cups of the crumbs for topping.

Press remaining crumbs into greased 13 X 9 inch pan.  Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.

Filling:  Meanwhile in the same bowl beat cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, lemon juice, and vanilla. Spread over hot baked layer.  Stir together corn starch and cranberry sauce; spoon carefully over cream cheese mixture.

Topping:  Sprinkle with reserved 1 1/2 c. crumbs.  Bake 40 minutes more at 350° or until set.  Cool on rack and chill at least 3 hours.  Cut into bars.

This is a dense and hearty bar cookie, with a good balance of sweet and tart.  It’s great for the fall and winter holidays.

 These are great for school instead of birthday cupcakes, or a fun treat for party favors! 



Pretzel rods (either break long ones in half and dip the broken end, or use these smaller Snyder’s rods which are perfect for little hands!

Baker’s Dipping Chocolate (dark or white) This is the kind to melt in the microwave.  It’s the perfect size for one big batch. 

Sprinkles or cupcake decor, jimmies, colored sugar, mini m&m’s, etc.  We have found that the decor sprinkles work the best.


Melt chocolate according to the directions, dip about 2/3 of the pretzel, and place on waxed paper or plastic wrap-covered cookie sheets. 

While the chocolate is still hot (wet), add the colorful décors.   I usually do the dipping and the kids sprinkle as soon as I’ve put the pretzel down.   

And this is what happens when your preschooler helps:

It’s a pretzel line

Or a snake

Or a train

Wrap in cellophane bags and tie with a ribbon, or put two pretzel rods in ziplock baggies, and sell at your next bake-sale.  I think we sold them for 25 cents per small rod.


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