Tuesday, September 16, 2014



-Gently heat the milk to 180 degrees (which is almost boiling). 
-Take off heat and cool to 105-115 degrees. 
-Once cool, pour in glass jars (I usually use quart jars). Add 2-4 Tblsp of yogurt with live cultures (from a previous batch or yogurt from the store) to each jar.  You can also add the sugar and vanilla now while it's still warm to dissolve it or after it's cultured.  
-Stir well, cover with lid and put in a warm place at 105 degrees for 8-24 hours (It gets tangier with time).  My favorite place to culture the yogurt is my dehydrator. 
-I’m still playing with how to sweeten it,  but right now I add about 1 ½ Tblsp of sugar to a pint of yogurt and a little vanilla.  Or I keep it plain to add to smoothies.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tomato Soup                                                            

6 Tbls.  Butter
6 Tbls.  Flour
3 C. Tomato Juice
3 C. Whole Milk
2 tsp. Kosher Salt
Fresh Ground Pepper to taste.  I like maybe 1/2 tsp.

Melt butter in a 3 quart saucepan on medium heat.  Whisk in flour to make a roux .  Increase heat to med-high.  Whisk until roux transitions from foaming to just bubbly and turns a little tan in color and smells a bit nutty.  (This lowers to thickening power a tad, but improves smoothness and flavor.)  Drizzle in tomato juice with a steady pour while consistently whisking until smooth to keep ingredients at a boil (or close).  Drizzle in milk the same way (doesn’t need to make it to a rapid boil, just boiling.)  Take off heat and whisk in salt and pepper.

Serve with awesome grilled cheese to dip!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Brown Rice

I told Becca I would give this to her the other day, it is the best way that I have tried brown rice. But we do still eat white rice cause its real good :)
But if you are into that healthy awesome brown riceness.... you should try this.

Baked Brown Rice
Yield: Makes about 3 1/2 cups cooked rice

Note: This recipe doubles beautifully for a 9X13-inch pan.
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water (if using water, add 1 teaspoon salt)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8X8-inch or 9X9-inch baking pan. Place the rice in the prepared pan and pour in the liquid. Stir to equally distribute the rice. Cover tightly with a double layer of aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from the oven and let sit for five minutes before removing the aluminum foil and fluffing with a fork. If your rice still has a bit of liquid on the bottom or conversely, if it is dried out, adjust the baking time up or down to make changes.
Variations: Before baking, slice one small yellow onion into dices or half moons and caramelize and brown in 1 teaspoon of olive oil until golden and soft (about 10 minutes in a nonstick skillet). Stir onion into rice and broth mixture and bake according to recipe.
After removing rice from the oven and letting it sit for five minutes, remove aluminum foil and stir in the zest and juice from 1 lemon, 1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 apple, finely diced.

San Fran Chops

I haven't ever really like Pork Chops but this one is amazing, we all really like it. Well I guess except for Cora who sometimes doesn't like rice but other than that its a hit :) And it is a slow cooker recipe so yahoo!

San Francisco Chops {Slow Cooker}
Yield: Serves 4-6
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pork chops, about 1-inch thick
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • Hot Cooked Rice, for serving
  1. In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it is simmering and hot. Season the pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper. Brown the pork chops for 1-2 minutes on each side in the hot oil until golden. Transfer the chops to the slow cooker. Add the garlic to the drippings in the skillet and stir constantly over medium heat until the garlic is aromatic and golden (but not burned or it will turn bitter!). Stir in the soy sauce, broth, brown sugar and red pepper flakes; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chops.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours until the meat is tender. If using bone-in pork chops, fish out the bones from the slow cooker. Remove the chops from the slow cooker to a shallow pan or plate – they will most likely be falling apart in tenderness at this point. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and cold water until smooth. Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce in the slow cooker. Return the chops to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker heat to high and cook for 30 minutes to an hour longer, until the sauce is slightly thickened. If you want a super duper thick sauce, once you remove the chops from the slow cooker, pour the sauce into a pan and place it over medium heat on the stove. Add the cornstarch slurry and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil for 1-2 minutes until the sauce is thick. Add the pork and heat through.
  3. Serve the tender chops over rice and garnish with green onions, if desired.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Cinnamon Raisin Granola

We got this recipe from a family in China that made it for us and it was like liquid gold there. Getting home a lot of the things we thought were so good there turned out to be not so awesome in comparison, except this one. It is a good one and is often made at out house.
This batch doesn't have any nuts in it and is taste but it is even better with nuts in it.

Cinnamon Raisin Granola
4 cups Old Fashioned Oats (I use quick oats and it is still good)
1 cup shredded coconut (sometimes I go a little heavy on the coconut)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins (I haven't ever made a batch with raisin... so attempt at your own risk :) )

In a large bowl combine oats and coconut and nuts
In a sauce pan combine brown sugar, oil, honey, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat add vanilla.
Mix oat mixture and sauce until evenly coated then spread in a large shallow baking dish aka cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees from 15-20 minutes stirring every 5 minutes

Cool add raisins and store in an air tight container.

 A few people who enjoy it

Sweet & Sour Chicken

Hopefully you've all made this before, it's been floating around the internet for a while. But if you haven't you really should. It's great for company and my whole family loves it - yay! Oh, and I usually have everything on the ingredient list. Double yay!

  • 1 lb chicken (cut into bite size pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt
  • 3/4 cup corn starch
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • Sweet and sour sauce:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 TB rice vinegar (I usually use plain distilled or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 TB soy sauce
  1. Place the chicken, corn starch, salt, pepper and garlic salt in a large ziplock bag and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
  2. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan with a fork. I did half the batch first. Fry both sides of the chicken for about 2 minutes a piece. Line a baking sheet with foil and place chicken on the pan. Dispose of the burnt oil and then heat up the rest of the oil and finish the chicken.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  4. In a medium size bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce.
  5. Next you'll pour the sauce over the chicken and bake for 20 minutes. Pull the chicken out and flip the chicken to evenly coat it with sauce. Then bake for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve with steamed rice and veggies.
  7. Enjoy!
* Recipe found here:  http://www.iheartnaptime.net/sweet-and-sour-chicken-recipe/

Click over for a printable recipe.

P.S. I spent 20 minutes today drooling over the on-line menu at Olive Garden and Noodles & Company, so if any of you have any copycat recipes you've tried from those places please share with a hungry pregnant lady! :)

Monday, January 27, 2014

Chicken Stock & Bone Broth-

Chicken stock or bone broth is amazing stuff.  It's so delicious and makes anything that calls for chicken stock or bouillon so much better!  It also is crazy nutritious-  The Gut & Psychology Syndrome book says, "Meat stock aids digestion and has been known for centuries as a healing folk remedy for the digestive tract.  Also homemade meat stock is extremely nourishing; it is full of minerals, vitamins, amino-acids and various other nutrients in a very bio-available form."  So ya, it's awesome.  There are slightly different techniques you can do but here's what we like-  

(This was from a giant pot we made from 2 chicken carcasses)

Chicken Stock:

Whole Chicken or chicken bones
1-2 Tblsp vinegar (I usually do apple cider vinegar)
Salt- probably a couple Tablespoons, I just sprinkle it in (really you can add salt anytime).  
In a large pot put in your whole chicken or chicken bones.  Cover with water a few inches above chicken and add vinegar & salt.  Let sit for 30- 60 minutes (this helps leach out minerals from the bones).  Bring to a boil, cover the pot and reduce the heat to low.  If using a whole chicken remove the meat after about 2 hours (so the meat will not dry out) but allow the bones to simmer for 6-24 hours (longer is better for higher mineral and gelatin content of the stock).  We usually have done for 24 hours but I just heard that the gelatin content goes down after 12 hours so that would be ideal.  Then strain the stock into a pitcher and discard the bones or skin leftovers.  I like to put the stock into pint bottles so they are around 2 cups which is nice to use  in recipes or for Top Ramen noodles or vegetable soup for lunch.  This will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks or in the freezer.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Simple Alfredo Sauce

Monday night is Pasta night at our house! This is the Alfredo sauce I use regularly because I generally have all the ingredients on hand. 

1/2 cup butter
1 8oz. cream cheese 
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. milk (I usually use 1% but any should work)
6 oz. Parmesan (I just use the bottled/shaker kind)
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic powder and cream cheese (it helps to soften it and cut it in to cubes).  Whisk until smooth. Add milk a bit at a time and keep whisking to smooth out lumps. Stir in Parmesan and pepper. Whisk until sauce reaches desired consistency. Sauce will keep thickening after removed from heat. Add a bit of milk if it gets too thick. Serve over hot pasta. Sometimes I like to add cooked/chopped broccoli to it as well.

*This makes enough to feed my family and we usually have enough leftover to make a chicken alfredo pizza on Saturdays pizza night :)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

White Bean Chicken Chili

So probably most of my posts will be links to Mel's Kitchen Cafe cause everything there is fantastic.

We had this one last night and it was real good

White Bean Chicken (or Turkey) Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans Great Northern Beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken (or turkey)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup salsa (I use Pace Chunky Medium)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the remainder of the ingredients, except the mozzarella cheese. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the soup comes to a simmer. Add the mozzarella cheese one handful at a time, stirring to let each addition melt before adding the next. Stir to combine and make sure all the cheese has melted and serve.

Banana Roll Up (I don't know the name of it)

Wheat Tortilla
Peanut Butter

Of course if I make it it's real quick and easy. Just put the Peanut butter, Honey and Banans on the Tortilla and roll it up. Pretty yummy quick snack. Especially for the peanut Butter Lovers (JoAnna and Lexie)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hernandez Black Beans-

These are so delicious- I just used a whole pound of black beans and doubled everything.  And I cooked them on the stovetop in a cast iron pot instead of the crockpot but i'm sure it would work great.  

Hernandez Black Beans

8 Oz. dried black beans (1 1/3 c.)
1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, quartered
1/2 sweet green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed but I left whole
1 small bay leaf
1/8 tsp. oregano, crushed

Rinse the beans in water and add to a slow cooker and soak overnight in 4 cups of water.  Using the same water in the morning, add other ingredients and cook on low for about 8-10 hours.  Taste and add more salt the last hour of cooking if needed.  Test for doneness by pinching a bean- i
f it is soft and splits it is done. Serve with shredded cheese, on top of rice, or in tacos/enchiladas.  


This is my favorite cornbread recipe-

½ cup cornmeal
1 ½ cup flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 Tblsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup oil (butter works great too)
3 Tblsp butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 ¼ cup milk

Add dry ingredients, make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center.  Stir until just mixed (batter will be runny – don’t be alarmed!).  Bake in an 8” square pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  This doubles perfectly for a 9x13- inch pan.

These also work in muffin cups and cook in about 20 minutes.  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fast & Easy Rolls

about 5 cups all-purpose flour (or ½ white ½ wheat)
2 (.25 ounce) packages dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
1 cup milk
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. Mix together yeast and 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
2. In a separate bowl heat milk, water, oil, sugar and salt to lukewarm in microwave. (I usually put all these in my pyrex two cup glass measurer and heat for 75 seconds.) Add all at once to flour and yeast and mix well for about 2-3 minutes.
3. Mix in enough flour to make a soft dough - 2 to 3 more cups. Dust surface with flour, turn dough out and cover with bowl, let sit 10 minutes.
4. Shape dough into 12 - 16 balls, and place on greased or parchment lined baking sheet to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes), preheat oven to 400.
5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Butter tops when they come out.

* These are our families most favorite rolls. They take just over an hour to make and are super yummy. I’ve tried lots of other recipes that take longer and are more labor intensive and we always come back to these. They are also good for fast cinnamon rolls or hamburger buns. I’ve taken these to lots of friends for dinner and always get asked for the recipe. A winner for sure :)

Chili's Copycat Cajun Chicken Pasta

Here is a recipe that we love here in Colorado :) I feel cheesy writing this so here is what we are having for dinner tonight. :)
Love you all
And here is a good luck to this blog 


    • 2 chicken breasts, boneless skinless
    • 4 teaspoons cajun seasoning
    • 4 tablespoons butter or 4 tablespoons margarine
    • 3 cups heavy cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 8 ounces penne pasta, cooked and drained
    • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
    • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, fresh shredded, to taste


  1. Slightly moisten chicken with water.
  2. In a large resealable plastic bag, shake chicken and cajun seasoning until chicken is thoroughly coated.
  3. In large skillet, saute chicken in 2 tablespoons butter, over medium heat, turning whenever necessary.
  4. When chicken is about half-way done, grab a second skillet and combine heavy cream, 2 tablespoons butter, and remainder of seasonings over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  5. When cream mixture begins to bubble, add the pasta and turn off heat. Stir well.
  6. When chicken is cooked through, place on cutting board and slice into strips.
  7. Spoon pasta and sauce onto large serving plates (2) and top with chicken, diced tomatoes, and Parmesan.
  8. Throw a thick, garlicky slice of Texas toast on that bad boy and enjoy!