Monthly Archives: April 2013

Healthy Oatmeal-Raisin and Molasses Muffins

oatmeal raisin muffinsBreakfast options at our house were a bit ‘blah’ this morning. Clearly, something was begging to be baked. But just “what” was the question.

Since I have been wanting to add a good oatmeal muffin recipe to my go-to list, I decided that was a good idea for this morning. However, the last recipe I tried for these, I only halfway liked. I also knew I wanted something with lots of good-for-you ingredients in it. So, I tweaked this, added that… and these little guys were created. And I think they will do!

So, not only do these muffins taste good, they are also a pretty healthy option for breakfast or to go along with dinner. Other than a sprinkling of cinnamon-sugar on top, the only sweetener used is molasses, giving you a subtle sweetness that is backed up with the deeper flavor of the molasses. (which is also full of vitamins!) Plain yogurt is used instead of oil, which kept them really moist, and white- wheat flour and oatmeal give you a good dose of whole grains. Raisins were the perfect compliment to the flavors, and I think the perfect finishing touch. Try ’em! (I think I might just go eat another..right now…even though I’ve already had two!)

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Homemade Pizza Crust

homemade pizza picmonkeyI’ve always liked homemade pizza. It’s such a great, laid-back meal and so customize-able to your own family’s tastes. You can go meatless and fill it up with cheese and veggies, or you could go the other way and do a meat-lovers. You could have fun and add pineapple and gourmet cheeses, and the list goes on.

What are your favorite pizza toppings for homemade pizza?

The pizza dough recipe featured in this post is quite simple and one of our favorites. One batch will make 2 medium round pizzas that can feed approx. 2 people each- so 4 people all together (depending on how thin you roll the crust and how hungry the people are who are eating!) Or, you could divide the dough into smaller pieces and roll out to make smaller individual pizzas!


Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • pinch of red chili pepper flakes
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. warm water
  • 2 teaspoons active, dry yeast
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast.


Stir to combine and set aside so the yeast can dissolve while you are working on the other ingredients.

In a food processor (or bowl) add the flour and salt, garlic powder, pepper flakes, and Italian seasoning. Mix.


Add the olive oil and mix until combined.

Now, pour in the water/yeast mixture with the food processor running. You may need to add additional water- 1 Tbs. at a time- you are looking for the mixture to turn into a soft dough that no longer clings to the sides of the bowl.

Take this dough out and turn onto a floured surface and just slightly knead. Form into a ball.


Pour a small amount of olive oil into a large bowl. Spread it around the bottom to coat. Place the ball of dough in the bowl and then turn it over, so the top is covered in the oil.

Cover the bowl with a clean, warm, damp cloth.


Set aside to rise for at least 1 hour. (you can use this as soon as it is done rising, or you can store it in the refrigerator in a closed container until you are ready to use it)


When the dough has risen, remove from the bowl and place on a clean surface.

Divide into 2 pieces and allow to rest for several minutes.


Working with 1 section of dough at a time, roll each piece into a rough circle (or rectangle- or whatever shape you want, really!) on a lightly floured surface.


Sprinkle a little bit of cornmeal down and place the dough on top just to coat the bottom lightly (this prevents the dough from sticking to the pan and also gives a nice texture)

Then transfer the dough to a baking stone or pan.

Top with your favorite sauce, cheeses, and other toppings.

Bake at 425 for approx. 12 minutes- or until the cheeses melt, the top is bubbly and the bottom of the pizza is beginning to brown.


The pizza pictured here includes: sauce, 1 cup of freshly grated mozzarella, 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan, white mushrooms, red pepper, fresh spring onions, and a little bit of black pepper. Mmm..mmm..mmm!



dough recipe adapted from Giada de Laurentis

Classic Apple Pie

P1030484I love apples. I love pie. I love baking apple pie!

I think pie is one of the most satisfying desserts to make. The finished product is just so rewarding- baked beautifully, golden, and bubbly. And then, to have that first piece slide perfectly out of the

pie plate…ahh, makes me happy!

This week was my husband’s birthday, and as is our custom, he got to choose a favorite meal and dessert as part of the celebration. So, for the second year in a row- he chose this apple pie. Now, that might not seem too amazing, but you see, Tim did not always like apple pie. In fact, it has only been since I have been making this apple pie that he has found that it is one of his favorite treats! And so, my once “chocolate-only-please” guy has been reformed and now asks for this once-disliked pastry, frequently! (WOO-HOO! I love it when I can change his opinion about certain foods!)

P1030467Ok, now I must admit- this recipe is very basic. It is simply apple pie with homemade crust-  you are very likely to have a similar recipe that your grandma used to make. But, as I have said before, I like simple and classic dishes. And I think simple dishes are some of the best dishes when they are done well. (that’s how they became classics!)  Also, you will not find pre-made crusts and canned apple pie filling in this recipe (because those are filled with icky chemicals and things!)- it’s completely from scratch!

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Homemade Glass Cleaner

P1030441I ran out of glass cleaner yesterday. It was Thursday, which meant it was Cassidy’s day to clean the front (glass) door, and Adam’s day to clean the fronts of the kitchen appliances (dishwasher, oven, etc.). (the kids have daily chores – I will have to post our version/method of chore charts sometime for any who may be interested) So- I needed that glass cleaner.

I remembered a pin I saw on Pinterest recently for a homemade glass cleaner recipe that looked really easy and promising. So, I looked it up and decided to try out a small batch too see if I liked it.

Now, let me just say that I have tried homemade cleaners before. Some, I have really liked, others…not so much! As much as I would like to save money and use more natural cleaning products- if I don’t feel like it is doing a good job, you can just forget it.

P1030443However, I was so pleased with this homemade glass cleaner, that I had to pass it along to you, too!

The pin came from The Frugal Girls.

The only ingredients needed for the cleaner are

  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Dawn dish soap

simple, already had these on hand, and cheap!

Check out their post for the details!

Creamy Cheese and Broccoli Rotini (stove-top)

P1030373Have you noticed that I have a lot of recipes that include the word “creamy” in the title? I guess I’m not very creative when it comes to descriptive names. But it just goes to show that creamy dishes are definite favorites in our household. And if it ain’t broke- don’t fix it!

But really, this one is a winner- we all like it a lot. I love that it is quick and easy to throw together- no baking required. It’s all done on the stove-top (with just a few seconds under the broiler). This is also one of my favorite meatless dishes. I like to try to do at least one meatless dish each week to help the ‘ol wallet out.

So, what is it? It is whole wheat rotini, along with broccoli and cauliflour, coated in a creamy garlic white sauce- similar to alfredo. (but alfredo generally uses parmesan cheese in the sauce).  Then topped with a generous amount of mozzarella cheese.  Continue reading

Ruby- Red Raspberry Sauce

P1030347I love, love raspberries. Don’t you?? I am eagerly awaiting the summer harvest from our own raspberry bushes that are just beginning to bud new green leaves for the season. Yay!

Here is a raspberry sauce that is fresh and lovely in every way. And let me just tell you…it is GOOD!

Tart, sweet, and bursting with raspberry flavor, it also boasts an absolutely striking red color, making it quite pleasing to the eye as well- giving you an absolutely beautiful, refreshing sauce.

P1030381Vanilla ice cream is the perfect companion to this topping, but you could also drizzle some over a simple yellow cake and allow it to kinda soak in. (top with a little homemade whipped cream to send it over the top!), or use it as a syrup for pancakes or waffles! So many options!

Really, I don’t think you could go wrong with this one. You MUST try!

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Meat-and-Potato-Man Dinner (aka “Snow on the Mountain”)

P1030279I must say, this is one of those dishes that is super simple on every count. It’s simple to prepare, simple in ingredients, and simple in concept. So, if you are looking for something fancy or clever, this would not be it. However, it really is a “Meat and Potatoes” meal, if ever there was one. And, that would probably explain why it has always been one of my hubby’s favorite dinners for me to prepare- he is definitely one of those “meat and potato” men.

When I was little, my mom would make this for dinner, and, (probably tired of dealing with picky eaters) gave it a ‘fun name’- “Snow on the Mountain” for us kids to call it. Cute, Mom.

So, what is this dish? It is simply ground beef with diced up onions, that has been browned and then topped with cheese. Then you top that with fluffy mashed potatoes- and mix in cheese with that. All of this is baked for a few minutes to get it hot, melt the cheeses, and give the potatoes a nice golden and almost- crusted top. And that’s it! Super simple, huh?

It is good, though. I mean, what’s not to like? Cheesy beef and cheesy, fluffy, scrumptious mashed potatoes- yeah, it’ll do!

So, forego that new salad you’ve been wanting to try (you know, the one with all the stuff in it that your man will look at like a calf at a new gate) and prepare him a classic, no-fuss, no-surprises “meat and potato” dish that he will certainly love.

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Crustless Quiche


I know I’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately that include pork. Recently I’ve shared Brown Sugar and Garlic Pork Chops, Easy Cheesy Baked Hash Browns and Sausage, and Sausage Rice and Bean Soup. But, as I mentioned before, we recently had a pig butchered and I am stocked up on pork now! So, there’s the reason, and please excuse the redundancy! (I hope you like pork!!)

This quiche was delicious! Yum Yum! I have found that I personally like quiche just as much, if not better, by omitting the traditional crust on the bottom. And that always makes preparation quicker and the whole dish a little healthier.

A very thick quiche that is stuffed full of sausage, zucchini, onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and cheese is what this one is all about. The finished product is buttery, moist, and bursting with wonderful, savory flavors. It puffs up beautifully in the oven and boasts a great, golden brown top.

This was another of our “breakfast-for-dinner” meals. But, quiche hold heat in so well, it would also be perfect to take to a brunch or to a family as a gift.

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Brown Sugar and Garlic Pork Chops


This is my new favorite way to prepare pork chops. Slightly sweet, and plenty savory. Delicious!

  • 4 pork chops (I prefer bone-in, but any kind will work)
  • 1 tsp. (at least) Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown Sugar
  • 2-4 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup water

Rinse the pork chops and place in a baking pan.


Sprinkle with Salt and pepper. Sprinkle with a small amount of cinnamon. Mince up the garlic cloves and place on top of the chops. Next, mound approximately 2 Tbs. of brown sugar on top of each chop.


Pour in the water around the pork chops.

Bake at 400 until the chops test done. (the length of cooking time will depend on the thickness of the chop and whether they are boneless or bone-in. Mine were a thicker, bone-in chop, and I baked about 40 minutes.- Always test to be sure the juices run clear- especially near the bone.

I covered mine for the first 20 minutes- and then uncovered for the final 15-20 minutes.


We like to dip these in brown mustard.


Easy Cheesy Baked Hash-browns and Sausage


Though I love to cook, Saturdays are hard days for me to get the motivation to stop what I am doing and prepare dinner. We are usually busy working outside or catching up on projects around the house. So, a dinner that is quick and easy is in order!

This is another “breakfast-for-dinner” meal. As mentioned in a previous post, I usually make a ‘breakfast-y” meal once a week. We really enjoyed this baked version of hash browns, peppers and onions, ground sausage, and cheese! (Sometimes it seems it’s the simplest dishes that taste the best.)

The steps to prepare and make this dish are simple and quick- the ingredients are few, and the result is yummy! What could be better, right?

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