Saturday, April 27, 2024

Pepper Steak

2 lbs. beef round steak, grilled rare and thinly sliced in strips against grain.

In a small bowl whisk together the following. 
Set aside.
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 cup water
2 tsp sesame oil
2 TBSP corn starch
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp chopped ginger
Pinch cayenne
Pinch red pepper flakes
a dash of love

Choose any or all of the following vegetables and prepare for stir fry:
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper and red
1 cup carrots, sliced
1 cup broccoli flowerets
1 can small corn on cob, drained

Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a wok or large skillet. Begin with broccoli, carrots and onion, saute' until vegetables are almost tender. It helps to put a lid on to steam as well. Add the remaining items and continue to sauté' until everything is tender. 
Pour the soy sauce mixture in skillet with vegetables stir constantly until thickened. Cook sauce for 1 minute. Add cooked steak, stir until incorporated with sauce and veggies. Remove from heat.
Serve with rice.
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Friday, March 29, 2024

 Vegan Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake is a classic Easter dessert, so moist and flavorful, that everyone craves at this time of year. I found a recipe in 2022 and tweaked it for Katie to safely eat without losing any of the flavor. I made it in 2023 to take to her in-laws and since it was such a crowd pleaser, I will be making it again this year!


2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
3/4 cup almond milk with 2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup white raisins
1/2 cup crushed pineapple with some juice
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 cup vegan butter, cubed and softened
8 ounces vegan cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla 
4 cups confectioners' sugar
Walnuts, for garnish (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour 2 (8-inch) round cake pans.
  2. Measure milk and add 2 tsp cider vinegar, stir to create sour milk.
  3. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, brown sugar, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg.
  4. Add applesauce, pineapple, soured almond milk, oil and vanilla.  Stir to combine.
  5. Fold in carrots, raisins, and walnuts. Do not overmix.
  6. Pour cake batter evenly between the prepared pans, then bake for 35-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and tops of the cakes are set.
  7. Remove cakes from the oven and cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before carefully removing from pans. Allow cakes to cool completely on the wire rack before frosting.
  8. For the frosting, whip the vegan butter, vegan cream cheese and vanilla extract until combined. 
  9. Gradually add the confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy.
  10. Frost between layers, over the top and down the sides of the cake4.
  11. Garnish with additional chopped walnuts, if desired. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Thursday, October 6, 2022

Apple Crisp

1. Mix the following until it resembles crumbs. Place half of crumbs in bottom of square glass casserole dish.

 1 cup quick oats

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 stick melted butter or margarine

2. Peel, Core  and thinly slice 3-4 Granny smith Apples

3. Sprinkle the following over apples and stir until evenly coated. Place apples in dish.

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

4. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs over apples.

5. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

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Monday, August 22, 2022

Tuscan Herbed Chicken with Creamy Linguine

 I made a jar of Warm Tuscan Spice mix and use in on other foods. Measure the following dried herbs and ingredients. I use a coffee bean grinder to mix and then store in an airtight container.

1/4 cup Basil
2 TBSP Rosemary
2 TBSP Oregano
1 TBSP Garlic Powder
1 TBSP Cayenne Pepper

Tuscan Herbed Chicken with Creamy Linguine

2-3 Roma tomatoes
2 TBSP minced garlic (6 cloves)
2 TBSP Warm Tuscan Spice mix - divided
2 chicken breast, boneless-skinless
8 ounces Linguine 
3 ounces cream cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese - divided
4 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil

1. Cook pasta in large pan of salted water. drain but reserve 1cup of pasta water.
2. Dice tomatoes
3. Cut chicken into 1 inch strips. Pat dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper and 1 TBSP Warm Tuscan Spice Mix. Heat fry pan with drizzled olive oil. Brown chicken 4-6 minutes each side. Remove chicken, set aside.
4. Melt butter in same pan, sauté garlic and tomatoes with salt and pepper and remaining Tuscan Seasoning for 2-3 minutes until softened.
5. Stir in cream cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese with reserved pasta water. Bring to simmer.
6. Stir in cooked pasta.

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Friday, April 30, 2021

Pink Lemonade Body Scrub

 This is a refreshing, moisturizing body body scrub. Learn more about the benefits of Lemon Essential Oil.

1 1/2  cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil

1/2 cup coconut oil

15 - 20 drops essential lemon oil

a drop of red food coloring ( I use pink cake decorating color)

Makes about 12 oz I used three 4oz jars.


To increase or decrease recipe go to

To make a big batch for about 30 small jars use this recipe:

15 cups sugar ( 4lb bag = 9 cups)

5 cups coconut oil

5 teaspoons sweet almond oil, unscented

2 teaspoons essential oil

food coloring, optional

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Friday, February 12, 2021

Best Cutout Cookie Recipe

 I love the simplicity of this cookie dough! No need to refrigerate and it holds its shape perfectly! Just mix, cut and bake!  Yields 24-36

1 cup unsalted butter (Land O Lakes)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. In mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape sides of bowl.
3. Beat in egg, vanilla and almond extracts. Scrape sides of bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt until combined.
5. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients to creamy mixture a little at a time until combined.
6. If the dough looks crumbly mix for 30 - 60 seconds longer. The dough should be pulling away from the sides of the bowl.
7. Divide dough into 2 - 3 batches, roll out onto a floured surface at 1/4 inch thick, and cut shapes.
8. Bake at 350 for 6 - 8 minutes. 
9. Cool on cookie sheet until for 3- 5 minutes to finish setting then move to cooling rack.
10. Ice cookies when completely cool.

Royal Icing

2 lbs powdered sugar (7 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup meringue powder
2/3 cup warm water
1 TBSP vanilla

1. Place the meringue powder and warm water in the bowl or a stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat until it is combined and foamy. Let it sit for a few minutes.
2. Measure then sift the powdered sugar into a large separate bowl to get out all the lumps.
3. Add powdered sugar 2 cups at a time, mix at lowest speed until all sugar is used.
4. Once combined, add the vanilla extract. Beat at low-medium speed for 5 minutes or until the icing forms a stiff peak.
5. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap so the air bubbles have a chance to rise to the top.
6. Divide the royal icing into smaller bowls and color with gel food coloring. Stir well and tap bowl gently to help air bubbles rise to the top.
7. The icing for the above recipe creates the consistency for DETAILS like flowers.  
Using a spray bottle with water, spray and stir colored icing in the smaller bowls until it's the consistency of toothpaste for DIMENSION icing.
If you need it even thinner, continue to spray with water until it's the consistency of honey for FLOODING ICING.

I would suggest searching online for videos about making icing and decorating cookies. I've spent a lot of time experimenting and this is what I know so far.

Happy Baking,


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Saturday, January 30, 2021

My Cookie Obsession

 In December my husband and I were decorating Christmas Cookies and I remarked, "This isn't fun anymore." Then we reminisced about so many Christmas's past, when we had family over for baking cookies all day or when Tommy and Katie were decorating along side us. This year was different for so many reasons. We're older, the kids are older, Katie can't eat cookies any longer, and then there's COVID 19. Dad is gone now and he had such an insatiable sweet tooth.

But there were other things about decorating cookies that bothered me. First of all I didn't like the cutout dough by itself. I've tried many recipes over the thirty- plus years. Sometimes I thought I'd found the perfect recipe but eventually looked for another. Some dough would lose its shape and you had no idea if it was a stocking or angel. And the process was so time consuming. Mix. Divide and wrap. Refrigerate and wait. Roll. Cut. Bake. Decorate. 

Don't even get me started on trying to ice and decorate. Making all those batches of icing, dividing and coloring, trying to pour it into plastic bottles and squeezing until my hands hurt! And it was so darned sweet that I really didn't like to eat the cookies!

So, I decided that I would make cutouts each month of the new year, trying new recipes of dough and icing. I searched the internet and discovered so many new things and found a simple cutout dough that you just mix, roll, cut and bake! I also learned that I should use decorating bags and tips instead of bottles. 

The Winter Theme Results:

I love this dough but it's too salty even though I used unsalted butter. Note to self, my neighbor, Joyce, suggested that I use Land 'O Lakes brand because the unsalted is "more reliable". The cookies held the shape even though they puffed while baking.

I found and studied photos of decorated mittens and hats online that looked pretty easy. 

However,  squeezing the bags of icing while "decorating" was nearly impossible and my hands hurt so badly that sticking them in warm dishwater was soothing.  It also took hours to bake and decorate the batch.

Back to the drawing board! 

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

Heirloom Chocolate Chip Cookies

 from Betty Crocker's 1969 cookbook

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup Fleishman's margarine (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
Optional - 1 cup walnuts

1. Heat oven 375
2. Cream shortening, margarine, sugars, eggs and vanilla.
3. Blend Flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl. Stir into creamy batter.
4. Stir in chocolate chips
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon 2 inches apart onto parchment covered cookie sheets.
6.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes before removing from cookie sheet to rack.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Homemade Hot Cocoa

 This is so warm and creamy, especially when homemade with a pinch of love!

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup hot water
3  cups milk
1 cup half & half
1 tsp vanilla
dash of salt
pinch of love

Combine hot water, cocoa and sugar, stir until dissolved.
In a saucepan heat milk, half & half, salt and cocoa mixture until very hot, but not boiling.
Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Divide between 4 mugs. Top with whipped cream.

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Nutty Banana Muffins

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs ( or 1/2 cup applesauce)
1/2 cup butter milk (or almond milk
 with 1 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
3 or 4 bananas, mashed with a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts
sprinkle love on top

Mix ingredients in the order listed.  Pour into 24 lined cupcake tins.  Bake at 400 for 5 minutes, turn down to  350 for 15 to 20 minutes. 

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Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Pumpkin Muffins

1 1/2  cups flour
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove
1/8 tsp ginger
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs or 1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1/3 cup water
half can 14-15 ounce can pumpkin (solid pack)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
pinch of love

Combine all dry ingredients in mixing bowl. Add eggs (or applesauce), apple cider vinegar, oil, water and pumpkin, mix well. Add walnuts and love.
Pour into 12 lined muffin tins. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake at 400 for 5 minutes then turn oven temperature down to 350 for at least 20 minutes. Check center with toothpick; if it's not done then continue baking for 5 or 10 more minutes.
Cool pans on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove muffins to continue cooling on racks.
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Good as Apple Pie Muffins

This is the standard muffin recipe with a few variations.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk or almond milk
1 egg or 1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp? Apple Pie spice
1 heaping cup peeled, diced Granny Smith Apples

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until combined.
Add the apples and gently fold into batter with a spatula until incorporated.
Fill 12 muffin liners. Sprinkle with course sugar. Bake at 400 degrees on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.
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Zucchini Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs or 3/4 cup applesauce
1 cup vegetable oil
1-1/4 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
3 cups shredded zucchini
a dash of love

Combine the first 6 dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
Beat the eggs ( or applesauce), oil, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla, apple cider vinegar together. Add the dry ingredients gradually until well mixed. Add the shredded zucchini, stir well.
Don't forget the love!

Pour into 24 lined muffin tins. Sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
Bake 20 - 25 minutes. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove muffins and place on cooling racks.

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Chocolate Chip Muffins

 1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup milk or almond milk
1 egg or 1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1  cup Chocolate Chips

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and mix until combined.
Add the chocolate chips and gently fold into batter with a spatula until incorporated.
Fill 12 muffin liners. Sprinkle with course sugar. Bake at 375 degrees on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

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