keto snack crackers in a small red bowl

Keto Snack Crackers

I’ve really been enjoying all the low carb/keto recipes I’ve tried out this month and REALLY love the results! But let’s face it, nothing delivers like a cracker. There’s the crunch and the salt . . . Can’t be beat! That’s where these carb-friendly, keto crackers come in. They only require two ingredients (plus water) and are incredibly simple to make. Win! I found this recipe at Kirbie’s cravings and love how it comes together. One caveat: it does call for a food processor to mix, and I have only made this using my mini food processor. So I cannot

keto pecan clusters

Keto Pecan Clusters

Keto/Low Carb Most traditional approaches to losing weight follow a simple formula: eat less, exercise more. But in my case, the more I exercise, the hungrier I get! Sigh . . . So, it’s crucial for me to find snacks that satisfy my urges and stay within my dietary goals. That’s what I love about keto – I get to eat what I love! That includes yummy sweet treats like these Keto Pecan Clusters, found at heyketomama.com. It’s one of the few keto bombs I have found that are not based on cream cheese (like chocolate or strawberry). What goes

ratatouile

Ratatouille

If you like plant-based meals, here is a veritable vegetable feast! This Ratatouille (adapted from allrecipes.com) is as colorful as its name and so flavorful you might lose sight of its incredible health benefits. Vegetables – size matters One thing about planning this dish is vegetable size. Ideally, the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash would all be about the same diameter. But, in the real world, almost impossible. Eggplants are big. I mean, like, watermelon big (Well, not that big, but they do get large). When I find a small one I feel I’ve totally scored! Ratatouille is a beautiful

tuna salad boats

Tuna Salad Boats

Sometimes, an appetizer is just a different way of presenting favorites. Tuna, a fish food favorite (say that fast five times!) and the deliciously sour crunch of a pickle make a fast and easy tuna boat that will sail through the shoals of just about anyone’s tastes. And, if you tack carefully, you can make a tuna salad that will navigate your nutritional goals. Using water-packed tuna and low-fat mayonnaise, you’ll find smooth sailing and low calories. Greek yogurt boosts protein. And, the choice of full-fat, low-fat or no-fat Greek yogurt give you the opportunity to ratchet up or down

Roasted spaghetti squash with a fork

Spaghetti Squash

Happy New Year! Anyone want to admit to a New Year’s resolution? One of the most common relates to dieting. My version: I want to weigh what it says on my driver’s license. 🤪 I am coming off a couple months, several months, oh let’s be honest, a whole year a stretch of over-indulgence, and it’s time to reset! Therefore, I will be focusing on low-carb choices this month, and spaghetti squash is one of my favorites for this. How to microwave spaghetti squash There are many ways to make spaghetti squash. The fastest by far is the microwave. I’ve

cream cheese pinwheels on a plate

Low Carb/Keto Cream Cheese Roll-ups (Pinwheels)

It’s almost a new year and for many of us that means new resolutions. According to Inc.com, the top 3 resolutions last year were: eat healthier, exercise more, and lose weight. Sounds about right. It usually takes the first two to accomplish the third. And for me, the best dietary approach to promote weight loss is to shed carbohydrates. Low Carb and Keto Low-carb diets have been around for a while. But “keto” takes it to a whole ‘nother level. In the past, I avoided keto diets. My impression was that they were a version of Atkins, with an emphasis

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Soup season is here With winter in full swing, I’m declaring it soup season! And this Chicken Tortilla Soup is not only warm and satisfying, it’s incredibly easy to throw together. Perfect for these busy days! Only 6 ingredients plus spices required Only six ingredients are required. One is cooked chicken. Disclosure: The original recipe on allrecipes.com calls for canned chicken. My personal preference: Cooked chicken. And it’s so easy. Leftover turkey from a holiday meal? PERFECT! Use that instead! And, if I don’t have any leftovers I just cook up some salsa chicken in my Instant Pot and shred

Hamburger Barley Soup

Hamburger Barley Soup

A hearty and satisfying soup Despite all the trends, old-fashioned comfort food is still a mainstay and this Hamburger Barley Soup is an old reliable. It combines some pretty common pantry items into a hearty and satisfying soup. I adapted this recipe from one on allrecipes.com many years ago. Before that, I almost never bought barley, but now I make it a habit to have it in the pantry. As well as V8, which I stock in the winter to make my beef stew. Other than that, you probably have the rest of the ingredients on hand right now. Barley

Salmon Dip

Salmon Dip

Today’s recipe for Salmon Dip includes a small lesson in French that I learned while making this. I thought I’d share it with you. No, you don’t have to wear Coco Chanel or Dior while making this, but – why not? This recipe  for a classy salmon appetizer is so simple you actually could wear your best. Perfect for the holidays when you get caught short and have to quickly improvise. Many salmon dips use smoked salmon, which is very popular. This one, from saveur.com, uses baked salmon, which I think gives it a fresher taste. Comme ci, comme ca

Butternut Squash Chowder in a white bowl

Butternut Squash Chowder

Sometimes recipes come from unexpected places. This vegetarian Butternut Squash Chowder is one of those. My daughter had pictures of a recipe card and directions from a friend of hers, who subscribes to a meal kit delivery service. The service sends you meal ingredients in the right amounts and step-by-step cooking instructions. If all the recipes are like this one, I might have to sign up! However, I did have two small problems with the directions. The first was that quantities were not given for all the ingredients. But that was pretty easy to figure out. The second was that

Dutch oven bread sliced on a cutting board

No-Knead Bread (Dutch Oven Bread)

If you’ve ever made bread before, particularly the old fashioned way, you know you’re going to need this no-knead bread recipe. Throughout history, this food staple was a basic necessity, but it was labor-intensive. I have memories of my mom spending all day making bread. Lots of steps involved. It seemed like she was forever kneading the dough, covering it, letting it rise and then kneading it again. Now, there’s no “knead.” (See what I did there?) A scale and Dutch oven make this bread easy This recipe, courtesy of New York Times Cooking, is very easy. It does not

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

If you need a recipe sure to please, stuffed mushrooms work great. As in most of my recipes, I look for something that is easy and delivers great taste. That’s what I love about this recipe, courtesy of Pioneer Woman. Ingredients needed for these mushrooms stuffed with Brie Here are the ingredients: Mushrooms (duh 😀), Brie cheese, onions, parsley and garlic. Oh, and butter…don’t forget the butter. So good. I tried two different types of mushrooms for this: simple white button mushrooms, and Baby Bella or Cremini mushrooms. I fully expected the Cremini mushrooms to win the taste test, but

Minestrone

Vegetarian Minestrone

Minestrone is a wonderful soup of Italian origin. It is primarily made of vegetables, however, it is common to also use a little cured meat as a flavor base. I have made this many times using pancetta, described as the Italian version of bacon, although some feel its more like ham. Anyway, this version, adapted from one found on All Recipes, is vegetarian and is only meant to be a starting point for your own special brand of soup. I have often seen that Minestrone translates to “Big Soup.” Online translators do not reproduce this, but per Wikipedia: “In modern

poinsettia cookies

Poinsettia Cookies

Tis the season! Cookies and Poinsettias! So why not Poinsettia cookies? This recipe comes from a cookbook I’ve had for a long time called Short+Sweet by Gale Gand.  What caught my eye was a way to make pinwheel cookies, using pastel sugars and popsicle sticks. A cute idea for kids’ parties or any summer get-together. But the note about poinsettia cookies really caught my attention, and I knew this would be a great Christmas cookie. The dough is straightforward: cream cheese, butter, and an egg yolk creamed together. To this, mix in flour and baking powder. Once all the dry

grinch holiday appetizer

Grinch Kabobs (Grinch Fruit Kabobs)

Time for another cute holiday appetizer! Remember the penguins? If you enjoyed those little guys you’re gonna love these Christmas Grinch kabobs, courtesy of CNM Catering. How to make these easy Grinch Fruit Kabobs Contrary to their personality, this Grinch appetizer is sweet because we can’t let the Grinch bring us down. Right? This Grinch’s sweetness comes naturally, from fruit. A little more sweet plus the cute comes courtesy of a mini marshmallow. The hat? A strawberry works well, although strawberries can be a challenge to find this time of year. So I tried both strawberries and raspberries. Looking closely

Moscato Truffles

Moscato Truffles

The month of December brings a whole ‘nother level of busy to our lives. In addition to the typical hustle and bustle, we are expected to attend holiday parties, plays, buy presents and bake cookies. Time is at a premium, which makes this recipe for holiday truffles a life-saver. Or, at least a time-saver (So dramatic!) These no-bake treats can be made the night before and kept in the fridge. No one needs to know how little effort they required. The original recipe comes from delish.com. When I read the reviews, it seemed that more than half the people had

Puff Pastry on a plate with broccoli and a small salad

Chicken (or Turkey) in Puff Pastry

I make this meal year-round, but it’s especially useful when you’ve got a bunch of leftover turkey. I adapted this recipe from Pepperidge Farm years ago. The original calls for cooking halved chicken breasts and then wrapping each in a piece of puff pastry. After making this many times, I found that I preferred using cooked shredded meat. Not only is it easier to assemble in the pastry, but it’s also much easier to eat. The fact that shredded meat can be plentiful after Thanksgiving or from any poultry meal makes it a huge bonus! No one’s going to call

Cream cheese holiday appetizer

Cream Cheese Penguins

These penguins are adorable There’s something about holidays . .  . I just love cute food! Fourth of July, Halloween, and now Christmas. It can’t be helped, just have to go with it! This Cream Cheese Penguin appetizer is suitable all winter, really, which, BTW, seemed to start this year in October (Where’s my fall?!). I found this holiday appetizer on allrecipes.com and – I can’t help it – just makes me laugh whenever I look at it. It combines two sizes of black olives, cream cheese and carrots to make the most adorable little penguins. If you want to

Cranberry Spritzer

Cranberry Sauce Cocktail (Cranberry Spritzer)

Happy Black Friday! (That sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) For some of us this is a day of (un)rest, right after Thanksgiving. If you’re not out shopping, you’re dealing with leftovers. In either case, this cocktail made from cranberry sauce (found at Thug Kitchen) comes in so handy. Aren’t we always looking for new ways to use leftover cranberry sauce? A cocktail is just a little different from a lot of the other recipes you’ve probably seen. So fun! How to make this cranberry sauce cocktail Do you have a cocktail shaker? That will make this easier. But if you don’t,

Pot pie

Chicken or Turkey Pot Pie

There’s one thing almost guaranteed after Thanksgiving: leftovers. Turkey sandwiches are very popular in my house. B-u-u-t, that gets old. So, I turn to turkey pot pie. I got this recipe years ago from a co-worker, and I think it was originally adapted from campbells.com, due to its use of canned soup. Pot pie has a somewhat checkered history; evoking those days of beer can pyramids and dry, tasteless frozen TV dinners. But this recipe redeems the humble pot pie, especially when home cooked. It’s a great way to use a bunch of leftover turkey – any poultry will work

Beer Cheese Dip with pretzels in a white bowl

Beer Cheese Dip

I live in Wisconsin, the land of breweries, cheese factories and two of our favorite-est football teams: The Packers and the Badgers. So any recipe that combines beer and cheese during the football season has my attention. And what do we call such a recipe? Why, Beer Cheese Dip – as natural as a cheesehead at Lambeau Field. Now, I love a good Brie appetizer, but I know it’s not for everyone. And probably anything made with quinoa or feta cheese will scare off a few. Some think the ideal game time appetizer is beer and pretzels. Others say .

Cranberry-Apricot Sauce

Cranberry sauce, a staple of the holiday table, has frequently been the center of debate: jellied vs. sauce? This recipe, courtesy of Good Housekeeping, may tilt the argument in favor of sauce because it adds a new twist: apricot. You may be among those who already tart up your sauce with oranges. We’re keeping the oranges and upping the ante. Now, with apricots, we’re taking it, in Buzz Lightyear’s words, “To infinity and beyond!” To start, grate the zest from one orange (about 2 teaspoons). To a medium saucepan, add this plus the juice from two oranges. Then, add a

crust ready to bake

Pie Crust

Tis the season for holiday baking! There’s a  good chance you’ll want to make a pie for either Thanksgiving or Christmas (In my case, both) For many years I used pie crust  from the refrigerated section of the grocery store. It was reliable, and while it wouldn’t win any awards, it was at least decent. Then, something changed. At first I thought maybe I got a bad batch. I bought some more, still it wasn’t right, something had changed with the texture, the look, even the smell was different. Every time I opened a package, I didn’t like what my

Raspberry Brie appetizer

Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds

Today’s appetizer is a great option for all upcoming holiday get-togethers. It combines warm and melty Brie with almonds and berries in a sweet-yet-tart sauce called Raspberry Brie with Honey and Almonds. This recipe comes from my neighbor, Karen, who brought it to our monthly Bridge-Club-Where-We-Don’t-Play-Bridge-But-Just-Eat-and-Talk get together. And it was devoured! I couldn’t wait to make it myself. The recipe, of course, starts with Brie, a nice base, with the many other flavors taking the taste to a higher level. To start, toast sliced almonds in the oven for 6-10 minutes. I chose 8 minutes and they were perfect.

grape salad

Grape Salad

Thanksgiving is coming and an easy button would be handy for some sides. This grape salad recipe delivers: simple and delicious, it can be assembled in advance. No need for the Break Glass and Pull in Case of Panic switch. The ingredient list is short. Starts with – you guessed it – grapes! I like a mix of red and green grapes, just for appearance’s sake. There are different ways to handle the grapes. Some like the grapes whole, which certainly makes prep time a snap, but I like the approach taken by Country Living, which is to cut at

pepper steak with noodles

Pepper Steak – Instant Pot or Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)

Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Pepper Steak is a classic dish that warms you through and through on a chilly evening.  It is often described as “Chinese American” but it feels mostly American to me. I guess soy sauce as an ingredient qualifies it as a little Chinese? Either way, Pepper Steak is simple and satisfying.  I’ve made this many times in a slow cooker and recently adapted the recipe for Instant Pot use, for even faster and more convenient preparation. How to make Instant Pot Pepper Steak To start, cut the beef into strips. The recipe calls for sirloin,

pico de gallo with avocado dip in a green bowl

Pico-Avocado (Pico de Gallo with Avocado) Dip

A perfect last-minute dip So you’ve got people coming over and you need a quick snack, a dip of some kind. And perhaps you’ve got most of the ingredients for Pico de Gallo and avocado for guacamole, but not quite enough. Tah-dah! Pico-Avocado Dip to the rescue! Easy to customize The beauty of this recipe is that the base, the Pico de Gallo, customizes so easily giving you free rein to substitute. No cilantro? Skip it! No white onion? Use yellow! Forgot to buy jalapeno peppers? There’s probably a can of chilis or jalapenos buried somewhere in your pantry. Once

German Chocolate Cake

German Chocolate Cake

November 9 is the anniversary of the demolition of the Berlin Wall, a pivotal event in world history. It seems only fitting to mark this occasion with something German. My first thought was to make a sauerkraut meal (“Crickets, crickets. . .”). Then, I switched directions and got a much more enthusiastic reaction: German Chocolate Cake! (“Massive applause, standing ovation!!!. . .”). Ironically, this cake has nothing to do with Germany. In fact, it’s named after its English-American creator, Sam German. It was called Baker’s German Chocolate Cake. But we’ll go with it, anyway. Even without the Germany connection. I

meatloaf

Old Fashioned Meatloaf

It’s a classic Meatloaf is a classic meal that doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention these days. Did it go out of style? Not in my kitchen. I’m feeding carnivores and meatloaf delivers the goods. Meatloaf is easy to prep ahead In the old days, when I was feeding a family of four and working full-time, I would prepare the meatloaf mixture the evening before and stick it in the fridge. The next morning, I would place it in the oven and pre-set the timer to start cooking before I got home. That way, I could concentrate on

Feta dip

Lemony Whipped Feta Dip

If you like the distinctive taste of Feta cheese, then you will LOVE this Feta dip! With November here it’s time to up our game in the dip department. Be assured, this is not just a “game time decision” for football parties. This can be served any time. What I like is the “different” factor. Feta is not your standard cheese. It is designated a Protected Designation of Origin Product, meaning it can only be made a certain way and in a certain part of Greece to carry the Feta name. How to make whipped feta dip First, let’s talk

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

Vegetarian Pasta Sauce

No meat should not mean no taste When I started to move toward more plant-based meals, I knew pasta sauce would be an issue. Who doesn’t love a big old plate of spaghetti? Wonderful stuff. But vegetarian pasta sauce? Hmm. At a restaurant this typically means just a tomato (marinara) sauce to coat your noodles. Tastes great, but that’s a meal of 100% simple carbs. That will not satisfy an appetite, unless you’re training for the Iron Man. What goes into this Vegetarian Pasta Sauce I wanted a better solution. My sauce had to be tomato-based, it needed protein and

queso dip on plate

Queso Dip

(Spoiler alert: Velveeta rant ahead) I think we can all agree: Cheese is a wonderful thing (Why aren’t there more poems to cheese? Are there any poems to cheese?). And it’s even better when melted. Here’s a formula for cheese success: Melty cheese + Tex-Mex flavors = Queso Dip = Delicious! The only problem with recipes for Queso Dip is that 90+% seem to start with a so-called “processed cheese product.” Hmm.. Another curiously bland marketing name for the same thing is, “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product.” You know where I’m going, right? Two words: “Vel” and “veeta.” Look – I’m

No Bake Snickers Pie on a white plate

No Bake Snickers Pie

Your favorite candy bar made into a pie With Halloween approaching, get ready for the fun part: leftover candy! If you’re serious about trick-or-treating, there are going to be extras. No one wants to be THAT house, the one that ran out of candy. For shame! So, stock up, hand out the Twizzlers FIRST, and ration the Snickers bars because you’ve got to try this recipe: No Bake Snickers Pie, found at thekitchenismyplayground.com. How to make No Bake Snickers Pie To start, you’re going to need 1½ cups of chopped Snickers bars. That equates to about 12 so-called “Fun-sized” bars.

Monster Eye Cookies

Monster Eye Cookies

Monster Eye Cookies are so fun October means Halloween, so what better time to make Monster Eye Cookies? This recipe is courtesy of lillune.com and I can certify: THIS IS A KID PLEASER! Plus, it’s super-simple. Here’s the secret: Use cake mix for the dough. That makes short work of preparation leaving more time for the important stuff, like – (say it with me) – “Googly Eyes!!!” YAY! (Cue cheerleaders and University of Wisconsin marching band). How to make Monster Eye Cookies To begin, beat together butter, cream cheese, vanilla and an egg until fluffy. To this, add one box

Silly Apple Bites

These Silly Apple Bites are delightful to all ages. Go ahead, take a look and try not to smile.

Banana Bread sliced

Banana Bread

This is everyone’s favorite sweet bread Anyone can make banana bread, and everyone should! It’s easy and delicious, and the “best-est” way to use bananas that become a little too . . . “mature.” Dealing with over ripe bananas I am the queen of overbuying bananas. I purchase four planning to have one a day, but by the fourth day the remaining banana is just too ripe for me. Problem: what to do with just one over-ripe banana? Solution: freeze it! Just throw the unpeeled banana into the freezer. Once I have at least three frozen bananas, I’ve got the

Stuffed Peppers

Jack O’ Lantern Stuffed Peppers

Halloween meals should be fun Halloween is almost here and while costumes and candy distribution get top priority, don’t forget to have fun at meal time! I make stuffed peppers every year, and love to carve Jack O’ Lantern faces into each pepper. It takes only a few extra minutes and turns an everyday meal into a Halloween treat. Spooky good! How to make stuffed peppers For a meal as iconic as stuffed peppers, I turn to a trusted source: Betty Crocker. Betty tells us to make our stuffing from one pound of ground beef, one cup of rice, a

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Pepperoni Cheese Ball

Skull shape for Halloween Halloween is coming so, of course, we need an appetizer! This Pepperoni Cheese Ball works great because, like all cheese balls, you can pick the shape. So go ahead and make a football for a tailgate party, but if you’re having a Halloween party, use your head . . . or skull shape instead. Ingredients for Pepperoni Cheese Ball I adapted this recipe from sugardale.com and it’s a crowd pleaser. Almost all cheeseballs start with cream cheese and shredded cheese, but this one adds pepperoni and a packet of Italian dressing seasoning to rev up the

Split Pea Soup

Instant Pot Split Pea Soup

My taste buds needed to mature for this one As a child, I always turned up my nose to Split Pea Soup. Was it the color? Too bad, because I’m sure Mom’s soup was great: starting with a ham bone, cooked on the stove top; the whole bit. As an adult with wiser taste buds, I love this. However, I thought I could do it the way Mom did: purchasing ham on the bone, serving a “normal” meal of ham and then saving the bone thinking I could use it for soup. You know what? HUGE pain! My pot was

Beef Stew

Bloody Mary Beef Stew

This classic beef stew can be made in a Crockpot or Instant Pot to produce a delicious, warming stew for a cool weather meal.

mini bell peppers

Mini Bell Pepper Poppers

Turn mini bell peppers into a tasty appetizer or side dish for any Mexican-themed meal.

cilantro lime sauce

Cilantro-Lime Sauce

The right sauce can make a big difference Sometimes all you need is a great sauce to take a dish from good to great. Some people like a little, others a lot, so a sauce on the side pleases all palates. The idea for this cilantro-lime sauce was inspired by Café Rio’s Creamy Tomatillo dressing. Like so many others, I am a big fan of Café Rio. For those not familiar, Café Rio is a fantastic casual restaurant chain based in Salt Lake City. My daughter lives there, and a Café Rio visit is mandatory every time I visit. Hey

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White Russian

Coffee and vodka flavors A couple of interesting holidays this week. October 1 is National Coffee Day and October 4 is National Vodka Day. Hmm… combine coffee liqueur with vodka and – White Russian, anyone? Some history of the White Russian This recipe comes from liquor.com, where the drink is described as “decadent and sophisticated.” It was created in the 60’s when someone added a little cream to a Black Russian. For those movie buffs and mixologists (aka bartenders), the White Russian had a bit of a “stodgy” reputation until “The Dude” re-branded it in the 1998 movie, “The Big

Cheese Ball, football

Cheese (Foot)Ball

Everyone likes a good cheese ball I once saw someone refer to a cheese ball as the Brad Pitt of appetizers: always looks good, everyone likes it, and you’re always glad to see it. Sounds about right, yes? 😀 A cheese ball is quite simple and fun to make (certainly easier than getting Brad Pitt to your party) and easy to customize to individual tastes. This particular recipe is a product of combining my recipe cards with my mother’s. Cheese balls are easy to form into shapes Cheese ball fun comes from forming it into different shapes. Of course, the

apple crisp

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is the perfect dessert during apple season! All the tastes of apple pie in a fraction of the time. Serve warm with a scoop of ice cream and prepare for the applause!

caprese chicken

Caprese Chicken

This one-pot meal can be ready in under 30 minutes! Perfect for busy weeknights!

bowl of heath bar apple dip surrounded by slices of red and green apple

Heath Bar Apple Dip

An apple a day “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The origin of this phrase comes from Wales, where the Welsh ate apples stuffed with caraway seeds at bedtime. Caraway seeds were thought to be very healthy, and the apple simply provided a way to eat as much caraway as possible. Similarly, an apple dip can help coax picky eaters into having more fruit. Recently, there have been various studies trying to determine if in fact, there’s a relationship between apples and health. In 2015, one study determined that there is no direct relationship between apple consumption and

Meatballs

Freezer Meatballs

Meatballs are pretty easy to make – so quick! But, there’s a way to launch your meatball dinners into hyperdrive by freezing them. Yes, you can freeze them (gives you chills, amirite?). Now you know the secret to the poetically named: Freezer Meatballs recipe. And, here’s another plus: You can please everyone at the dinner table by making these morsels for carnivores and keep a portion of the sauce meatless for those who prefer it. How to prepare the meatballs The recipe is pretty straightforward with simple seasonings that complement a variety of sauces. The proportions are suitable for 1

Avocado Dip

Avocado Dip

This avocado dip comes together in 10 minutes for a delicious and healthy option! Serve it with tortilla chips or as a lettuce wrap for a low carb option.

Pancakes from scratch

Breakfast for Dinner

Pancakes are a great meal anytime When schedules are crunched and there’s hardly time to think, much less plan a meal, don’t forget about breakfast. For dinner, I mean. And pancakes? Well, let’s face it: EVERYBODY loves pancakes. Oh wait – no pancake mix in the pantry? Worry not, pancakes are super-simple to make from scratch! How to make pancakes from scratch This recipe comes from allrecipes.com and uses staple ingredients, which I always have on hand. Flour, baking powder, milk and egg. A little butter, salt and sugar. What could be easier? It takes minutes to mix together and

roasted salsa on a chip, bowl in background

Roasted Salsa

Got tomatoes? Tomatoes everywhere! Every farm stand, grocery store and farmer’s market is bursting with fresh, ripe, luscious tomatoes. Maybe you grow your own! If you are scouring cookbooks and the “Internets” for ideas to use these beauties, roasted salsa is easy and fun. How hot do you want your roasted salsa I found this in the August issue of Bon Appetit and although it took me three tries to get salsa the way I like it, that was the fun! Making roasted salsa at home provides free range for individual creativity and preferences. For the first batch, I followed

Oatmeal

Not your Grandmother’s Oatmeal

Eat like your grandparents The first Sunday after Labor Day is National Grandparents’ Day. Have you ever heard the advice “eat like your grandparents”? This bon mot encourages us to step away from over-processed foods and hew to meals your grand- or great-grand parents would make, like oatmeal. Good advice, but beware. Marketers have cleverly wrapped an old-time word around new products such as quick-cooking oats, steel cut oats, pre-sweetened instant oats, and oatmeal bars packaged to look like granola bars. But do these count? I’m pretty sure Grandma would look at these with a curious eye. Some may be

Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

A nutritious snack Once Labor Day is over, the pace of life picks up: It’s back to school for the kids; it’s back-to-school shopping for the parents; there’s more traffic, longer lines at the stores. Time for a shortcut – and a nutritious energy boost. Energy bites, adapted from allrecipes.com, are just the trick. They take minutes to make and are so tasty it’s easy to forget how healthy they are. Ingredients needed for energy bites Ingredients? Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, flaxseed meal, honey and vanilla. My granddaughter calls these “cookies,” and they really are like a cookie, only

Packer Taco Dip decorated

Packer Party Taco Dip

Perfect for football season This week marks the start of the 100th season of the National Football League, or NFL. I’ve lived and died through so many Packer games, it feels like a century. Traditionally, each year in the NFL, the first regular season game is hosted by the defending Super Bowl champion (*Bonus question: Can you name that team?). However, this year, the season kickoff game will be fittingly played by, who else? the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears, one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. So, of course, a special game-day snack is required! Everyone

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Salt ‘n Squeeze Slaw

We need simple salads It’s the end of August and recipes that take minimal effort without generating heat are super handy. This “cool” recipe for salt and squeeze slaw, found in the August issue of “Bon Appetit,” fits the bill. It’s possibly the simplest way I’ve ever seen to make a slaw-type salad. How to make Salt ‘n Squeeze Slaw Think of this as a technique as much as anything – it’s intended to be a mix and match of vegetables according to your preference and/or vegetable availability. For instance, I’m showing a combination of radishes and cucumbers. However, other

Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad

Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad

I love tomato season I love this time of year. It’s the time of the harvest and there’s such an abundance of fresh vegetables available. So many of these veggies are available year-round but let’s face it, they taste best in season. For example, grape tomatoes, there’s a little extra sweetness in every bite. I bought them in bulk last week and snacked my way through in two days. Tomatoes are the star of this Grape Tomato Mozzarella Salad This recipe his heavily adapted from one of my America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks. It takes the grape tomato from snack to

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Green Smoothie

Perfect for the dog days of summer Before I get into the makings for the Green Smoothie, here’s a reminder close to my heart: I’m a former dog(s) owner and August 26 is National Dog Day. If you share your life with (wo)man’s best friend, give your lifelong pal(s) an extra treat today. It’s also the “dog days of summer,” signaling the beginning of the end of summer. A quick and nutritious and non-stove meal (aka smoothies) always comes in handy. A green smoothie is nutritious and delicious Smoothies, in fact, are a “two-fer,” combining “deliciosity” and nutrition. Typically low

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Tuna and Bean Salad

A no-mayo tuna salad I’m a big fan of tuna salad, but when I want something different and lighter, Tuna and Bean Salad is a great option. This is a modified version of one found on nytimes.com. It uses tuna and white beans to deliver a healthy protein boost. And, the dressing enhances a light lemon flavor without adding tons of calories. The result is a salad that’s less than 150 calories, for one serving. And that’s perfect for lunch. Especially if eaten with some salad greens. Feeling hungry? Just have it all! The whole bowl is still under 300