Category Archives: recipe

Bananas Foster pancake

I guess Tuesday was National Pancake Day? I didn’t know that, but somehow I ended up making a pancake for breakfast ūüėÄ

You know I have had the love for Kodiak cakes lately:

This was super easy and delicious.  This serves one. No sharing!  I used an 8-inch oven safe skillet for this.

Turn on the broiler in your oven. Place pan on between medium and medium-high and spray with non-stick coating. Slice a banana in 1/2 inch slices and place in the pan.

I will hit this side with a little spritz of non-stick as well, just to keep everything mobile.  Cook for a couple minutes until you see the bananas start to become translucent on the bottom. Then flip.

Noms. These are good just like this on oatmeal, too.  I will put cinnamon on these as well. Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of brown sugar on the banana slices.

Mix up a serving of Kodiak cake mix in a bowl. I used the whole 1/2 cup of water this time (normally I don’t for fluffier cakes). Pour evenly over the banana mixture.

Like with any pancake mix, lumps don’t matter. Now let this cook until bubbles form and you can see the edge puff up. It takes just a minute or two.

See how the brown sugar is oozing up with the bubbles? Yes, indeed.

Now stick the whole pan under the broiler.

Do not walk away. Don’t do it. It takes a minute or two under the broiler to cook the top. Don’t forget the oven mitt when taking the pan out.

Loosen around the edges and flip the pan upside down over a plate and the cake should fall out pretty much in one piece. You need to do this right away while the sugar is liquid. Otherwise it will stick to the pan.

Only one little bit stuck on me. I’m not sure how this picture looks, but trust me – this is so good! It’s got 14 grams of protein, too! Woo!

Quorn chili

Welcome February! January was certainly a learning curve for me in terms of the business and getting used to all that.  I have to share a funny (sort of) story about my old job. A week or so ago, I got a call from one of the account managers. I guess he missed the memo that I was gone.

Them: “Hi Lori, are you typing today?” ¬†That was always the opening to having a specific job for me.¬†

Me: “I haven’t worked there since the end of last year.”

Them: “Really? ¬†Well, do you want to type anyway?”

For real. LOL. Uhm… No, I do not want to type for you.

My computer actually seems to be getting better. It’s almost like it had a stroke and is slowly recovering. Not to make light of strokes, but it is coming back online bit by bit. So, I’m not going to get a new one for now. It still has some problems, but I can work with it and¬†save money in the budget for a future computer.

Anyway, here are a couple of food finds. ¬†As you probably know, John is a vegetarian. I don’t like to eat a ton of soy products and I don’t really want John eating a ton of them, but finding non-soy meat analogs for protein can be difficult. We tried some Quorn:

It’s made from a mycoprotein, which I don’t want to think about too hard. This version is the crumbles. I used it in the crockpot to make my favorite chili recipe:


  • 1 lb lean ground meat of choice, browned in a pan – or in our case the veggie crumbles
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 (15) oz can petite diced tomatoes ¬†(undrained)
  • 1 (2 oz) can of diced green chilies (or just buy a can of rotel for these 2 ingredients)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of plain tomato sauce
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 2¬†tsp cocoa powder
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 (15 oz) can beans drained and rinsed ‚Äď I like the little white beans, personally

Put all of this in the crockpot and cook on low for 4-1/2 to 5 hours and you get a very nice, flavorful chili:

Which brings me to the other item, the itty bitty pretzels!

Long-time readers know that I like big serving sizes and getting the most surface area for the calorie buck. Over the summer, we like to do our Friday night beer walk. The craft brewer we go to has BYO snacks and I love pretzels with my beer.  We found this one day and I was a happy camper. There is a bit over 50 little pretzels in a serving!

That’s Snyder’s of Hanover if you can’t get the whole brand name there.

Lastly, not a food find, but here is something that people might want to be using. The environment shouldn’t be a political issue. Period. ¬†We all should be doing our part and it’s going to continue to need a lot of help. I’ve been doing the #FollowtheFrog campaign with the Rainforest Alliance. Every few days they send you tips on what you can do to be more eco-friendly. One of the tips was to use Ecosia. ¬†Ecosia is a browser extension that you can install as a search engine. They use 80% of the ad revenue generated to ¬†plant trees. ¬†You can bookmark the search engine or install the extension (which you don’t have to use, you can always switch back to Google). Every little bit counts.

Cranberry cake and new project!

What a cruddy weather weekend!  Lots of snow on Saturday and icy rain Sunday.


At least it was a good chance to get inside projects done. I did some work on Saturday as well. I will be glad to not be transcribing on weekends any more. I can count down the days left now! ¬†I was saying to John that I am starting to taste the freedom of having more time! ¬†Even though I will be running the business, it’s not the same as being tied to the computer all day. ¬†One thing I’m looking forward to? Listening to music while working again. I obviously can’t have any on while I’m transcribing, and I miss it.

I’ve been wanting to make a cranberry cake recipe for a while now and a snow day was as good as any! ¬†I used this recipe with a couple modifications:

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 cups flour (240 grams)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I boosted because…cinnamon )
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1/2 cup¬†milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar (to make buttermilk if you don’t have it).
  • 3 cups frozen fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 375 F. In a small bowl, mix the milk and vinegar and set aside. This makes buttermilk if you don’t have any. If you do, just use 1/2 cup of that. ¬†In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon ¬†and mix. ¬†Remove about 2 tablespoons of the flour mixture and put into another bowl and toss with the frozen cranberries.

In a mixing  bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the egg and the extracts and mix to combine.  Alternate adding the flour and the milk to the sugar/egg mixture until the batter just comes together.  Now add in the cranberries (and whatever flour is in the bowl) and fold in with a spatula. The batter is very thick, so you need some muscle.

Spread the batter evenly in a 10-inch cast iron skillet sprayed with cooking oil. Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.



Now make the glaze:

  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 tablespoons of orange juice.

In a bowl, mix the sugar, extract and 3 tablespoons of the orange juice. You need a thicker glaze since the cake is hot. Add another tablespoon if you need to.  Spoon the glaze onto the warm cake in the center and let it slowly flow over the cake.


Now eat! ¬†This was delicious! ¬†It’s really good warm, but also good the next day. The cake is very moist and the sweet glaze compliments the tart cranberries.


I could eat it for breakfast. Or any time…

After an icy start to Sunday, the afternoon cleared up enough and I picked up my next project. ¬†I’ve been looking for a desk so that I can set it up for my coloring and other things rather than using the dining room table ūüėÄ ¬† It’s been a long search, but today on a¬†vintage group someone posted what they called a buffet, but I think it is either a desk or was a vanity as it looks like something was attached to the back at some point – like a mirror.


Yay! $50, so not bad. I need to reinforce the top to the base (which will straighten out the drawers). ¬†There are chips in the veneer, so I will repair those. The bottom will likely be painted because my veneer repair skills are fairly nonexistent. I’d like to refinish the top as the wood is very pretty. It’s going to go where the bookcase is currently behind it.

Like I need more projects! ¬†I still have 2 trunks to finish up. Not to mention my parents’ kitchen!


Pressure Cooker beef stew

I pulled out the pressure cooker for the first time in a long time. John actually uses it more than I do, mostly for sweet potatoes and pumpkin.  Anyway, I have been craving beef stew for quite a while now and finally got around to doing this. I was going to use the slow cooker, but that takes all day for beef stew, and I figured I would do something different.




Anyhoo, this recipe comes from the book I got from the library that I mentioned last week Cook it Slow, Cook it Fast¬†from Mr. Food Test Kitchen. This book has a lot of yummy sounding recipes in it, too. This is the Quick as a Wink Beef stew. ¬†It’s not actually quick as a wink, but for stew it’s pretty fast LOL.


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 ¬†tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 to 1.5 pounds of stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes (it calls for 2 pounds, but I got this size package)
  • 1 tablespoon oil – I used coconut
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 2 pounds of potatoes cut into large cubes
  • 2 to 3 carrots cut into chunks
  • 1.5 cups of broth
  • A 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of browing agent

I cheated a little and used frozen carrots:


and onions for that matter…

In a bowl, mix the flour, salt and pepper. Add the meat and toss to coat. In the pressure cooker, add the oil and brown the meat for 5 minutes or so. I like to do this in a couple batches. If you have too much meat in the pan, you end up steaming the meat because of the liquid. 


Then add in all the rest of the ingredients except for the browning agent.


Cover and bring to pressure. It takes a few minutes to come up to pressure, but the indicator will pop up like this:


Or whatever indicator the pot has. Now turn the heat down to medium low and maintain pressure for 8 minutes. If the button falls down, the heat is too low and you have to bring it back up to pressure. The nice thing about current pressure cookers is that they are safe. No more blowing lids and peeling your dinner off the ceiling. They have a pressure release valve that will automatically release pressure if it gets too high. I have seen that in action, so I know it works.

Anyway, after 8 minutes, do a natural release, which is removing the pressure cooker from the heat and letting the pressure come down on its own. It took about 10 minutes or so for me. The little button will fall back down.  


(FYI – a quick release is where you turn the knob to the steam vent setting and it will release the steam all at once. It’s pretty loud when it does that, but it only takes about 30 seconds.) Then carefully open the lid. ¬†Now for the browning agent.¬†


This is a suprisingly flavorful add in, plus it darkens the color. You don’t need much, just 1/2 a teaspoon.


Yum, right? Then serve!


The nice thing about the pressure cooker is that it makes the meat really, really tender, but not mushy. I love the slow cooker, but sometimes the pressure cooker seems a little more fresh tasting, if that makes sense. Because of the shorter cooking time.

Since John is a vegetarian, obviously he will not be eating any of this, so I am set for a fair number of meals LOL. Unless anyone wants to come over and have some!

What do you cook in the pressure cooker?

Slow cooker overnight Apple Cinnamon Oats


Another oatmeal recipe! I really like cooking steel cut oats in the crockpot. It’s nice to wake up to breakfast ready to go and using the water bath method, you don’t have to worry about the oats getting overcooked or burned. ¬†Not to mention it gets you a few breakfasts! This is very similar to the pumpkin slow cooker oats¬†and is a version of the Yummy Life’s oats.



  • 1 cup of steel cut oats (not the rolled oats)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (you could just do water or regular milk for a bit of creaminess)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 2 medium apples, peeled and chopped. I used Pink Ladies. You want a firmer apple like a good pie apple.
  • 40 grams of dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • pinch of salt

Again this is using the water bath method. This means using a casserole dish that fits inside your slow cooker. I used a wad of tinfoil to raise the casserole dish off of the bottom of the crockpot just a bit.  Spray the casserole dish with cooking spray and add all the ingredients to it. Stir. Then put in the crockpot. Carefully fill the space between the slow cooker and casserole dish with water until it comes up about halfway up the sides of the casserole dish. Not too high or it can bubble and spill into your dish.

water bath for oats

Cover, set on low and let it cook overnight. I have let this go for as long as a bit over 8 hours and it has been fine. The water bath keeps you from having to worry about it.


Now, the apples will have floated to the top. Just give everything a good stir and serve!


I topped mine with a few toasted pecans and some maple cream. Yum!

This makes 4 good sized serving (1 cup+)

Nutrition: Calories:  210; fat 6 grams, carbs 40 grams, fiber 6 grams, protein 6 grams.

I love the slow cooker oats. The steel cut have such a nice texture to them. The oats are easy to reheat. Just add a a couple tablespoons of water to a serving and heat in the microwave for a minute, stir really well to break up lumps and heat again until hot, maybe another minute and a half or two.

Homemade Hamburger Helper

This weather is the absolute craziest thing. Today, I saw a rainbow! It was raining and I was heading out to get my hair cut. There was a break in the clouds and a rainbow appeared! I almost stopped to get a picture and wish I had because it was not as bright for this shot:

rainbow rainbow2

Never in my life have I ever seen a rainbow in December. Anyway, on to the subject at hand. 

We used to eat a lot of Hamburger Helper growing up. I actually liked it a lot. Especially the cheeseburger macaroni. ¬†For whatever reason, I got thinking about that again – even though I haven’t had it in probably 20 years. I don’t think John and I ever made an HH meal. ¬†Of course, I realized that it would taste totally processed and not at all like I would remember it tasting. But what if I could recreate that at home? Turns out the internet is pretty handy to find stuff like that ūüėÄ ¬†There is a section on dedicated to these knockoffs. I found my cheeseburger hamburger helper. The great part is this is a 1 pot meal!¬†

  • 1 pound of ground beef (I used Morningstar Crumbles to make it veggie for John)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1-1/2 cups of elbow macaroni (or any pasta of choice)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder (I used a couple tablespoons of of minced onion)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the meat in a large saucepan and drain the fat (if there is any). Add all of the rest of the ingredients except the shredded cheese to the pot, mix well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes  (larger pasta may need more time). Mix in the cheese and cook for another 2 minutes covered. Remove from the heat and let the pot sit for 5 minutes.  Then serve!

cheeseburger helper

Okay, maybe not super attractive, but this was really tasty! You could sub in any type of meat like ground turkey or pork (or the veggie crumbles), vary up the cheese or the pasta shapes. That site also had versions of the other kinds of Hamburger Helper as well like the stroganoff, so we will have to try those as well! 

Any other people grow up with Hamburger Helper? 

Pumpkin Mug Cake with Coconut Flour

I have steered away from microwave mug cakes forever after trying a bunch of protein ones and finding them to be dry and sponge-like. ¬†I do like the 1-minute muffin, which doesn’t call for protein powder, so the texture is better. ¬†I also like the banana bread breakfast pudding made with coconut flour, which I had done with pumpkin as well and so when I saw a recipe pop up in my pinterest feed, I decided to take another look at it. ¬†I had everything on hand, so I whipped it up. ¬†I calculated calories for hers and it was almost¬†500, which is just too much for me on a normal day. Maybe on a long ride day for breakfast or something, but not on the regular. ¬†It called for 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. I really don’t think any small recipe needs that much oil in it, so I was going to sub with half applesauce, but then just figured I would do the whole thing with applesauce instead of the oil, cutting almost 200 calories off the top.


mug cake

Based on this recipe


  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons of maple syrup (the real stuff please)
  • 2 tablespoons of ¬†coconut flour (14 grams)
  • 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon

You could probably mix all this in the mug, but I wanted to spray the mug with cooking spray, so I got a bowl messy.  Mix all of the wet ingredients first.


I have a tiny sifter that I use for the coconut oil and the baking powder. Both of these ingredients get clumpy, so I find this to be an easy solution.  I lay the sifter on the bowl and put it on the scale to measure out the coconut flour.


Mix up and¬†scoop the batter¬†into your mug. ¬†A 10 – 12 ounce mug should be fine. It’s somewhat dense and doesn’t rise a ton.


Microwave for 3 to 3-1/2 minutes. Start checking after 2-1/2 minutes to make sure it is done. You will see it fully cooked through the top when it is done.



Then I defeated the purpose and put in on a plate because I wanted a better picture.  I topped this with half a tablespoon of butterscotch chips. The chips are getting nice and melty here, too Рyay!

mug cake

The verdict? ¬†Pretty good! ¬†It tastes like pumpkin pie. Almost a pumpkin muffin, but more moist. ¬†I had this for lunch actually ūüėÄ ¬†I think it would make a good breakfast or maybe a dessert. ¬†It was surpringly filling, which I tend to find when I have any coconut flour item.¬†

mug cake

Nutrition:  Calories 239; carbohydrates 35 g; fat 7 g; protein 9 g; fiber 6 g.   That is without the butterscoth chips. That added 40 more calories to my serving.

Notes: ¬†If you don’t have real maple syrup (the horror), sub another liquid sweetener in it like honey. The coconut flour needs a lot of moisture so using something like brown sugar would probably make the batter too thick.

Recipe: Dutch Baby Pancake

I was looking for a quick recipe to make Saturday morning and I felt like baking, but didn’t want muffins or something like that. ¬†Then I ran across the Betty Crocker recipe for a Dutch Baby. ¬†I had forgotten how easy these are to make. ¬†It’s a cross between a popover and a pancake and the term originates from the Pennsylvania Dutch, although the origins of the pancake appear to be in the Pacific NW (thanks Wikipedia!).

Dutch Baby

Anyway, you can make them sweet or not.  I chose not to for this recipe from Betty Crocker, although with a different cooking technique.


  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup of milk (warmed)
  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/4 tsp of salt
  • fresh ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces

The first thing you want to do is set your oven to 475 F and put in a 10-inch cast iron skillet.



While this is heating up, you can assemble the batter. ¬†It doesn’t take long. ¬†In the list above, the room temp eggs and warmed milk will help make a puffier pancake. ¬†I put the eggs in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and then heated up the milk for about 30 seconds in the microwave. ¬† In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt and nutmeg.

In a larger bowl, add the eggs and whisk until fluffy and light in color.


Stir in the milk.   Your oven has probably reached the preheat of 475 by now.  Once it has, open the oven door and put the butter pieces in the pan:


Now add the flour mixture to the batter and whisk to combine:


Carefully pour this batter into the skillet.  I removed it from the oven to do this (remember the handle is HOT!)



Reduce the oven heat to 425 F and return the pan to the oven.  Cook for about 12 minutes until puffed and golden:

Dutch baby

It puffs up so much! ¬†Too bad it won’t stay like that. ¬†It does deflate as it cools. ¬†Cut into wedges and serve however you like. ¬†Many people do lemon and powdered sugar. ¬†You could do maple syrup, fruit, or even bacon and cheese since this one isn’t sweet. ¬†I chose to put an apple topping on ours:

Dutch baby

It tastes like a cross between a crepe and a pancake and is really good.  It probably took 20-25 minutes from start to finish, so not long for a weekend breakfast.

Nutrition:  The entire dutch baby has 590 calories (made with 2% milk).  So, if served into 4 slices Р that is 145 calories per wedge.

Riding and summer squash

The hot sweltering weather is gone for now and it has been really nice out.  I took a nice long ride this morning.  Work was slow, so that allowed me a longer ride.

This is me 16.5 miles later:


This ride took me about 80 minutes. The neighbors probably were wondering what I was doing trying to balance the bike on my hip and get the angle of the picture right ūüėÄ

I wanted to share this fun little project. ¬†I am always on the look out for repurposed stuff for the garden and I saw a picture on Pinterest to recreate. ¬†I always scope out garage sales and thrift shops looking for cheap dishes and cups for this stuff. ¬†They don’t have to match, but this set did.

cup and saucer


 I just used this stuff to glue the cup to the saucer:


Then hung it on a hook.  

cup and saucer

I am concerned about squirrels putting their weight on this, so I filled it with niger seed, which the squirrels are not interested in.  Hopefully the birdies will find it soon. It seems to take a couple weeks before they notice a new feeder. At least it is cute to look at anyway.

So you know I am trying to eat different veggies this month. ¬†We were at the farmer’s market this weekend and I picked up some yellow squash. ¬†They look good, don’t they?


I preheated the oven to 400 F.  Then I sliced the squash into 1/2 inch slices and put them on a nonstick mat.  Then I sprayed the tops with cooking spray, salt and pepper and distributed 1/2 ounce of parmesan cheese over the top:


Bake for about 20 minutes or so until the squash is tender and the cheese is melty and a little browned.



Dinner is served!


The squash was quite good this way.

baked squash


The yellow squash seems to be a lot softer than a zuchinni.  I think I might next want to try it in a quiche.  What is your favorite way to eat squash?

Recipe: Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

So, I managed to try a new recipe, Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!  

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

There are a lot of recipes online for this, and all are basically a variant of below (like this one).


  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour ¬†¬†
  • 1 tsp baking soda¬† ¬†(I made an oops and used baking powder, so I guess either will work)
  • 1/2 tsp ¬†salt ¬†¬†
  • 1 cup low-fat buttermilk ¬†¬†
  • ¬† 2 large eggs, yolks and whites separated ¬†¬†
  • 2 Tbsp sugar¬† ¬†
  • 1¬†Tbsp lemon zest, or increase to taste ¬†
  • 1 Tbsp of lemon juice¬†
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese ¬†¬†


In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a larger bowl use an electric mixer to whip the egg whites into soft peaks.  I got to use my fancy copper bowl that my in-laws gave me for Christmas to do my egg whites!


In another large bowl, mix together the buttermilk, sugar, egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and ricotta cheese.  Stir in the flour mixture until moistened.



Then fold in the egg whites.


You don’t want to stir this too much. Just incorporate the egg whites by folding the batter over and over.


Now heat up a griddle or frying pan on medium heat (you could do this while stirring the batter). ¬†You definitely want medium heat to cook these as if you do it higher, the outside will overcook while the middle will be raw. ¬†It’s a dense batter.

Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup and deposit 1/4 cup of batter into the pan after you have sprayed with cooking spray.


These will bubble some, but not like regular pancakes do. Just lift the bottom and check for doneness. It took 2-3 minutes on each side for my cakes.  You should get pretty much exactly 12 pancakes out of this batch.

And serve topped however you would like:


I topped mine with my favorite blueberry topping, which goes really well with lemon anything.

The verdict?  Very, very tasty!  They were definitely heavier than regular pancakes and have more of a velvety texture to them. Two pancakes are surprisingly filling.  These also make good leftovers. I just stored them in the fridge and popped them into the toaster oven to reheat.

Nutrition: Each serving of 2 pancakes (without any topping) has 214 calories, 36 grams of carbs, 4 grams of fat, 9 grams of protein and 1 gram of fiber.


– If you don’t have buttermilk, just add about 1 tsp of lemon juice to 8 ounces of milk.¬†

– This recipe makes a fair number of dishes and time to cook all the batter. It’s great to do on a day off because the leftovers are easy to reheat.

– Don’t overwhip the egg whites and make stiff peaks or the batter will be too thick. You can thin it out with some more lemon juice or water.