Parmesan Fries Recipe

Had absolutely they best potatoes last night!

The recipe I found for Parmesan Fries is a yummy discovery.

I mixed up the original recipe a bit by using regular potatoes and sweet potatoes.


1/4 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp paprika

 1/4 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp salt (optional. I find it is salty already without the salt but it’s up to you)

grated Parmesan cheese


olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix spices together in a small bowl.

Cut the potatoes into wedges. You can peel them if you want or you can leave the skin on.

You can rinse them if you want to reduce starch, but be sure to pat them dry.

Place in a bowl and coat with olive oil.

Spread out the wedges on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the spices and cheese.

Bake for 30 minutes or until done.



Taco Pizza Pocket Recipe

I wanted tacos but I didn’t want the tortilla. I wanted bready stuff. One of those weird cravings, you know. So, I made up a weird version of tacos.


Chopped tomato                     ground beef

                chopped bell pepper              taco seasoning

       chopped onion                        shredded cheese

pizza dough

Cook up the ground beef until brown, throw in the onions, let them cook for a bit, then add the bell pepper.Cook just a little longer then add the tomatoes. Add taco seasoning until it tastes right. (I used a big can and kept shaking, but I’m sure a packet would be about the right amount. I didn’t really measure anything, was in a ‘seat of my pants’ mood.)

Grease a cookie sheet, spread out the pizza dough. (I used the Pillsbury pizza dough in a tube.) Spread out the above mixture in the center of the dough.

Sprinkle with shredded cheese.

Fold it over and press the seams closed. Bake at 375 degrees until it’s browned. 

Sprinkle with cheese again and put it back in until it’s melted. 

And wallah! Taco Pizza Pocket. Good hot and cold! 

I was thinking that next time I might try and add some refried beans under the meat mixture to make it a little more like a burrito. We’ll see.

Pull Apart Bread Baking Fail

Pull Apart Bread or as some call it Monkey Bread or as we call it in my family Coffee Cake.

It is basically flavored bread that comes apart in chunks. There are a million versions of pull apart bread. Some are savory and some are sweet. In my family it is always sweet. As a child I never understood why we called it Coffee Cake because there was no coffee in it, but now I understand that it is because you have it with your coffee.

The recipe is simple.

Frozen bread dough, thawed.

Melted butter

Cinnamon and Sugar

Cut dough into small pieces. Dip in melted butter. Roll in cinnamon and sugar. Layer pieces in pan, let rise. Cook at 325 degrees.

Seems like an easy thing to make, and it is. Unless you’re me.

I thought it would be nice to make it and have it ready for breakfast in the morning, but I didn’t take into account that I was tired and my day had gone badly already. (By the way this combination always curses any attempt at baking.) I had already thawed out the bread dough and was committed to making it regardless of the imminent doom I knew was coming.

I started it after dinner. I cut the dough into chunks and melted the butter. Normally we use a fluted pan but I have had success with just using small 8 x 8 pans. So I used the small pans. I was zipping through the pile of dough filling the pans easily. No problems so far. I had divided the dough between two pans. Once they were full, I set them aside and covered them so they could rise.

In the meantime, I started my son on his nighttime routine. While he was in the bath I checked the pans and they looked ready for baking. I slid them in the oven and went back to check on my son. I had it all timed so that the bread would be done before he was ready for bed. Or so I thought.

For some reason the bread dough went through a growth spurt while in the oven, but only the outside edges. The middle stayed where it was but the outside overflowed and started dropping like doughy rain onto the bottom of the oven. Smoke started to fill the house as the sugar coating caught fire.

I turned on the extractor fan above the stove and opened the oven. Using a silicon ended tongs I removed the charred chunks of bread. They were like black rocks. I could have used them as sling shot ammo. I checked the bread and the outside was done. Nice hollow sound when I tapped on it. I thought they were done. Hahahaha, no.

The inside was completely doughy. This had never happened before. I wasn’t sure what to do. I couldn’t very well tear it apart and cook the inside as the outside. I took a cookie sheet and flipped the pans upside down on the trays. I figured it they were going to cook weird then I might as well go all out. Another 20 minutes and another round of smoke from the bits of butter and sugar that had already fallen filled the house. I opened the window too this time although that is not the greatest idea during winter in Montana. However, the bread was finally not raw on the inside.

It wasn’t pretty but it was edible. It actually tasted amazing. So even though I totally failed, I succeeded because it’s not the looks its the taste that’s important.

Garam Masala Lamb Pockets

This recipe was something that I cooked up (pardon the pun) on the fly the other night.


My friend, Lisa, had given me some grass fed lamb from her ranch,  The Land of Grass. I didn’t know what to do with it at first. I’d never cooked lamb before. When I mentioned it to my daughter she requested Indian food. And although my daughter loves the spicy curries and things, my son and I have a hard time eating spicy food.  So I compromised a bit.

I had a tin of Garam Masala from The Silk Road. It is a combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorn, black cumin, ginger, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, and bay leaf. I know it sounds a bit spicy but it really wasn’t. It smelled amazing when I opened the tin but I didn’t follow the recipe on the back.

I improvised!

I fried up the ground lamb with some garlic and chopped spring onions until they were nice and browned. Meanwhile I cooked up some Basmalti rice. I added the Garam Masala then tasted the mixture. It was kind of bland. So I started adding things. I threw in some ginger and then some tumeric. Every thing turned yellow (as it always does with tumeric). That was a good sign, right?

Still needed something.

My daughter said it needed salt and more garlic. So I threw in some garlic salt. Then she said we needed raisins. She loves raisins in her Indian dishes. I also threw in some slivered almonds just because it seemed like a good idea at the time.

It was tasting pretty yummy by now.

I mixed in the rice and stirred it all up. Then took some crescent rolls and laid them out in squares. (Two triangles pressed together along the seem will give a rectangular dough shape) I spooned the rice and lamb mixture into the center and folded the dough closed creating a “pocket” then pressed the seams closed. Baked them at 350 degrees until they were  golden brown.

My daughter was happy because we got to have Indian. My son was happy because it was not spicy and it was in a bread pocket that was easy to eat without having to wrangle rice on a fork. I was happy because everyone else was happy!

I saved the left-overs  for another day but my daughter ate it the next day with a spoon. Ah well, at least she liked it.

SO here is the finally ingredient list. Sorry there aren’t measurements.

ground lamb                           basmalti riceIMG_6782

spring onions                         Garam Masala

minced garlic                         garlic salt

 olive oil                                   raisins

ground tumeric                     crescent rolls

ground ginger                        slivered almonds

bake at 350



Stuffed Red Peppers

Normally I don’t really like stuffed peppers. They always taste kinda soggy or something. The inside is mushy and the outside is rubbery. Unfortunately I had two red bell peppers and I needed to use them somehow. There was a fruit and vegetable grocery sale $15 for all you can fit in a paper sack and because our family is having financial difficulties due to job loss -you take what you can get.


This recipe is for Mexican Stuffed Peppers that I found.

  • 1 lb ground beef  (It called for ground beef but I didn’t have any so I used breakfast sausage which was all I had that was close.)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions (I used spring onions, because that was all I had.)
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • packet of taco seasoning
  • 4 bell peppers (I only had two)
  • 1 egg
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • cheese
  • water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the meat, egg, onions, rice, and taco seasoning in a bowl and set aside. Slice the pepper in half and remove the seeds and membranes. Spoon the filling mixture into the pepper half. You can pile it up. Then lay in an ungreased glass baking dish pour a little water around them in the bottom of the dish. (Apparently this is because you don’t precook the peppers.) Spoon a little salsa on top of each pepper and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the meat is thoroughly cooked and the pepper is crisp tender.

When you’re ready to serve you can throw some cheese on top and some sour cream if you want. I didn’t put sour cream on the one in the picture.


So because I only had two peppers instead of the 4 the recipe calls for I had some left over meat mixture.


So I saved it and we had it in burritos the next day. Two meals out of one!

Thrifty and Yummy!

Vegetarian fast food

I decided to try psychologically subversive techniques on my daughter. She is notoriously bad at eating. She’s busy all the time and rarely stops to eat and when she does it’s rarely healthy.

I have ranted and raved about her eating all to no avail. So I took out the effort issue. We’ll see if it helps get her to eat.


This is my version of vegetarian fast food. I made up some salads and stuck them in portioned containers. Hopefully she’ll eat it…

Turkey or not turkey?


I wanted a turkey dinner but not the effort. So I got one of the Jenny-O Turkey roasts. I’ve always liked the turkey roasts. They only take a couple of hours and poof you’ve got a lovely turkey and gravy dinner. Just add potatoes.
Then there’s the vegetarian daughter… What to feed her?
How about a Quorn Tutk’y Roast?
ingredients (I still don’t know what exactly the fake turkey is made out of even though I’ve read the ingredients repeatedly.)

Well… I made them. I enjoyed the Hell out if mine and my daughter was so excited she ate two helpings. She said she wanted to “eat this for dinner every night”. Umm…yeah. I don’t really think so but I’m glad she’s happy.

Here’s the thing though, weirdly enough they almost taste the same. Kinda freaks me out. If it’s not made of turkey then why does it taste like turkey. I mean I know that is the point but it’s weird!
I’m glad that there are meat replacement products that can give vegetarians a similar meal experience to carnivores. I know it makes my daughter uncomfortable sometimes when she has to be singled out to have a different meal. The thing that worries me is whether or not I’m helping or harming her by serving strange concoctions that are meatless meat.
Shoot me if you wanna but all I can think of is “Soylent Green is people!”
Just saying…

Crabapple Harvest

This is the last fruit I have to harvest this year…Thank Goodness!

I have no ambition this year. I went out and filled a 5 gallon bucket with crabapples off the tree, there are about a million more littering the ground but I only had the umph to do a little.


I washed and sorted the crabapples to remove leaves and other debris, then started removing stems and the rosettes from the bottom.



I put 4 quarts of chopped crabapples into a large jar added 3 cups of sugar and 1 tbsp cinnamon, then poured a bottle of Whipped Cream Vodka over the top. This will make Crabapple Liqueur that will taste like apple pie ala mode. I reduced the sugar this year from 4 cups to 3 because it is normally really sweet. I hope it will tone it down a little. This will have to sit for 16 days, then be strained and bottled.


I cooked down the rest of the crabapples. In batches of 6 cups of water to 6 cups of fruit.  Brought to a boil then simmered for ages until the fruit was soft.


After cooking the crabapples, I strained off the juice.  You can puree and strain out more juice, but my apples were really dry this time so I didn’t bother.


After extracting the juice. I made two batches of jelly. One regular and one low sugar version (Made with Truvia Baking Blend) Follow the directions in the Sure Jell box

Cinnamon Crabapple Jelly                                           Low Sugar Version

7 cups juice                                                                      6 cups juice

9 cups sugar                                                                     2 cups Truvia Baking Blend

1 tbsp butter (to reduce foaming)                               1 tbsp butter (to reduce foaming)

1 tbsp cinnamon                                                             1/2 tbsp cinnamon

IMG_2871  IMG_2872


Sometimes things go right and the jelly sets just fine.

 It separates slowly from the side of the jar.


 If it doesn’t set, it will still be liquid and will slosh around in the jar.



You have two choices at this point.

One: reboil it with some more pectin and hope it sets.


Two: Say YAY! I made syrup!

I had one batch that set and one that didn’t. So I stuck with the syrup idea because Cinnamon Crabapple syrup on pancakes just sounded too good!

Plum Season



I have several plum trees in my back yard. This is the first year since we moved here that we’ve actually had a plum crop. The wind usually knocks them all down before they have a chance to ripen. Harvesting them was funny because the wind had knocked a lot down and so I was picking them up off the ground when the wind came up and knocked the rest down on my head. It was like Newton on crack! Tons of plums were raining down on my head. I just stayed kneeling under the tree with my arms covering my head as I was bombarded with fruity projectiles. The cat thought it was hilarious.

This year we ended up with 61 lbs of plums.



I sent the about 30 lbs with my friend Lisa to the Farmer’s Market and processed the rest.

IMG_2748  IMG_2749IMG_2777



I pitted and pureed the plums then cooked the pits with about a 1/2 cup of water to get the rest of the pulp off the pits. Then I cooked the plum puree 6 cups at a time.

6 cups of plums to 1/2 cup of water. Boiled down. I added spices to the mix and cooked the whole lot until they were a beautiful purple color.


Spiced Plum Jam Recipe.

I didn’t really find this recipe. I kinda made it up as I went but I turned out like Christmas in a jar!

6 cups of cooked plum puree

a tablespoon (Approx) of butter to keep the foaming down

8 cups of sugar

1 pkg of Sure Jell

4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp clove

1/2 tsp ginger

Bring puree with spices added to a boil, add butter, and Sure Jell. Bring to a Full Rolling Boil stirring constantly. Add sugar and return to full rolling boil. Boil exactly 1 minute (time will affect setting of jam) stir constantly. Remove from heat and ladle into hot sterilized jars. Skim off any foam. Seal and Process in a Hot water bath for time indicated for your altitude. (It’s on the Sure Jell instructions)


The rest of the puree I added the above mentioned spices in proportion to every 6 cups of puree.  I measured out 2 cups per freezer bag to be kept for later use in things such as bread or fruit leather.

IMG_2785 IMG_2786 IMG_2787

I am looking forward to tasting that bread..mmmm……..

Chokecherry season



My back yard is graced with several large Chokecherry trees. Every year since we have live here we have harvested the berries and tried different recipes. We have made syrup, jelly, candy, liqueur, cordial, and wine. This year I tried to make some sugar free jelly and cordial. I didn’t get as many berries this year as usual. Normally the birds start eating the berries and you know they are ready. So we head out with buckets and the whole family picks berries. This year, however, because of the lateness of the season and school already in session, it was just me who could harvest the berries. I am not as fast as an army of birds so I only managed to pick a couple of gallons of berries. While I was trying to pick the berries it was pouring rain and starting to snow so I really wasn’t motivated to stay out and keep harvesting. The birds cleaned out the rest of the crop. They don’t care about the rain.


I took a whole day to cook down 20 cups of berries. Ratio of 4 cups berries to 1 cup water simmered until the berries changed colors and the water became very dark purple. These were whole berries. Once I had cooked them down until they were soft. I threw them in the food processor and chopped them up. The pits contain cyanide toxins so DON’T EAT THE PITS! There are ways of processing the pits for consumption but I don’t feel comfortable doing that so I’m not even going to talk about it.


So this year I had this bright idea that after I had drained the juice off of the pureed berries I would separate out the pits and make fruit leather from the pulp. I spent about 2 hours  sorting out pits. This is the result. The white bowl above is the drained puree. The small bowl is the amount of pits that I got out in that 2 hours and the large bowl is the total pulp that I got in 2 hours.  Well….. I got bored and tired and realized that I was pretty fruitless…haha sorry about that pun. So I gave up.


So instead I started cooking up some sugar free jelly. In my defense I don’t do sugar free. It makes my throat itch, but my cousin asked if I would try making some for him. Well, why not? I followed all the instructions for the Sure Jell No Sugar Added jelly. I used Tuvia Baking Blend because it had half the sugar content that the Splenda Baking Blend had. Normally when I make jelly I get about 8 to 10 jars out of a batch of chokecherry juice. In this case I only got 5 and 1/2 jars.

The recipie I used was as follows.

3 1/2 cups of chokecherry juice

2 1/4 cups Truvia Baking Blend

1 pkg of Sure Jell No Sugar Added

Boil the juice add pectin stir in until dissolved. Bring to a Full Rolling Boil. Boil for 1 minute exactly (Time difference will affect the setting of the jelly) Removed from heat and stir in Truvia. Ladle into hot sterilized jars. Then Hot water bath process according to the chart for your altitude.


My daughter tried it for me and she said it was really good. A kind of bittersweet taste. Was a little disappointed that there were only 5 and half jars but volume wise it is to be expected since the sugar free version calls for half the amount of “sugar” which wouldn’t bulk up the end volume as much.

I also made some more Chokecherry Cordial. This is a concentrate of chokecherry juice that can be used as a drink. Cordial is awesome for kids and lasts for a long time.


I took fresh berries and pureed 5 cups in the food processor. Those were transferred to a large jar. Then I added 1 1/2 cups of vinegar and 1 1/2 cups of water. The vinegar/ water solution must cover the berries. Let it stand for 8 days. The solution will darken considerably. Then strain our the pulp and pits and keep the juice.


Boil the liquid with sugar. Ratio 1 cup juice to 1 cup sugar. Bring to full rolling boil. Boil for at least a minute then ladle into hot sterilized jars. I store mine in the fridge and just add a little to a glass and fill the rest with water to make a lovely juice.


I still want to try and use the pits for jewelry. I read that somewhere but I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll write a blog about that when I do.