Friday, December 13, 2013

Our kids

Our three lovely children

So well behaved!  (Don't let them fool you!) Tee Hee!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Italian Prune Plum Cake

We have a tree out behind our place that is heavy with ripe and perfect fruit right now. Darian and I went out this morning to pick a few pounds of plums and we made cake!

It was so delicious served with ice cream! It has just the right mix of sweet and sour and it has a great rustic look to it. The crust is so thick and has a scone-like quality.
I bet it would be awesome drizzled with heavy cream instead of ice cream.

The recipe is great because it is super easy and fun to make. We served it right out of the oven!

Here is the recipe:
3 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 sticks butter
3 tsp. baking powder
1 egg
1/2 c. milk
Blend like pie mix, then roll out on a greased cookie sheet or into a large cake pan, then spread plums on top. ABOUT (3 pounds plums), halved and quartered.
Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes.
Before eating sprinkle with sugar.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Michelle’s 3 Bean Veggie Chili

My chili recipe always goes over so great I am going to post the recipe. It is so easy and everyone always loves it. It is perfect for a casual dinner with friends.

Michelle’s Veggie Chili

1 can of white beans (Drained and rinsed)
1 can of black beans (Drained and rinsed)
1 can of kidney beans (Drained and rinsed)
1 can of diced red tomatoes
1 can of diced yellow tomatoes (if you can't find yellow just use 2 cans of red)
1 green pepper chopped
1 small yellow onion diced
1 med zucchini diced
1 packet of chili seasoning (You can get them in the spice isle at the store, the brand doesn’t matter it is just the perfect blend of seasoning to start with.)
spice to taste
Mix it all together and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer until veggies are soft (about 25 minutes) Leave on simmer until serve. Stir once in a while*

*You can also throw all of this in a crock pot on low in the morning and it will be perfect and ready to serve by the time you get home in the afternoon.

Use chili powder and Tabasco to taste. I tend to keep it mild and put Tabasco on the table.
Serve with shredded cheese and sour cream.

Corn bread and tortilla chips are good side dishes.

It is the perfect comfort food on a cold day and it is always a hit!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Cream Cheese Blueberry Pie

I found this recipe online and really wanted to try it. It appealed to me because it really doesn't use a lot of sugar. I don't like things that are overly sweet.

I just tasted it for the first time and I have to say I really like how it turned out. I think if you like your pie sweeter you could add a whisp of warm bluberry syrup on the plate when serving with a few fresh berries as a garnish and it would be just lovely!

I will definatly be making this one again soon!

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
12 ounces cream cheese (1 1/2 eight ounce packages)
1 Tbsp. flour
3 eggs
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tea. salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1 9" unbaked pie crust shell
Using a fork, stir softened cream cheese until smooth. Mix in flour.
Separate eggs, reserving 2 tsp. of egg white. Beat remaining egg whites and add
to beaten yolks. Add sugar, salt and sour cream. Combine the egg mixture with the
cream cheese mixture, stirring well. Brush the unbaked pie shell lightly with the
reserved egg white. Dust the blueberries lightly with flour and
place in a thick layer on the bottom of the crust.
Smooth the cream cheese mixture evenly over the blueberries and bake in a preheated
350 deg. oven for 45 minutes or until set.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Avocado banana flax chocolate chip cookies! (A healthier Chocolate Chip cookie)

I started with a traditional cookie recipe and changed it up to make it a healthier treat for the kid. 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 sticks) butter, softened
1 ripe avocado
1 over ripe banana
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) Chocolate Morsels (Darker chocolate would be healthier thank milk chocolate) 
3 TBLSP flax seed

PREHEAT oven to 375° F.

COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, flax seeds and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, banana, avocado, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.

BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Greek Lemon Rice Soup

Today I made Greek Lemon Rice Soup. It is a favorite of my family. We were spending almost $6 per little cup at the local Greek place. It seemed simple enough, so I set out to copy the recipe and save some coin.
I think I've finally succeeded. I like it whenever I've had any dental work because it is easy to eat, it is also a favorite when I've been sick and am starting to eat solid foods again. It is full of protein and easy on the tummy.

Greek Lemon Rice Soup

4 Cups chicken broth
Approx 3/4 Cup of uncooked regular rice
2 eggs
The juice of 3 small/med sized lemons or 2 Large lemons (About 4 TBLSP)
Salt and pepper to taste (I like a lot of pepper)

In 2-quart saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Reduce heat, add rice, cover and simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

In small bowl, beat eggs and lemon juice. Stirring constantly, add 1 cup of hot soup, a little at a time. Stir mixture into soup in pan and heat. Do not boil! Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Serves 4.
NOTE: More rice makes thicker soup. If it is too thick, just add a little water.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Muffins start with Mmmmmmm....

This evening I made these super easy muffins. They turned out perfect. Not too sweet, not too heavy, just the perfect snack. They go great with coffee as well.
The recipe is so simple anyone could make them. It is such a nice base that you could easily replace the toasted almonds with any kind of nuts or maybe add some poppyseeds? (I might try that the next time I make them.)

Olive Oil Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Powdered sugar, for sifting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.
Blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil. Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Crush the almonds with your hands as you add them to the batter and stir until mixed. Fill the muffin tin almost to the top of the paper liners. Bake until golden on top and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins onto a platter and let cool for 5 more minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the muffins and serve.

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
The Food of Genoa

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Even though we are in the first days of Spring, it seems the cold and flu season is just starting to kick into full gear right now. Every third person I know is suffering from the sniffles of some sort.
I have a favorite cure all type soup for beating the nasty. It is called Tom-Yum soup. It is a Hot and Sour soup with chicken, mushrooms, lemon grass, chili, and lime juice. (Some people like it with Shrimp or even just a veggie version, it is good any way you do it, but I am chicken soup kind of gal myself.)
If you don't have a Thai resturant on every corner like we do here in Seattle this soup is just as easy to throw together in your own kitchen.

Here is my favorite soup for beating the yuck (This is the shrimp version, the variations are on the bottom):

3 cups chicken stock (or veggie stock if you prefer)
1 stalk lemongrass, sliced thinly (tough outer leaves and bulb removed)
3 kaffir lime leaves (find these in the freezer section of your local Asian grocery store)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 small green or red chillies (depending on desired spiciness), de-seeded and sliced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
a handful of fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced thinly
12 medium or large raw shrimp, shells removed
1 can coconut milk
optional: additional Thai red chillies (left whole), plus other vegetables (like green and red bell peppers), as desired

1. Pour stock into a deep cooking pot.

2. Place lemongrass slices in a food processor and process until finely grated, or pound by hand with a pestle & mortar and add to the broth.

4. Add the mushrooms and shrimp. Boil for 8-10 minutes.

5. Turn down the heat to low and add the coconut milk and fish sauce. Stir well to combine. Test the soup for spice and salt, adding more chillies and/or fish sauce (instead of salt) as desired. If too spicy for your taste, add more coconut milk.

6. Serve in bowls with fresh cilantro sprinkled over and quarters of fresh lime on the side. ENJOY!


For a vegetarian version, replace shrimp with cubes of firm or deep-fried tofu, and substitute vegetarian fish soy or soy sauce for regular fish sauce. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken.
If you prefer chicken over seafood, substitute shrimp with chicken breast (cut into bite-size pieces).
This soup can also be made without coconut milk (replace with more stock). Tom Yum is served this way in many parts of Thailand.
For an even healthier soup, add more vegetables like red and green bell peppers, celery, cherry tomatoes, etc. (at step # 4).
If desired, add rice or egg noodles for a nutritionally complete and satisfying meal.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

I eat solids now!

Last night Sean had his first taste of rice cereal. As you can see, he enjoyed it very much!

Hanging out with Papa

Baby Sean contemplates eating his blankie while his Papa is writing a new song in the background.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Strawberry Refrigerator Cake- RECIPE!

Since so many people have asked for the recipe, here it is:
Strawberry Refrigerator Cake

For the cake:

1 pkg of plain yellow cake mix
4 oz of reduced fat cream cheese at room temp
1 cup of water
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 tsp of pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs at room temp

For the filling and garnish:
2 quarts of fresh strawberries (Or any other seasonal fruit that you like!)
1 cup (8ozs) of Sour Cream
1 container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1- Make the cake. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat at 325F. Spray three 9 inch round cake pans line with parchment paper.

2- Place all cake ingredients in large mixing bowl and beat with electric mixer until all ingredients are well mixed.

Divide the cake mix between all three pans, approx 1 3/4 cups each pan. Smoothing the batter with a rubber spatula.

3- Bake the cake layers until they are golden brown and the tops spring back when touched. 20-25 minutes.

4- Meanwhile, make the filling. Cut off and discard the caps of the strawberries. Cut into 4 or 4 slices each. Place in a bowl and set aside.

5- Place sour cream, whipped topping and confectioners sugar in a bowl and beat together at med speed for about 2 minutes.

6- Transfer the cakes to wire racks to cool for 30 minutes.

7- To assemble cake: Transfer one layer right side up to a serving tray. Spoon a heaping cup of the filling on that layer and, using a spatula, spread it not quite to the edge of the cake. Arrange 1 1/2 cups of the sliced strawberries on top of the filling, making sure you spread them all the way to the edge. Repeat for the 2nd layer.

8- Place the final layer on top of the 2nd layer and spread the remaining filling over the top leaving the sides of the cake bare.
DO NOT add the remaining strawberries yet!

Place the cake in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours or overnight.

9- Just before serving, garnish the top of the cake with the remaining strawberries. I find it helpful to make a little strawberry wall around the edges and then fill in the middle, that way they do not slide off.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Wednesday, January 02, 2013


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