Monday, November 18, 2013

Apple Yam Side Dish

Growing up, Thanksgiving meant all the extended relatives gathering at my grandparents' house, everybody packed into the small space, bunking on hide-a-beds, couches or sleeping bags on the

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Roasted Carrot Salad with almonds, blue cheese, and cranberries

So if you looked in my recipe box (yes, I still have one of those), you would see two big fat sections and a bunch of sparse ones.  My fat sections?  Baked Goods and Desserts.  Yeah, so, baking is really

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Pasta Carbonara

So what do you do when dinnertime is in a half an hour, you don't really want to cook, you have nothing thawed, nothing ready to go?  If you're like me, you order a pizza.  Ok, well, if you're like me you sigh and wish you could order a pizza, but unfortunately, no one delivers within a couple hours of Chernobyl.

So you open the fridge again and will a meal to appear.  And then you spot the bacon.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Authentic Ukrainian Borsch

Ok, hold up.  Before you scroll past this one, let me clear a few things up.

First -- real Ukrainian borsch is NOT beet soup.  It's true that beets are one ingredient in the borsch.  It is NOT the main ingredient.  There are more carrots and potatoes both than beets.  The final

Friday, September 13, 2013

Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup

So here in our neck of the woods, it's definitely fall.  The birch trees are all decked out in their yellow leaves and the weather is overcast and crisp.  I love this time of year.  Time for jeans and cozy sweaters and new school supplies and baking bread while it rains outside.

And time for soup.  On a chilly day, a comforting bowl of soup is the perfect way to warm up.  Add some rolls or a salad and you are all set.

This particular soup has that amazing flavor combination of coconut milk and curry, plus the addition

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Crockpot Chicken Parm Sandwiches

This is a non-recipe kind of recipe that I stumbled upon while browsing Pinterest.  Yes, okay, I have a small addiction to Pinterest. Admit it, you do too.  It's like crack.  Not that I would know what crack is like, but I imagine it's like Pinterest in it's addictive qualities.

So I came across this idea over at greenlitebites and decided to try it.  Lo and behold, it was

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Breakfast Muffins

I don't know what it is about these muffins. On the surface, they don't really have much of a wow-factor.  No fancy ingredients, nothing flashy.  Just a tender muffin with a hint of nutmeg and a

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Fast and Easy Freezer Meals (Freezer Meals part 2)

So. Freezer meals.  A very popular trend, it seems.  My last post on freezer meals had about TEN TIMES the number of views than any other post I've written.

And here's why:  Freezer meals make you happy.  It's true.  Think about it.  For the little effort it takes to throw these together and toss in the freezer, you get out of it healthy, home-cooked meals.  Nothing from a box, no bazillion-calorie expensive restaurant meals, and dinner is put together with a minimum of effort and time.  No wonder it's ten times more popular to do this than to make bagels. (Although making your own bagels can be a wonderful thing.)   I know freezer meals make me happy. 

So, as promised, more freezer meals.  If you haven't already, check out my first post on freezer meals, for a walk-through of how I like to handle doing freezer meals, with a nifty tip involving a drink

Thursday, August 15, 2013

White Chocolate Strawberry Torte

So you're walking through your friendly neighborhood market (super or otherwise), and you spy some lovely strawberries.  Ripe and red and you can almost hear them whisper "Pick me! Pick me! We won't be here long!"

But then there comes the dilemma.  What do you do with these lovely specimens of berrydom?   Well, you could just slice them up and eat them.  Totally acceptable.  What about a nice, downhome strawberry shortcake? Delicious. Easy. Great idea.  Or, if you really want to impress the socks off your family/guests/self, you could try this awesome white-chocolate-strawberry torte.  Elegant, delicious, and (shh, don't tell) really easy. 

I'll show you how.  Go ahead, give in to the produce.  Grab plenty of juicy berries and let's go....

Monday, August 5, 2013

Mason Jar Desserts: Any-Fruit Crumble

This recipe is the marriage of two great things:  a really easy, super-versatile dessert recipe - and the amazing convenience (not to mention cuteness) of storing/cooking/freezing/serving in mason jars.

Happy things about this recipe:
  • The recipe can be made in a 9x13 pan, or in 8 half-pint, wide-mouth mason jars.
  • You can freeze before cooking.  Then, when you want a dessert, put the frozen jars in the cold

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Blue Ribbon Bagels

In 5th and 6th grade, I did a short stint in the local 4-H club.  4-H, for my non-American readers, is a club where children basically learn farming and homemaking skills.  I lived squarely in the middle of the suburbs, so our 4-H club focused solely on cooking and sewing.

When it came time to enter our own creations in the county fair, for whatever unfathomable reason, I chose to make homemade bagels to enter.  So for a few weeks, my patient parents dealt with batches upon batches of practice bagels filling up our kitchen counters.  My main problem was that some of

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Homemade Crockpot Granola

Two Christmases ago, a magical device appeared in some of the stores in the big capital city here.  It was called a "multivarka" which translates to "multi-cooker".  Is it possible?  Could it be?  I had a wonderful suspicion that a multivarka was actually a crockpot.

My husband, who is pretty good at Christmas shopping, had a long conversation with a salesperson and confirmed that yes, a multivarka is indeed a crockpot.  And guess what I got for Christmas...

Now, what to make with my new appliance?  My sister recommended a recipe that had earned her accolades and won friends -- crockpot granola.  This was perfect, since I love granola.  Also, the

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Coconut Shrimp Curry

I grew up in the Seattle area.  Seafood is part of the backdrop of growing up there.  Shrimp pasta, grilled salmon, fried clams, and crab legs that you crack yourself before dipping the sweet, delectable meat into clarified butter.  Ok, now I'm salivating.

Where I live now, good seafood is hard to come by.  I scrape by on McDonald's Filet-o-Fish sandwiches and bags of frozen white fish originating somewhere in Scandinavia.  But sometimes I

Friday, July 5, 2013

Snickers Ice Cream Pie

The fourth of July is my second favorite holiday.  (Christmas wins every time). But I love the Fourth for so many reasons.  It's the picture of what America wishes it was -- family all around, small town parades, apple pie, potato salad, fried chicken, all generations together, and a grand display of flash and bang and beauty.  

It's a summer holiday, so things are just less fussy.  There is no formal attire for the Fourth of July, no posed family portraits, no fancy food.  The food for this holiday is the kind that you can eat with your

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes

In my house, this recipe is called "Grandpa Colditz Pancakes".  I really only have one memory of my Grandpa Colditz, since he died when I was still a toddler.

We were visiting him and Grandma in Tennessee.  I remember him taking a coffee can, and taking me with him out to a little dark building.  He took a long nail and nailed it into the rim of the coffee can (they were metal back then), and then removed it and did the

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Four Fantastic Freezer Meals (Freezer Meals part 1)

****UPDATE: Check out my second post on Freezer Meals HERE with even more great meals! ****

Ok, so the discovery of the ziploc bag freezer meals has been a revelation for me.

Sure, I've read up on OAMC (Once A Month Cooking -- see, I know the lingo!). I've read through the

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Salmon-Potato Quiche with Fresh Dill

I am on a personal crusade to change the image of quiche.  People think of it as a menu item for a ladies' brunch.  And that's pretty much it.  But it's got so much more potential than that!

Quiche is such a great dish.  It's amazingly versatile.  Comfort food or fancy food?  Both!  Breakfast, lunch, dinner?  Check, check and check.  Freezer-friendly? Yes!  You can throw in there whatever you've got in your fridge.  When I was a house-mom for orphan teenagers, I used to make huge pans

Monday, June 3, 2013

Old Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry shortcake will always make me think of my best friend, Val.  (Strawberry shortcake the dessert, that is.  Strawberry Shortcake the cartoon makes me think of my sister who I think had the entire collection of dolls when we were kids. But I digress.)  Anyway, every year when strawberry season hit, Val would hit the market and buy up kilos upon kilos of strawberries.  (We live in Europe.  We use kilos here.)  Then she'd get home, wash and slice and bag the berries in her immaculate kitchen.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

It's funny the things you miss when you are living far away from home.  Of course you miss family and friends.  You miss weddings and birthdays and even funerals.  You miss the sights and sounds of your hometown.  I never knew how much I would miss mountains until I lived in a flat place. 

But inevitably, when talking about home and what you miss, the conversation always comes around to food.  People miss their favorite Mexican place, or the way dad grills burgers, or mom's pie on Thanksgiving.  I miss seafood.  Good, fresh seafood.  Perfectly fried clams from Seattle's iconic Ivar's restaurant.  But that's for another post.

Root beer is another thing that people just really miss.  And by people, I mean Americans that like root beer in the first place.  Root beer is pretty much an exclusively North American thing and you just can't find it easily anywhere else in the world. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Welsh Cakes

Every summer starting when I was 10, I went to summer camp for a week.  It was one of the highlights of my year.  My time at camp impacted me tremendously and is part of the reason I am in camping ministry today. 

Mostly when I think of camp, I remember the songs, the games, the rope swing, and the constant smell of campfire smoke and pine needles. 

I also remember the welsh cakes.  We had these for breakfast at least once every year I was there.  They are not quite a biscuit, not quite a scone.  A little sweeter and denser than either one, dotted with

Irish Coffee Tortoni

The first time I enjoyed the taste of coffee was sometime in the 1980's.  A recipe called "Coffee Tortoni" made it's way around our family.  I remember both my grandmother and my mother making it. My mom always made it in fancy foil cupcake liners when she made it for company.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Chicken Roasted Orange Salad

I have three kids.  The oldest is four years old.  A lot of my culinary experience the last few years is related to hot dogs, apple wedges (peeled with no speck of brown), and mac and cheese. 

Usually, my lunch consists of the dregs of the mac and cheese pot.  Pathetic but true.

Today I wasn't feeling it.  I wanted something grown-up for lunch.  Like a nice salad.  Interesting flavor combinations.  Different textures.  At least a little bit sophisticated.  Something usingingredients currently in my kitchen.

Here's what I came up with.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Homemade Hamburger Buns

So what do you do when cheeseburgers are in the list of your top five favorite foods, and you can get ground beef, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. BUT you cannot get hamburger buns?

You make 'em.   From scratch.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Roasted Sesame Broccoli

Many of my favorite recipes have some history behind them.  A traditional family recipe, something I had at a friend's house, or a recipe I collected while traveling.

But then, there are some recipes I love just because they are awesome.  Like this one.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Cheese-Herb Biscuit Cups

I love freshly baked breads.  It just feels homey and peaceful to me.  I never imagine bread-baking happening in a stressful environment.  I always feel like when someone walks into my house and they are met with the smell of baking bread wafting from the kitchen, it is like a subliminal message that says: "exhale.  relax.  it's safe and warm here.  good things are coming."

Sunday, May 5, 2013

S'mores Mini Pies

So this last winter was the first winter we had a wood-stove.  Man, it was awesome.  On chilly mornings I would fire that thing up and sit in my chair right next to it, getting all toasty warm with a quilt and a cup of coffee.

Another bonus: since we had a fire going constantly, and we had some marshmallows leftover from last camp season, I got into the habit of making myself a toasty, tasty, one-serving treat for a dessert every now and then -- yes, a s'more, right in my house.  That campfire taste instantly took me right back to 4th of July gatherings at my grandparents' house when I was a kid.  That toasty, roasty tastewas a time machine straight to childhood nostalgia, and that sweet, crunchy, chocolately, melty bite was a perfect mouthful of a treat.

I highly recommend getting a wood stove, just for this purpose.