Delicious Grilled Potatoes

I made the most delicious grilled potatoes the night before last and can't wait to share them with my readers! While my family had chocolate zucchini cake with whipped cream for dessert I had a second helping of potatoes. I got the better end of the deal.

I used fresh herbs from my garden to make them and although I can't say if the dried versions will be as tasty I'm sure they will be fine. If you have fresh herbs, please use them.

Delicious Grilled Potatoes

6 baking potatoes with skins, quartered or sliced to about 2 1/2 inch pieces
1 T freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c olive oil
2 T garlic powder
2 t fresh rosemary
1 t fresh thyme

Boil the potatoes about 10 minutes until they are tender. Drain and toss gently with the rest of the ingredients making sure to completely cover all sides of each potato. Preheat your grill and grill 10 minutes or so, be sure to turn on all sides. Reserve the marinade and pour back over the finished potatoes before serving.Print Friendly and PDF


Grilled Zucchini

Noted:  Looking back on my early posts in 2006/2007 - back when I had to take the pictures on a camera and literally plug into my computer with a cord to upload them.  Also - it was rare for anyone to even have recipe blogs back then so the photos and the posts are almost 'vintage' by now.

1-2 fresh zucchini sliced in 3/4 inch slices
3/4 c organic Italian Dressing
4 t fresh minced garlic
salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Marinate for 2 hours and grill over medium heat until tender and golden.









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Zucchini Pancakes or Patties

Some of you will not want to try this recipe because it doesn't have exact amounts. I can't personally imagine cooking or baking using only exact, precise measurements and following a recipe to a tee... but that's just me. 

 I eyeball most measurements and add and delete as I feel fit. 

For this recipe you start with as much grated zucchini as you either; A. need to use up or B. need to feed your family. 

Just wash the zucchini and grate or shred - don't peel it. When you have a pile add an egg or two based on how much you have and some bread crumbs to make it all stick together to form a batter. Italian Zucchini Pancakes Patties 

Grated zucchini 


Bread crumbs - italian flavored is great, but you can use plain too 

Parmesan cheese 

Salt and pepper 

Coarsely grate amount of zucchini you want. Add the rest of the ingredients to make a thick batter, drop by spoonfuls to fry in a hot pan with oil until golden brown. Lay briefly on a paper towel to drain. Sprinkle extra parmesan and a little salt and pepper.







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Grapefruit Raspberry Sparkler

Note: this recipe was originally posted in July of 2007.  At the time Splenda was the only widely available sweetener for those not wanting to use sugar.  Now, there are many natural sweeteners available and so easy to find/order online!  So use your favorite natural sweetener.

This recipe comes straight from Splenda and ever since I saw it my mouth has been watering. I'm going to make it the way the recipe is written the first time, but since I usually have a Fresca or Squirt style soda on hand (I love grapefruit soda!) I am going to use that next time. It won't be quite as sweet, but that is perfect for me as I don't like things overly sweet. This would explain (again) why I choose vegetables over dessert or candy. LOL.

Grapefruit Raspberry Sparkler

1 cup fresh raspberries or unsweetened frozen raspberries, thawed
1 1/4 cups grapefruit juice
3 tablespoons natural sweetener or 5 Splenda packets
1 1/3 cups diet lemon-lime soda

Process raspberries, grapefruit juice, and sweetener in a blender until smooth. Press mixture through a sieve into a pitcher; discard solids.
FILL 4 tall glasses with ice and pour about 1/2 cup of the raspberry mixture into each one. Add 1/3 cup of the soda to each glass. Serve immediately.

Update in 2019:  Natural Sweeteners can be found locally or on Amazon.

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Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Noted:  Looking back on my early posts in 2006/2007 - back when I had to take the pictures on a camera and literally plug into my computer with a cord to upload them.  Also - it was rare for anyone to even have recipe blogs back then so the photos and the posts are almost 'vintage' by now.

Yesterday I had more zucchini to use up and the kids and husband are tired of seeing it in one form or another at dinner, so it was time to break out the dessert recipes. These are the recipes they wait patiently for each summer when the zucchini is prolific! I've posted my recipe for chocolate zucchini bread before, but as I made 2 loaves of it yesterday my pans were in use and I decided to use the same recipe to make it into a bundt cake. This recipe has been used too many times to count and it comes out perfectly each time. Whether you make it as 2 loaves of bread or one zucchini cake doesn't matter... the point is, just make it!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1 3/4 c sugar
3 eggs
1 c vegetable oil
2 c shredded zucchini
1 T vanilla
3 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/4 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 t cinnamon
dash baking powder
1/2 c mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a bundt pan. In a bowl mix together the sugar, eggs and oil until blended. Stir in zucchini and vanilla. In another bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, soda, cinnamon and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until blended. Add the mini chocolate chips. Pour into pan and bake 1 hour until done. Cool completely and drizzle with chocolate frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Citrus Coleslaw

When I saw this recipe I tried to picture in my mind, what it would taste like. The orange juice and honey reminded me of a coleslaw I had at a restaurant about a year ago that I've never been able to duplicate. I thought this might be the one so I was excited to try it. Sadly, it wasn't. It wasn't even close.

This recipe was not a hit in our home. The kids tried it (they have to - we have a three bite rule in our family) but in the end, none of us ate much of it, me included. I don't want to give the impression it was a bad salad though! It was quite good if you like a strong orange juice citrus taste in your salads. We aren't a family big on fruit with our vegetables and meats (strawberry spinach salad doesn't go over well here, nor does cranberry sauce on turkey or chicken, etc.). My husband remarked he thought this coleslaw would go well with grilled shrimp because of the citrus flavor. Perhaps. You be the judge!

Citrus Coleslaw


1 orange, zest it to get 1 t of zest and juice it to get 2 tablespoons of fresh orange juice
1/4 c rice vinegar
1 1/2 T canola oil
2 T honey
2 T fresh cilantro
1/2 t salt


1/2 head red cabbage, shredded to make approximately 2 cups
2 large carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
2 green onion tops sliced thin

Mix the dressing ingredients and set aside. Mix the salad portion and just before serving drizzle the dressing over the salad and mix. Serve.Print Friendly and PDF


Simple Chocolate Pie

So simple it doesn't even really need a recipe, it's quick and easy and perfect for a warm summer evening dessert.

This week I saw in my grocer's freezer, they had frozen prepared pie crusts on sale extremely cheap. The reason? I don't think many people buy the 'regular' crusts anymore, as compared to what is called 'deep dish'. I do feel it's important to point out that the 'deep dish' pies you find in the grocery today are really, truly just 'regular' pies - not deep at all! Like most American products, they scale down the size little by little (but not the price) until you are getting almost nothing for your money. The regular pie crusts hold so little filling that any recipe you find to make from scratch is going to make 2 of the store bought pies unless you spring for the supposed "deep dish".

Hope that wasn't too confusing. So! Because the 'regular' pie crusts hold about 1/2 inch of filling before spilling over, LOL, they were on clearance and I bought 2 packages. Good thing I did because this week I wanted to make a quick dessert, but didn't feel like making pie crusts!

I made a strawberry pie and because the other pie crust was ready and waiting, I baked it too. Cooled, filled, placed in the freezer and brought it out for dinner.

Simple Chocolate Pie

1 box sugar free cook style pudding
1 1/2 c milk
1 c heavy whipping cream
1/4 c splenda or sugar
1 t vanilla
1 baked and cooled pie shell (regular small size)

Cook the pudding with 1 1/2 c milk over the stove until it just comes to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Let cool while you whip the heavy cream with the sugar and vanilla. Pour the chocolate filling into the pie crust. Refrigerate or freeze to cool. Add the whipped cream to the top and decorate with chocolate curls or sprinkles as desired.

*** Yes you can use a box of instant pudding. I personally don't like the chemical taste of instant, that is the only reason I use the cooked version.Print Friendly and PDF


Simple Entertaining Idea

We recently hosted a small get together with friends and when it came to drinks I wanted to be sure we offered many choices. We had beer and wine along with sodas, bottled water, juice boxes for the kids as well as iced tea. I made regular iced tea and sugar free but wanted it to be obvious which was which.

This was a simple idea that worked perfectly as even the children that couldn't read yet knew that the one with the tag was the sugar free version. I took a little decorated card scrap that had gold swirls on it, and wrote "sugar free" with a gold metallic marker. I punched a hole in the corner and stuck a rubber band through the hole, around the handle and then pulled the card through.

Done!Print Friendly and PDF

Walnut Pie

It isn't very often that a dessert recipe (or any recipe for 'sweets') makes my mouth water. I don't care for chocolate and I typically accept a second helping of vegetables in place of a slice of dessert, but this pie has had me thinking about since I saw it. I have a container of hickory nuts in the cupboard that are just begging to be put to good use. I'm thinking this pie might be the ticket.

Soon after posting this recipe I just had to go make it!
YUM! It's like a cheesecake on the bottom with a pecan pie on top.

Walnut Pie

1 package 8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs, divided
¾ c sugar, divided
4 t vanilla extract, divided
½ c light corn syrup
3 T butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 c walnut pieces, toasted
1 pie crust - unbaked

Preheat oven to 350. Beat cream cheese, one of the eggs, ¼ cup of the sugar and one teaspoon of the vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended and smooth. Spread evenly on bottom of unbaked crust. Bake 15 minutes.

Beat remaining two eggs and ½ cup sugar with wire whisk in large bowl until very smooth. Add corn syrup, melted butter, remaining three teaspoons vanilla and salt; stir until well blended. Sprinkle nuts evenly over bake cream cheese layer. Slowly pour corn syrup mixture over nuts.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until just set in center. Cool completely on wire rack.Print Friendly and PDF


Zucchini Bread - a vintage 'grandmother' recipe

'Another zucchini recipe?' Ahhh, you scoff now but within a couple weeks when you have zucchini coming out your ears you will be desperate for every good zucchini recipe you can get your hands on! 

Remember that quick breads such as this and banana, pumpkin, etc. all freeze remarkably well. Cool completely, wrap in plastic wrap and then foil. Freeze for months and when it's allowed to thaw it will be just as fresh as the day you baked it, only with a better texture! 


Zucchini Bread 

3 eggs 

2 C. sugar 

1 C. oil 

1 tsp. vanilla 

8 oz. cream cheese 

2 C. flour 

1 tsp. soda 

1 tsp. baking powder 

1 tsp. cinnamon 

1 tsp. salt 

1/2 tsp. nutmeg 

2 C. chopped walnuts 

2 C. shredded zucchini 


Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour two 9x5 pans. In large bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until smooth. Beat in cream cheese. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Gradually beat into the egg mixture. Fold in walnuts and zucchini. Evenly divide batter between the two prepared pans. 

Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Turn out of pans and allow to cool completely.






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Peanut Butter Rolls

On a recipe board I am a member of they were discussing cinnamon rolls and someone remembered having peanut butter rolls when they were a child. I had forgotten all about them but I remember a school I attended in 1st grade in the Mid West served these! This recipe is from Fleischmann's yeast and I'm sure that they would be just delicious! If it weren't 90 degree's out today I'd make them, but I'm hesitant to turn on my oven. Instead, I add them to my collection for a rainy day. Peanut Butter Rolls 4 3/4-5 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar 2 envelopes rapid rising yeast 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 1 1/4 cups milk 1/4 cup water 1/2 cup peanut butter 1 large egg 1/4 cup chopped peanuts PEANUT BUTTER FILLING 2/3 cup peanut butter 1/3 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter, softened 1 large egg CHOCOLATE GLAZE 2 ounces semisweet chocolate 1 tablespoon butter 1. In a large mising bowl, combine 1 C flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. 2. Heat milk, water and peanut butter until warm- about 120-130 degrees. 3. Gradually add to dry ingredients. 4. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed by electric mixer. 5. Add egg and 1/2 C flour, beat 2 minutes at high speed. 6. Stir in enough remaining flour, by hand to make a soft dough. 7. Knead on light floured surface until smooth and elastic- about 8- 10 minutes. 8. Combine peanut butter filling ingredients until smooth. 9. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. 10. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. 11. Roll each half to 14 x 8 inch rectangle. 12. Spread with filling. 13. Roll up tightly from long side, pinching the seam to seal. 14. Cut into 8 equal pieces. 15. Place cut side up in each of 2 greased 9 inch round cake pans. 16. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free place until double in size- about 45 minutes. 17. Bake at 375 degrees for 20- 25 minutes or until done. 18. Remove from pans and cool on a wire rack. 19. Melt chocolate glaze ingredients together, stirring until smooth. 20. Drizzle over rolls. 21. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts. Print Friendly and PDF

Why God Invented Cucumbers

Cucumber Salad

4-5 c sliced fresh cucumbers
3/4 c sour cream
1/4 c mayonnaise
1/4 c cider vinegar
1/4 c Splenda or sugar (or 6 packs of Equal)
salt and pepper
1 medium onion, sliced thin

Mix and chill for at least an hour before serving. I usually serve this and then add another 1-2 cucumbers to the sauce so I get two meals out of this rather than waste the sauce leftover after serving.Print Friendly and PDF

Blueberry Layer Cake

In the summertime I always crave blueberries. My family tends to crave them in the Spring (I judge that by the fact that starting in about March they beg for blueberry pies almost weekly...) but it's usually in July that I start to crave fruit and vegetables with a vengeance. I've found blueberries to be pricey when bought fresh and have good luck using frozen and canned in most recipes. This one calls for canned blueberry pie filling but if you feel like breaking the mold, you could always use fresh, gently crush about half of them, add sugar and let set for an hour or so to make a simple syrup and then try using that. (Or just buy the canned filling for two bucks!)

This is a recipe that's fairly old and fairly far spread as it's about 75% of the old church cookbooks I have in one version or another. But if you haven't seen it yet, then it's new to you! And you'll have to add it to your collection too, because it's that quick, that easy, and that good.

Blueberry Layer Cake

1 box cake mix
8 oz. cream cheese
1 large tub Cool Whip
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1 can blueberry pie filling

Make the cake according to directions. Let cool completely.

In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugars, and Cool Whip until smooth. Spread over cake. Carefully spread 1 can blueberry filling over top.

(I've also seen where the layers are reversed - feel free to choose which version you would like!)Print Friendly and PDF


S'More Bars Please!

We tend to have 'extra' kids over almost every day/night. As a matter of fact this morning as I write this it's only the 4th (fourth) morning since June 1st that we haven't had at least one extra teen or pre-teen overnight and I've awakened to a house that only has my own three kids asleep in it! I like to have fun snacks on hand for them to eat while watching movies or playing Playstation, and this week I took 2 different recipes, tweaked them, and came up with these delicious bars.

S'More Bars

5 c cocoa krispie cereal
1 plastic wrapped package of graham crackers (3 usually come in a box - use 1 pkg.)
6 T butter
Scant 1/3 c brown sugar
1 package mini marshmallows
1 c mini chocolate chips

Prepare a 9X13" pan by spraying it with Pam style spray or butter by hand. Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or by hand with a rolling pin or P. Chef food chopper until coarsely crushed in pieces. Mix the cereal, graham crackers 1 c mini marshmallows and 1 c mini chocolate chips in a large bowl.

Melt the butter in the microwave with the brown sugar. Stir. Add the rest of the bag of marshmallows and microwave about 1-2 minutes until the marshmallows puff up and double in size over the bowl. Stir this mixture into the cereal. Press into the prepared pan. Let cool completely before cutting.Print Friendly and PDF


Hawaiian Wedding Cake

One of my relatives was recently talking about how much she loved Hawaiian Wedding Cake. I had never heard of it before (under that name at least... as in the world of recipes many of the exact same recipe are called a hundred different names). When I asked for more details it sounded like a spice cake to me... one that I've made a few times before, but because my family doesn't seem to care for pineapple or coconut, it's not one I often make. I think I've made versions of this maybe twice in the past 12 years? I love coconut myself, but hate pineapple. My husband loves fresh pineapple, but can't stomach canned. Yada yada yada.

Still... I know it's a recipe that others may enjoy so this one is for you!

Hawaiian Wedding Cake

2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsps baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (20 oz) crushed pineapple with juice, undrained
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped, plus more to garnish
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325. Coat a 13 x 9 x 2" baking dish with nonstick spray. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, eggs, pineapple with juice, coconut and 1 cup of the walnuts. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined and all ingredients are moist. Spoon mixture into pan.

Bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. In a bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar and vanilla until smooth. Frost cooled cake with the cream cheese mixture.
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Cherry Dessert... A different one!

When I was a child growing up in the Mid West every holiday was spent at my Grandmothers house surrounded by what seemed like a million Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. We would always have either a roast turkey or a ham, depending on the holiday or season and no matter what, without fail, we would have a Cherry Dessert. By the time I was in high school the entire 100 or so people would just call it by our last name - example; "Smith Dessert" because we knew we could not, would not, have a get together without this dessert being served. I have to admit though, by the time I was in 11th grade, I couldn't eat it anymore. Too rich? Too many times? I couldn't stomach it. It was a graham crust with a layer of cherry pie filling and whipped cream layer, but to this day I can't go near it even though all the 'extended' family makes this family dessert even though we don't all meet at my Grandmothers now that we are all grown with families of our own and we live spread across the country.

When I saw this recipe I was happy to see the 'crust' was different than the version that I grew up with - and as an added bonus it's made with my favorite 'different' dessert food - saltine crackers! I have blogged about how much I love those in bars and desserts so it's only fitting that one of the desserts from my childhood could be revamped to use them in place of the ever over-done graham.

Cherry Dessert

6 egg whites
2 cups sugar
24 crushed saltine crackers
1 cup chopped pecans
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon vinegar
16 oz. whipped topping
6 Ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 can cherry pie filling

Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold in sugar, cracker crumbs, pecans, vanilla and vinegar. Spread in 9 x l3-inch baking dish sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Let stand until cool. Beat whipped topping, cream cheese and powdered sugar in mixer howl until blended, scraping bowl occasionally. Spread over baked layer. Top with pie filling. Chill, covered, until serving time.Print Friendly and PDF

Cherry Clouds

A typical kitchen food that I never thought of 'baking' with is something we typically only eat with soup or cheese. It's crackers. Saltine crackers and butter crackers were hardly thought of as a dessert in our home until around 1998 when I stumbled upon a recipe that used them as the base for a toffee style bar cookie. After that I started to make a copy cat recipe for girl scout cookies that involved only 3 ingredients, one of which was a ritz style cracker that in the end made a perfect replicat of a mint cookie! A couple years later I found my number one all time favorite bar - a Angel Bar - and it used 3 layers of crackers in it, which you would never know in the finished product.

I have learned to never scoff at using ingredients in a way I never thought of before. That is why when I saw this recipe my immediate thought was "Oh! I bet that tastes awesome!"

Cherry Clouds

6 egg whites
1 1/3 Cups Sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla
1 sleeve saltine crackers
2 c whipped cream
1 20 oz Can of cherry pie filling

Beat egg whites until frothy, add sugar a little at a time, add in the cream of tartar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla and crushed saltine crackers and bake in a lightly greased glass 9x13 baking dish at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes (until golden brown.) Let cool several hours and then spread whipped cream on top and then spread cherry pie filling on top of that and chill 2 hours.Print Friendly and PDF

Stabilized Whipped Cream

I typically stabilize my whipped cream with unflavored gelatin. However, this is a recipe I think sounds good because it makes me wonder if it is similar to the whipped cream style icing grocery stores use? Perhaps. It's from Woman's Day and was published way back in 1992.

Stabilized Whipped Cream

1/4 cup powdered sugar
2-1/4 tsp. cornstarch
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Refrigerate mixing bowl and beater blades at least 20 minutes until
cold. Mix powdered sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan.
Gradually stir in 1/2 cup of the heavy cream until completely smooth.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and simmer a
few seconds until as thick as pudding. Immediately remove from ehat
and scrape into a small bowl. Cool to room temperature, then stir in

Beat remaining 1-1/2 cups heavy cream in the chilled bowl with electric
mixer until beaters just start to leave marks in the softly whipped
cream. Add cornstarch mixture and continue beating until stiff peaks
form when beaters are lifted. Makes 3-3/4 cups.Print Friendly and PDF


Mystery Pecan Pie

Isn't this the weirdest pie ever? Its something I'm almost positive I've had at my grandmothers house when I was small. I'm keeping it here for a 'reminder' to make this when I get some pecans. I have hickory nuts and almonds but I really think I want pecans for this one. PS: I learned an interesting fact about hickory nuts today; Hickory trees are slow growing and don't begin bearing nuts for 75 years or more. I was so impressed by that! A tree that is just starting to produce nuts now possibly was born the same year my 79 year old FIL was!

Mystery Pecan Pie

3 egg whites beaten stiff
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
20 saltine crackers mashed fine
1 cup pecans

Mix all together. Pour batter into a buttered pie plate and bake 35 minutes at 325 degrees. Let cool at least 2-3 hours before serving.Print Friendly and PDF

Coffee ... Muffins!?

Earlier today someone I know was looking for a recipe she had lost that was at least 10 years old. She said it had something to do with a spice and coffee break and it was a muffin. I searched Google and found this one - and guess what? It was the one she needed! It sounded really good so I wanted to add it here to share as well. It's a Carnation recipe from at least 10 years ago... that's all I know about it!

Coffee-Break Spice Muffins

4 tsp. of Nescafe`instant coffee
1 cup Carnation evaporated skim milk
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. baking powder
1-½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup butter, melted &cooled
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

In 1-cup microwaveable glass measure, combine coffee granules and ¼ cup of the evaporated milk. Microwave on high, stirring once, until coffee is almost completely dissolved. Add remaining milk; let cool. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking
powder, cinnamon, nutmeg & salt. Add pecans & chocolate chips; toss together. Stir in melted butter, egg & coffee mixture all at once until dry ingredients are just moistened. Divide equally among 12 greased muffin cups.

TOPPING: In small bowl, combine sugar & cinnamon. Spoon ¼ tsp. over each muffin.

Bake in 350° F. (180° C) oven for 20-25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely.

Makes 12 muffins.
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Hot Flax Cereal

When I first did the Atkins induction program back in the Spring of 2002 I found myself craving cereals for breakfast after I grew weary of eggs and leftovers. I tried a few recipes (that failed miserably) and by chance and imagination came up with a hot flax cereal that was so good, my husband and I continue to eat it to this day even when aren't following a strict low carb lifestyle. 

I always have it on hand in a container in the freezer and I've never once made hot oatmeal since 2002 when I started to make this in its place. Oatmeal now pales in comparison both in flavor and health benefits as flax is jam packed with healthy goodness. I also use this mix when I make my Flax Muffins.

Hot Flax Cereal

2 c ground flax seed
2 c wheat bran
4 heaping scoops vanilla protein powder
1/2 t salt
sliced toasted almonds
Cinnamon to taste

This is a dry mix. To store, keep in an air tight container in the freezer. To use, mix about 1/2 cup of dry mix in a bowl with enough water to make a soupy mixture. Microwave for 40 seconds. Remove and add heavy cream and Splenda to taste, similar to how you would a traditional bowl of oatmeal.

The dry mix

After microwaving, add cream or half and half and Splenda to your own tastes

Natural Sweeteners are available to order through Amazon if you can't find any locally

Bob's Red Mill Flaxseed Meal, 16 Oz
Nature's Best  Zero Carb Isopure , Creamy Vanilla
Frigidaire 6 Piece Cereal and Food Storage Set
Erythritol Natural Sweetener Now Foods 1 lbs Granual
Xlear Xylosweet Bag, 1-Pound

Creative Commons License

work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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Flax Seed Muffins

In 2002 I discovered the health benefits of simple changes in our diet like cutting out sugar, avoiding white, refined flour, and adding flax. I initially did the Atkins induction for 2 weeks and then a daily Atkins program for another 2 to 'detox' my body of sugar, white flour and starchy vegetables. Although my husband and I were not on the strict Atkins regiment for diet purposes, we found we felt healthier by incorporating some of the ideals into our everyday living habits.

When I am following a strict Atkins regiment (which we do a few times a year) I obviously crave breads and muffins. Most low carb versions are little more than glorified eggy cream puff shells masquerading as muffins. The lemon poppy seed versions I made were awful, and the tortilla's tasted like cardboard. When you find a low carb, no sugar recipe that works, you sing praises and dance around your kitchen! That is what I did with this recipe. However; I did use my own version of a faux Atkins mix in it as well as a cup of a flaxseed cereal I love to prepare. If you don't have an Atkins baking mix or a faux mix on hand you can either mix one up, or try substituting a vanilla whey protein mix. In place of my hot cereal mix you can use a cup of ground flax seed.

Flaxseed Muffins

1 c wheat bran flakes
3 eggs
1/2 c cream
3/4 c water
2 T oil or melted butter
1 c hot flax cereal
1/4 c faux Atkins mix
4 t baking powder
1/3 c splenda
1 t vanilla
3/4 t salt

Mix all ingredients together lightly just until completely moistened. Spoon into sprayed muffin tins. Bake at 400 approximately 25 minutes.Print Friendly and PDF


Fudgy Mint Squares

From the mid 1990's until 2000 I subscribed to a cooking magazine published every 2 months. I quit subscribing when their marketing drove me insane. (Apparently even when your subscription is paid up for 2 years they still feel the need to bombard you with letters and postcards offering to automatically renew TODAY.) A lot of subscribers canceled when their subscription marketing got to the stalking stage, and now, I've since heard the company was bought out by another. I used to find a lot of great recipes in their magazines. They were 'real' and used ingredients I typically had on hand, not to mention family friendly. I basically knew that I could make any recipe in the issues and I had a 75% chance of our family loving it. I've not tried this particular recipe, but while surfing online at this cooking magazines website, (which is a public forum for trading recipes) it sounded good at the time.

Fudgy Mint Squares

10 tablespoons butter (no substitutes), divided
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 eggs
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 drops green food coloring, optional
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt 8 tablespoons butter and unsweetened chocolate; cool slightly. In a mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs, sugar and vanilla. Add the chocolate mixture; mix until blended. Gradually beat in flour. Spread into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until top is set. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining butter. Add cornstarch; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in milk and remaining egg. Add extract and food coloring if desired. Pour over crust. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack.

In a heavy saucepan, combine chocolate chips and cream. Cook and stir over medium heat until chips are melted. Cool for 30 minutes or until lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill for 2 hours or until set before cutting.

Yield: about 4 dozen.Print Friendly and PDF


Cold Pizza Salad

Pizza sounds great for dinner but it's too hot to cook? Don't want to run the oven? Make it into a salad. I've made similar salads to this with pasta but this was the first time I'd seen one that used cold rice as the base instead of pasta of one variety or another.

Pizza Salad

1-1/2 c leftover cooked rice - cold
1 c shredded Mozzarella
3/4 c quartered pepperoni slices
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 c diced green pepper
1/4 c diced red pepper
3 scallions, chopped
1/4 c sliced mushrooms
1/4 c sliced olives
3/4 c Italian salad dressing

Mix ingredients, then toss with 1/2 cup of the Italian vinaigrette. Chill. Add the rest of the Italian dressing or vinaigrette just before serving.Print Friendly and PDF


Zucchini Jam

Go ahead and laugh, but when you are parked outside your local school, church or neighbor's house and you leave your car door unlocked and you come out to find 2 bags of zucchini left on your car seat, you'll soon be glad for every zucchini recipe you have ever come across in your life. You'll learn to print and save them for future reference!

Zucchini Jam

6 cups zucchini, peeled and shredded
1 cup water
4 cups sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 small can (8 ozs.) crushed pineapple (drained)
2 (3 oz.) boxes any flavor gelatin

Add water to ground zucchini and cook 10 min. Drain off most of the water. Add sugar, lemon juice and pineapple, stir and bring to a boil. Cook 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Add gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Bring to a boil again. Pour into jars and seal. (I use jelly jars and immerse into boiling water bath canner for 10 min.)Makes 6 jars.





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Broccoli Cornbread

I grew up eating a lot of cornbread. Sometimes from a jiffy mix, other times from scratch, we were sure to have corn bread every time we had chili, and in the Mid West, you have chili often during those long 7 month long winters! After I was married and had children, I moved to the South and only then realized that cornbread came in more flavors. Jalapeno's and Broccoli or cheddar cheese were/are often used in cornbread to give it a completely taste. This is excellent with soups, no syrup needed of course!

Broccoli Cornbread

2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
4 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
10 oz. pkg. frozen broccoli, thawed
1 1/2 c cottage cheese
1 onion, chopped

Combine ingredients. Pour into a 9X13 prepared pan, bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.Print Friendly and PDF

Carrot Bread for a Bread Machine

Although I have made carrot bread in the past, I have never used my bread machine, nor yeast to do so. It's a concept that is interesting, but yet seems strange to me since I think of carrot bread as a 'quick' bread. Surfing the internet one night a few months ago I came across this one and copied it down for future use. Time has gotten away from me and I've not managed to make it yet, although I will admit I've thrown together a few quick breads since I found this one. Maybe I'm putting it off for one reason or another due to the actual 'bread' like quality I'm sure it will have thanks to the machine and the yeast?

Either way, I'm afraid I'll lose it if I don't get it copied to my files, so here it is!

Carrot Bread

1 cup (partially cooked) shredded carrots
2 tablespoons milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups bread flour
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann's bread machine yeast

Put into bread machine in order given. Use white bread cycle; medium color. When finished remove and cool. Cut entire loaf into 1/2-inch slices. Spread each slice with filling mixture.


8 ounces cream cheese
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Mix well until creamy, spread between each slice. Restack loaf.

Cut 1 inch slices lengthwise. Spread each slice with the same mixture. Restack loaf.

To serve, cut the loaf into 1-inch slices from the long side of bread.Print Friendly and PDF


Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

When I started dating my husband (a million years ago when he was just 16 and I, 15) one of his guilty pleasures was stopping by the Dairy Queen for a Peanut Buster Parfait. Although, when you are 16 and have a great metabolism, I suppose there is nothing 'guilty' about it! My ice cream loves were simpler... soft serve twists, or perhaps a Dilly Bar, or even an ice cream sandwich. Mmmmmm.

Here we are, 20 years later and he still loves peanut butter parfaits and I still love ice cream sandwiches! When I saw this dessert recipe put out by Cedar Crest Ice Cream I couldn't help but smile. It's not only perfect for the two foods we love, but it's perfect for a nice hot hot summer evening!

Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

19 ice cream sandwiches
12-ounce carton frozen whipped topping, thawed
16-ounce jar hot fudge topping
16-ounce jar butterscotch caramel or plain caramel topping
3/4 cup salted pecans, chopped
12 pecan halves
1 milk chocolate bar, optional
6-8 maraschino cherries, halved & drained, optional

Remove wrappers from ice cream sandwiches. Place one whole and one half sandwich along a short side of an unbuttered 9-inch by 13-inch pan. Arrange 8 sandwiches in the opposite direction in the pan. Spread half the whipped topping over the sandwiches.
Spoon caramel topping evenly over whipped topping. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Repeat layers with remaining ice cream sandwiches. Spoon hot fudge topping over sandwiches and top with remaining whipped topping.

Arrange pecan halves evenly over top. Decorate with chocolate curls and cherries, optional. Cover pan and freeze for several hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving.Print Friendly and PDF


Lime Cake

Last week while shopping my local grocery store I found a saran wrapped container of limes just a little past their prime. Price marked, $.99. Yes, ninety-nine cents for what I later found to be 16 limes! Oh what heaven!

 I juiced them all and froze them in small ice cube containers for future use. Only a few days later, while surfing the internet, I came across this lime recipe. Not only a perfect use for some of my freshly squeezed limes, but how wonderful for a light, summer dessert! I do plan on tweaking it a little and changing it to suit my needs, but I wanted to be sure I copied down so I don't lose track of it before I can make it.

Lime Bundt Cake

3 c flour
2 c sugar
1 c of milk
1 c butter, softened
4 eggs
1 1/2 t baking powder
Zest of 2 limes
Juice of 4

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F. In large bowl cream butter and sugar. Add eggs one at a time to cream
mixture. In medium bowl sift together flour and baking powder. Slowly add in alternating
portions of milk and flour to the butter mixture. Add the lime zest and the juice. Pour batter into a very well greased and floured bundt pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Print Friendly and PDF


Sugar Free Jam

 Sugar Free Strawberry Jam

1 pint ripe strawberries
1/4 c water
1/2 lemon - juiced
1 envelope of unflavored gelatin
5 packets of Equal

Heat the cleaned and halved berries in a pan with lemon juice. Bring to a simmer, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let set while berries simmer. Add this to the berries and stir in Equal packets. Pour into a jar and top. Store in the refrigerator.

(1 carb gram per tablespoon)Print Friendly and PDF

Tortilla Roll Ups

Ah, such a simple food to prepare and serve yet it always gets compliments. The tortilla roll up!

There is really no real 'recipe' for these and even though you hate to hear that, it's the truth. Wraps and roll ups are so versatile that almost anything you put in them (within reason of course!) is going to taste good. I swear!

Think about what you think would taste good on a sandwich or a cracker for an appetizer and build from there based on your favorite foods, or the tastes preferred by your family. Add a zippy dip or sauce to serve with it and you are set... with almost no work.

Tortilla Roll Ups

The basics;

Flour Tortillas
Flavored Wraps such as Spinach, Tomato, Zesty Garlic, Jalapeno

Start with:

Cream Cheese spread as the base up to one edge to hold everything in place and 'seal' your tortilla roll

Add a very thin single layer of;

  • ham slice, lettuce, ranch dressing or sprinkled ranch dressing, bacon bits, avocado and onion
  • turkey slice, smoked provolone, italian dressing drizzled, lettuce
  • Extra cream cheese, diced black olives, green olives, garlic powder, chilies - and serve with salsa for dipping
  • Garden Veggie flavored cream cheese with a sprinkle of bean sprouts, cucumber slices, radishes, peppers and onions
  • Deli chicken slice, avocado, provolone, honey mustard sauce drizzled with more to serve as a dipping sauce
  • Chicken, tabasco sauce, cheddar, chilies and garlic powder served with salsa

Use your own imagination and build your wraps. Roll up tightly, using the layer of cream cheese to 'seal' the roll up. Roll it up tightly in plastic or Saran wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 24. Remove plastic and slice into 3/4" slices. Lay down on a serving platter surrounding a dipping sauce. Delicious!Print Friendly and PDF


Seafood Cakes

I wanted to post where I got this one, but goldarnit I can't remember! Ever a fan of crab cakes, this one uses scallops and shrimp as well so it's a seafood cake instead. The cornbread mix in it makes it 'southern'. I have not prepared this recipe yet because I never keep cornbread mixes on hand (I always make mine homemade!) and I've been waiting on the crabmeat because I refuse to use imitation, but can't afford the $14.99 for 1 pound of crabmeat. I love seafood with a passion... one more reason for us to move closer to the ocean!

Southern Seafood Cake

1 pk Cornbread mix, prepared
1 Red Bell Pepper, small
2 Garlic Cloves
1 lb Lump Crabmeat
1/2 lb Flounder Fillets
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/8 ts Cayenne
White Pepper to taste
1 Red Onion, small
1 Green Bell Pepper, small
2 tbs Olive Oil
1/2 lb Shrimp
1/4 lb Scallops
2 tb Lime Juice
Salt to taste
6 tbs Clarified Butter

Well in advance, prepare cornbread according to package directions. Cool and process in food processor or blender to make fine crumbs. Set aside. Finely chop onion. Remove seeds and veins from peppers and chop into approximately 1/2 inch pieces. Peel, chop, and finely crush garlic. Saute onion in 10 inch frying pan in hot olive oil until soft, about 4 minutes. Add peppers and garlic and continue cooking until peppers are almost tender. Meanwhile, peel shrimp. Coarsely chop shrimp, scallops and flounder. Remove onion/pepper mixture from heat and add seafood, mayonnaise and lime juice. Stir gently to prevent breaking up crab. Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne. Shape into patties and coat both sides with cornbread crumbs. (May now be placed on a plate and refrigerated for up to an hour) When ready to serve, heat 2 tablespoons of the clarified butter in the frying pan over a moderately high flame. Saute 3 cakes at a time until golden on both sides, about 2 minutes. Add more butter as necessary.Print Friendly and PDF


Fourth of July Menu?

I'm sitting here at the island in the kitchen deciding what to make for an impromptu Fourth of July celebration we are holding tomorrow. My husband hasn't had the Fourth of July off from work in almost 19 years so I was taken by surprise to find out he got it off this year. I invited my good friend, her husband and 3 daughters over, and we've extended the invitation to my husbands best friends and their families. My kids have also been told that we'll just be hanging out at the house and grilling so if they want to have friends over, they can.

Not sure of the head count yet, I'm trying to plan a menu that can feed either 10 (minimum) or 27 or more. I also have to use food and items we have on hand as the checkbook is empty now that bills have been paid. Let's throw together a last minute party, K? And do it with only $25 cash on hand.

$25 went for:

Red & Blue plates, napkins, cups
Cake Mix
Coffee filters
2 cans Ravioli for my son to eat for lunch this week
1 can frosting
1 canister sugar-free iced tea mixes
evaporated milk
1 bag chips


Chips & Funyons
Soda - regular and diet
Iced Tea - regular and sugar free
Bottled water

Fresh cut veggies and homemade ranch dip (celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower)

Grilled Chicken - Half Caribbean Jerk & Half Lemon Pepper

BBQ Beans with bacon
Green Garden Salad with assorted dressings
Red Pepper, Artichoke and Tortellini Salad
Ranch Pasta Salad

Pumpkin Bars (I froze half the pan previously from last week)
Caramel Brownies
M&M Cookies
Sugar Free Cheesecake
Rice Krispie Bars (brought by friend)
Frosted Brownies (brought by friend)

Now, let's get cookin!

*edited on July 5th to show what we ended up having*Print Friendly and PDF


Almond Poppyseed Muffins

If I had to pick a favorite flavor of muffin, it would be Almond Poppyseed. I can't have one this week as I'm trying to detox my body of all white flour and sugar, but that only makes me crave them more! Ha. This recipe is supposed to be like Otis Spunkmeyer muffins, however I don't think I've had one of that brand for about 3 years and I don't think I've ever had his Almond Poppyseed muffins - so I can't honestly tell ya!

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

1 stick butter (softened)
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 c sour cream
1/2 t salt
3 t almond extract
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t vanilla extract
2 1/3 c flour
2 T poppy seeds

Measure flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder and set aside. In mixing bowl beat softened butter, oil and sugar until blended. Add eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and sour cream to butter and oil. Blend until mixture is smooth. all moist ingredients should be blended well. Start adding the flour mixture to batter a little at a time until thoroughly blended, but do not over-beat. When mixed, remove from mixer and add poppy seeds. Stir with a spoon until completely mixed through. Place in muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 20 to 25 minutes. Check muffins with a wooden pick. Do not over-bake. Store in a sealed container.

Yield: 12Print Friendly and PDF

Cornbread Gravy

Although I lived in Nashville, TN for over 5 years, I can't recall ever being served 'cornbread gravy'. It certainly makes sense though, as it's similar to sausage gravy, just using up leftover cornbread. I've made 'bacon gravy' before which is also similar except of course, for the addition of the corn bread. Served with biscuits, what a hearty comfort food or breakfast on a chilly winter morning.

Cornbread Gravy

1/2 lb. bacon
1/2 c flour
2 c water
3/4 c cream (or half and half, milk)
Salt & pepper to taste
Leftover Cornbread

Fry 1/2 pound of bacon till crisp. Crumble the bacon up fine and crumble enough cornbread in to fill the skillet. Add about 1/2 cup flour and stir till flour browns, now add about 2 cups water and the cream/milk, whisk or stir, then add the salt and pepper to taste, and cook till it thickens. If it's too thick add more cream, milk or water to thin to desired consistency.Print Friendly and PDF


Lemon Shrimp Appetizers

I think I've touched on the fact that growing up in the heartland of the mid-west in the 70's and 80's, my mother didn't stray too far out of her realm when it came to cooking. I grew up eating about 10 meals over and over again, whether it be pork chops, steak, roast and potatoes, burritos or taco salad. At 18 I moved 2000 miles from home to Southern California and embraced new foods with a passion. Over the next 17 years my husband and I have lived all over the country, each new city or state bringing me new food ideas and new flavors. Because of my background and because in the 70's and 80's, small town grocer's just didn't carry ethnic or 'different' foods and certainly not imports... I had never had caper's. I realized this about 3 years ago when I was making one of my favorite homemade tartar sauces and it called for capers. Thus started yet another food that was new to me.

If you have caper's sitting in your refrigerator, take them out and put them to use in this yummy dish. Perfect for hot summer evenings with friends on the deck. Source: Get Togethers

Lemon Shrimp

3/4 cup dill flavored sour cream dip
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. lemon zest
30 frozen mini phyllo shells, baked
3 T. capers
30 medium shrimp, cooked and peeled
Fresh dill sprigs, lemon zest for garnish

Stir together dip, lemon juice and zest in a small bowl. Fill each baked shell with about one teaspoon dip mixture; sprinkle with capers. Arrange one shrimp, tail up in each shell. Garnish as desired with fresh dill and lemon zest. Chill until serving.Print Friendly and PDF