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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Summer 2020

The best thing about summer in the Midwest to me is gardening.  Last Saturday I made my first batch of basil pesto for the year.  I will be making another bunch tomorrow morning.  When I make it I freeze it in an ice cube tray and then when frozen, I transfer to a freezer safe bag.  I like to have at least 24 cubes to get me through to the next year. 

Other than work and the grocery store runs, we're still staying to ourselves at home.  Like all celebrations since March, the 4th of July was very different this year.  First of all because I'm saddened by things going on in our country.  And second of course because of the pandemic.  We grilled out and then sat on our back porch and enjoyed fireworks from our back yard neighbors.  The only thing that has remained "normal" this summer is my love of gardening and cooking with fresh ingredients.  At least I have that. 

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Killer Aioli

Friday when we went grocery shopping they had some beautiful grass fed/grass finished ground lamb that I couldn't resist.  The price was actually pretty good too.  So Saturday for dinner we had lamb burgers with an amazing aioli and oven fries.

Lamb Burgers:
I keep them very simple.  I make the patties and sprinkle with a little salt, pepper and a pinch of cumin.  It was raining so I cooked them inside in a cast iron skillet.  About 5 minutes per side is perfect for us.

The aioli is what makes these burgers amazing.
Lemon, garlic, dill aioli:
Juice from 1/2 lemon
3 cloves of diced garlic
dried or fresh dill to taste
Mix all ingredients with 3/4 cup of mayo

Drizzle mayo on the burgers, garnish with thinly sliced red onions.


Today we had our first BLT of the season.  I may or may not have had potato chips with the left over aioli.  Yes it's that good.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


We moved to our house 8 years ago and started two large gardens.  We built them out of cedar.  The wood was starting to split so earlier in the year we took them down.  We didn't rebuild them as I wanted them moved up a little from their original space.  So we decided to use our small garden and pots until we rebuild the gardens this fall with stone.

In the small garden we have that's made with bricks I planted a 4 foot row of a sunflower mix in the back of it and a tabasco, mammoth jalapeno and regular jalapeno in the front row.  The mammoth jalapeno plant was pulled up and chewed up by something.  I'm guessing squirrels as our yard is fenced in and nothing much else can get in. Then one night last week we had very high winds and it broke a couple of the sunflowers. There are still plenty but I wanted a full row.

In pots I am growing basil, oregano, tomatoes, baby bok choy, green peppers, lettuce and my rosemary that we wintered in the garage. We did have arugula but the high temperatures made that bolt pretty quickly.  The lettuce needs to be eaten before it bolts so it will be a week of salads for lunch.

We have a wonderful farmers market here and plenty of farms that sell their produce.  I supplement what I grow with their bounty.  I thought about just not putting in a garden again or growing anything as it is a constant fight with weather and creatures but there is nothing more satisfying then going out to your yard and picking things to eat.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Things That Make Me Smile

                            Not a great picture but I love driving by this Alpaca Farm in Albers.

This chicken was processed last Friday and eaten last Sunday. You can't get fresher or more delicious than that. 

Saturday, June 6, 2020


I'm not sure exactly how 'traditional' this recipe is but I can tell you it is delicious, fast and easy.
I don't even remember where I got the recipe from I've had it for so many years. And the bonus is you will have extra chocolate sauce and lasts for 3 days in the fridge and is delicious over ice cream.

Chocolate Sauce:
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 Cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Oil for frying
Flower tortillas cut in strips or triangles
Powdered sugar for dusting

Bring to a boil 1/4 Cup of water, sugar and salt stirring until the sugar has desolved. Wisk in cocoa until smooth.  Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.

Heat oil in a pan until approximately 350 degrees.  In small batches fry the tortillas turning once.
Place tortillas on a paper towel or cooling rack and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Plate and drizzle with chocolate sauce.


Monday, May 25, 2020

Chapter 53

Today is the beginning of Chapter 53 for me.  With the pandemic still going strong it will just be the big guy and I celebrating at home.

Friday we went to our local meat market and picked up two beautiful large beef bones with meat.  I started the broth yesterday at 2 pm and when I woke up today the kitchen smells amazing.  I love making homemade chicken and beef broth.  There are so many ways to use it. The bone marrow is so good for you.  I use organic/local meat bones because with the broth you really want to make sure it was a good healthy animal.

My maternal grandparents had a farm when I was growing up.  So I grew up eating the meat that they raised.  I can remember my favorite part of a pork chop or chicken bone or steak bone was to suck the flavorful marrow out.  (Some may think that is disgusting, but it is really delicious.)

Bone Broth
2 large carrots
2 medium onions
4 stalks of celery
celery tops
4 thumb size pieces of ginger
5 cloves garlic
Chicken carcass or beef bones
Cover with water

Cook in slow cooker for 24 hours.

I don't add any spices to the bone broth because I use it to make various different dishes.  When I warm the broth for that dish I will add the spices.

This is how the beef bone broth looked when I started it.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A few dinners from this past week.

All beef hotdog, chili, cheese wrapped in an eggroll wrapper.  

Ground beef, pinto beans, Mexican seasonings over rice with a cheese roll up.

An amazing grass fed sirloin.

Saturday night dinner.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

A simple but tasty lunch

We don't eat lunch meat very often and we probably only eat ham once or twice a year.  For some reason though I was craving a maple glazed ham, swiss cheese sandwich.

I took beautiful chibatta bread, spread a little mayo and Dijon mustard on it.  Added sliced ham, swiss cheese and red onions.  I toasted them in the oven for about 5 minutes to warm the inside. I ate mine with a side of bread and butter pickles.

Simple but craving fulfilled.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Things That Make Me Smile

I LOVE the colors in our back yard this time of year.

My orchid at work is blooming again!  It is 4 years old.  It bloomed solid for two years.  I repotted it and now it is blooming again.  

Saturday morning pancakes.

Family Favorite Flapjacks
From The Wooden Spoon Bread Book

Sift together and set aside...
1 cup unbleached ap flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, beat...
2 eggs

Blend into beaten eggs...
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 cup buttermilk

Add dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture, stirring only until dry ingredients are moist.  Bake on a lightly greased preheated pan/griddle at medium high, turning only once.  Makes approximately 10 4 inch cakes.

Have a wonderful Saturday!!

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Random Thoughts and Taco Sauce

 Our state has been basically shut down for almost seven weeks now. I know so many people have been negatively affected by this pandemic.  I am not trying to make light of it but to avoid going crazy I need to look for some of the positive changes this has brought.

1. No visitors, furloughed or work from home employees means prime parking spots are available.  I no  longer have to walk so far to get in to work.

2. 90 percent of the routine meetings have been put on hold.  This saves SO much of my time.

3. I'm now allowed to wear jeans to work.

4.The big guy is at home all day so he has been doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, etc.  before I get home from work.

5. With him being home in the evenings we spend more time together and have dinner a little earlier. Which is something we rarely get to do during the work week. From what I've seen on social media, a lot of families are back to doing more activities as a family.

6. Air pollution all across the globe has significantly decreased. Animals are out running around in areas typically full of people.

7. Our eating routines haven't changed much but it is so nice to see so many people cooking from home.

8.  The pace of life has just slowed down and it is a very welcome change.

 Home made taco sauce. This stuff is awesome.  I even had some on my scrambled eggs one morning.

                                                      A gift from one of my Doctors.

Stay safe everyone!                                 

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Happy Easter and a dessert recipe

Happy Easter!  I hope everyone is doing OK and is able to spend at least a little bit of today doing something fun and or relaxing.  We are going to have a nice dinner of ham, mac and cheese, asparagus, deviled eggs and black bottom cupcakes.  I made these for the first time probably 13 years ago.  They are easy to make a delicious.  Think of them as a nice chocolate cake with cheese cake in the middle.  Oh yeah!

Black Bottom Cupcakes:

Cream cheese filling:
8 ounces of room temperature cream cheese
1 egg room temperature
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Cream all ingredients together. I use a mixer.


1 1/2 Cup Flour
1 Cup Sugar
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Cup water
1/3 cup oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all dry ingredients.  Mix all wet ingredients.  Combine.
Pour into muffin tin lined with papers.  Spoon 1 heaping tablespoon of cream cheese filling onto the cupcakes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

I have a large stash of cupcake liners.  I thought I would use the bunny ones for today since it is Easter.

Before baking.

Cool and Enjoy!