Pancakes from scratch

Breakfast for Dinner

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 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! This recipe comes from allrecipes.com and uses staple ingredients, which I always have on hand. It takes minutes to mix together and just a few more minutes for cooking time. The recipe says it serves four but let’s be honest … in my house it serves 2. Your results may vary. 😀

Salsa

Roasted Salsa

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” to use these beauties, this is easy and fun. 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 salsa at home provides free range for individual creativity and preferences. For the first batch, I followed the recipe to the letter. The result was very “soupy” and so hot I

Oatmeal

Not your Grandmother’s Oatmeal

September 8 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. 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. I’m pretty sure Grandma would look at these with a curious eye. Some may be as nutritious, but when I see the added sugar and unpronounceable preservatives, I get

Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites

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, courtesy of 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? Peanut butter, oatmeal, chocolate chips, flaxseed meal, honey and vanilla. My granddaughter calls these “cookies,” and they really are like a cookie, only no flour, no butter and most importantly, no

taco dip, packers

Packer Party Taco Dip

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! With this dip, I am

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Green Smoothie

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. Smoothies, in fact, are a “two-fer,” combining “deliciosity” and nutrition. Typically low in calories and fat, it’s the perfect remedy for a guilty conscience (Raise your

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Corn Tomato Avocado Salad

I’ve had today’s recipe on my radar for a long time. Finally, I tried it and my very first thought was – “Why did I wait so long?” followed by “How soon can I make this again?” It’s filled with the fresh flavors of just picked sweet corn and tomatoes paired with the creamy, healthy goodness of avocado. So easy and so amazingly delicious! Credit for this goes to skinnytaste.com Note: I have played a little with the proportions and find that I’m happiest with a bit more sweet corn so I bumped it up from the original 1 cup

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Caprese Pasta Salad

I love the fresh flavors of a Caprese salad: mozzarella, basil, and tomatoes, drizzled with balsamic. So “old country.” A pasta salad version couldn’t go wrong. I adapted this recipe from one on Delish.com. Their version would feed a small crowd, but I was feeding two so I scaled it back, making most ingredients half of what was called for, with one exception: cheese. I used the same amount of cheese for half the salad. Why? Because (repeat after me) “There is no such thing as too much cheese!”   Looks right to me! In my opinion, what takes this

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Grilled Beets

With summer in full swing, a lot of cooking happens on the grill. But that doesn’t mean just meat. Many vegetables are both easy and delicious when grilled. One such is the beet. For many people, beets seem to fall into either the “love” or “hate” category. For me, I SUPER love (new category) beets (but not pickled, because I just don’t think you should do that to a perfectly good vegetable). You’ve heard of sugar beets, right? They’re called that for a reason: Beets are naturally sweet, due to their high sugar content. But here’s the magic: sugar +

chickpea salad

Chickpea, Carrot and Arugula Salad

Time for a great summer salad that provides plenty of protein and needs no cooking. Even better, it requires only 6 ingredients, plus spices. As a vegetarian main or a side dish, this salad delivers your veggies in a delicious package! This is another recipe from one of my favorites: The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook. It features chickpeas, arugula and carrots, plus Kalamata olives and a lemony dressing. Since this salad uses arugula, let’s detour a minute to my backyard. This year I decided to grow a few greens in some leftover empty pots. I filled each pot with soil and

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Red White and Blueberry Crumble Bars

Here’s a red, white and blue version of a simple berry-crumble bar. I found this recipe years ago on Allrecipes.com, using blueberries. The notes said that any berry would work, so I thought why not strawberry? Better yet, why not both? By making this half blueberry and half strawberry, you create red, white and blue all in one 9×13 pan. (I’m counting the neutral-colored crust as white here) Simply mix up the dough ingredients and pat half of it into a 9×13 pan. The berries are mixed with some sugar and cornstarch and then added to the pan. The rest

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American Flag Taco Dip

I don’t exactly know why, but I simply LOVE to make red, white and blue food for the Fourth of July! When my kids were young, it was layered Jell-O. At some point, I graduated to layered cakes and other foods. No matter what direction I take, I always want to have at least one item with the right colors on July 4th and that’s why I have been eagerly anticipating this week leading up to the Fourth – and now it’s here! YAY! That is my theme from now until Independence Day – all recipes will have a red,

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Grilled Pizza!

Make it Vegetarian OR Meatlovers! Pizza is America’s favorite food, according to a survey by the California Pizza Kitchen. (I’m sure they were COMPLETELY unbiased, LOL). But it is summer, and we love to grill. So can we combine these two loves? Yes, we CAN! Grilling pizza is essentially just a technique to get used to, particularly for the crust. Once you have that figured out, the rest is easy. The pizza can then be customized with whatever ingredients are preferred. Please note: I do all my grilling on a gas grill. In theory this can also be done on

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Quinoa Edamame Salad

With summer coming isn’t it nice to have an “easy button” to throw together last-minute salads? This one is something I quite literally THREW TOGETHER, using .. whatever .. in my fridge and freezer. I liked it so much, I make it regularly. On purpose! Both quinoa and edamame provide a protein punch. Corn gives hints of sweetness, and grape tomatoes provide a mild tang. I’ve also used cooked carrots and peas with success.  The possibilities are endless! One note about edamame: when I find a package labeled edamame in the freezer section, it is a package of beans in

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Asparagus and Cannellini Bean Salad

I was raised on a farm where we grew our own asparagus, so for me this vegetable always shouts “Spring!” Luckily, due to the marvels of modern growing and shipping practices, we have access to this vegetable almost year round. But let’s face it: Asparagus is still best in the spring. Sometimes all you want to do is steam your asparagus and have it on the side with fish or even steak. But other times, you want something different. And for that we go to one of my cookbooks from America’s Test Kitchen. And it delivers! By including cannellini beans

SOUP

Spicy Mushroom-Noodle Soup

You know, ramen has come a long way. I don’t think I ever heard of it until I was in college. At the time, ramen meant cheap instant noodles with a flavor packet. And cheap! What were they, three or four packs for a dollar? Perfect dorm room fare: Carbs that didn’t require a lot of cooking or kitchen equipment. Of course, you were always hungry an hour after. Fast forward to today. Ramen has been dressed up and taken downtown. Seems like there’s a ramen restaurant on every other corner, each claiming to be better than the last. How

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Classic Potato Salad

Does anything say summer more than potato salad? (Okay, maybe ice cream, popsicles, shorts, sandals, suntan lotion – you get the idea…) I have a true love affair with potatoes and therefore potato salad. I also believe that everyone should have at least one “go to” potato salad recipe that they love and can rely upon. (I have three, at last count) There are many different potatoes and ways to make the dressing, and you might have your own preferences, but here are mine: Potatoes: I use red potatoes, baby-sized if possible. The reason? It’s such a bother to peel

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Quinoa with Broccoli and Parmesan

This is one of my “go to” dishes, any time of year. It takes a mere 3 ingredients and only minutes to assemble. With two of those ingredients being quinoa and broccoli, this dish packs a punch of superfood action covered in one swell foop! AND it’s truly delicious! Since May is coming to a close I wanted to be sure to mention that it is Celiac Awareness month. Celiac disease is an autoimmune condition in which the ingestion of gluten leads to damage to the small intestine. So many people seem to be affected by this! Fortunately, there are

Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean Chopped Salad

If you are looking for a salad that is bursting with bright, fresh flavors, look no more! This “Middle Earth” delight has a simple vinaigrette dressing that, through some alchemy, “pops” the flavors of the tomatoes and cucumber; “crunches up” the taste of romaine lettuce; and smooths the palate with feta and chickpeas. Kalamata olives provide the “Ta dah!” moment with an exclamation point of piquancy. I absolutely love the flavors and textures of this. Transport your taste buds to the Mediterranean! This recipe comes from The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, from America’s Test Kitchen. I made a few small adjustments

Roasted Chickpeas

Crispy Roasted Chickpeas

As I stated in my last post, I am focusing this week on ingredients for Buddha bowls: a grain, a green and a bean. Sometimes the bean can be a challenge, so I was really happy to discover that you can roast chickpeas to make a crunchy treat. They can be eaten as a quick snack anytime you are in the mood. I’ve tried a couple different methods to accomplish a nice crunchy chickpea. The ingredient list is short: canned chickpeas, olive oil, and seasonings.  Simple, right? Well – not exactly. Turns out, there are many different approaches to roasting

quinoa

Quinoa

for Buddha bowls and more This week, we celebrate Buddha’s birthday.  We have to pick a week because apparently there’s no agreed-upon date for his birth (or “name day” for you Game of Thrones fans).  So, if you are using the 8th day of the 4th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, the 2019 day is May 12. If you’re using the full moon day of the Vaisakha month of the Buddhist calendar, then it’s May 19. Yeah, I’m confused too. Try Wikipedia, they explain it in great detail. But that brings us to Buddha bowls.  According to The Urban

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Easy Stuffed Sweet Potato

So, do you have a few leftovers from Cinco de Mayo?  Whenever I make my Brown Rice and Bean Bake , I love eating the leftovers, but sometimes I like a little variety for it.  Of course, you can go with the classic Burrito Bowl: lettuce or spinach with tomatoes, maybe a little sweet potato and avocado, a scoop of the warmed-up Brown Rice and Bean Bake, and you are good to go! Need more? Add cheese! More still? Thrown on some salsa! You get the idea. One day, I wanted something a little more substantial, so I decide to

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Vegetarian Crunch Wrap

Here is something a little different for your menu—a Veggie Crunch Wrap! This is similar to the menu item at a Mexican fast food location near you, but if you make this at home, you have control over exactly what is going into your wrap.  I have made these with seasoned ground beef, as well as with Salsa Chicken, to rave reviews, but wanted to make a vegetarian version for myseIf.  It took me a couple of tries to get what I wanted, and I can tell you that for me, the key ingredient was a nice thick slice of

Black Bean Soup

Black Bean Soup

Happy Spring!  It is almost May, which means green grass, flowers and…snow? We did in fact have snow just last weekend here in southern Wisconsin—kind of a cruel trick from Mother Nature.  As much as spring is warm and wonderful, it can also be unpredictable.  So, it is probably a good idea to keep soup in mind for those cooler days.  And, since we are leading up to Cinco de Mayo, what better choice than Black Bean Soup? Like most soups, this one is easy to tinker with by adjusting the seasonings to suit your personal preference.  The inspiration for

Brown Rice and Bean Bake

Mexican, Vegetarian Today, I am continuing the countdown to Cinco de Mayo, and this time, I have a recipe that is hearty enough to be a main dish for vegetarians and perfectly suited to be a side dish for carnivores. There are plenty of bean-and-rice dishes out there, but most start with white rice, something I try to avoid.  White rice is not a whole grain; all the most nutritious parts, like the bran and the germ, have been removed.  This process removes most of the vitamins and minerals, as well as the fiber.  So, use brown rice whenever possible;