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.

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



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!

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.



Mexican lasagna vegetarian alternative

Ok so you all know about my menu issues right? In an effort to accommodate my vegetarian I have had to adapt a lot of recipes. Well, one of my very favorite dishes Mexican Lasagna had to be integrated into the vegetarian diet. You have to understand this is an awesome simple meal that my daughter’s friends all ask for the recipe. I LOVE THIS THING!

Okay, so I had to make it in two versions. The regular and the vegetarian. I will explain both.

First I use cheap ingredients, what can I say we are on a budget. So ground beef and cans of pinto beans, black beans, diced tomatoes, and corn. Some spring onions,taco seasoning with water, tortillas, cream cheese, and some shredded cheese.20140719-141734-51454343.jpg

Chop up your spring onions. Then brown the ground beef. Drain the beans and tomatoes.


In another pan saute the spring onions just for a bit, until they are smelling good then dump the tomatoes, black beans, pinto beans and some corn. Cook it over medium heat for a bit until it’s bubbling. Keep stirring it. When the beef is browned, add taco seasoning to it ( about a 1/4 cup of loose seasoning or one package mix) and water enough to make it mix in well. You can following the directions on the package for regular taco meat.

Then add about a 1/4 cup of taco seasoning to the bean mixture and stir it in. This shouldn’t need any water. Let all this cook for a bit while you prepare the tortillas.

Spread the cream cheese on the tortilla like frosting, cover the whole surface. Then roll it up jelly roll style. Just start at one end and roll with the cream cheese in the middle. You’ll want enough tortilla rolls to make one layer across the pan.

Once you are done with this. Mix some of the bean mixture into the taco meat. Then pour some of the mixture into the bottom of a pan. As you can see I did one pan with vegetarian(Left) and one with meat(Right).


Then layer the shredded cheese over the top. Once there is a good covering of cheese layer the tortillas across the pan.



Then another layer of meat or veggie mix. Try to spread if evenly across the tortillas.



Then of course a final layer of cheese.



Throw it in the oven on about 350 until the cheese melts and if you like the crunchy consistency to the cheese on top then after the cheese melts then just turn the oven to broil and wait a few minutes. At this point keep an eye on it. It can burn fast under the broiler.

Leah said that she really liked the meatless version. So thought I would share. I think that next time I will make them in loaf pans. Normally I make one pan this size for 4 of us and with two pans this size and only 3 of us eating, it lasted way too long. We were eating leftover lasagna for days. Or maybe I’ll freeze the extra, who knows?


Vegetarian Lasagna with pesto white sauce


I made this for my daughter, who is now a vegetarian, and my son loved it too. WEIRD!

Make your lasagna noodles according to the package instructions. While those are boiling make your filling.


Lasagna noodles

Chopped asparagus

Chopped spring onions

Chopped peppers (I used the little sweet ones that are red and yellow and orange)

Chopped fresh broccoli and cauliflower




Cream of Mushroom soup



shredded cheese20140516-122538.jpg


Saute in very little olive oil the onions, peppers and the asparagus.

add some basil, oregano, and rosemary for flavor (I didn’t measure)

When they are starting to get a little soft add the broccoli and the cauliflower. Cook just a little then add Cream of Mushroom soup. Mix in some milk to make it into a decent sauce. Then add a good tablespoon of Pesto.

Layer the noodles with the filling and layers of cheese then bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted. I turn it to broil just a the end to get the cheese crispy on top.




Southweastern BBQ Tortilla Pizzas

This is a favorite in my house. 

You spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Place your tortilla on the cookie sheet. 

Spread your favorite BBQ sauce on the tortilla,

Sprinkle bite size pieces of steak or chicken on next.

Sprinkle stir fried peppers and southwestern veggies (corn, onions, peppers, black beans)

Cover with cheese and bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and enjoy!




I invented Screwdriver Bread


I seem to have a propensity for finding baking recipes that contain alcohol. Bourbon cake. Irish Cream Brownies. You get the picture.
This time I made bread with crabapple purée that had been soaked in whipped cream vodka. Why you ask? We have a crabapple tree in our back yard. After a lot of experimentation we have decided the best use of that fruit crop is to make our own liqueur.
4 quarts of quartered and pitted crabapples
4 cups of sugar
3 cups vodka
That is the normal recipe. I, however, changed it up a little and added 2 cinnamon sticks and a sprinkling of clove and nutmeg. Not a lot. Just a little- enough to spice it like an apple pie. Then soak the crabapples in whipped cream vodka for 16 days. After the 16 days drain and bottle the liqueur. Let it set for 6 months to get the best flavor. It’ll taste like apple pie a la mode. After bottling the liquid, I purée the quartered crabapples and freeze them.

But I digress. Screwdriver bread.
So I have a recipe for pumpkin bread that I often play with. Substituting various fruit purée for the pumpkin purée. This time I used the crabapples.
So this is what I ended up doing…
I substituted crabapple for pumpkin. Orange juice for water and threw in some extra cinnamon and nutmeg.
I’m still working on the recipe when I get it right and it doesn’t fall in the middle I’ll share it. But the point is it tastes like a screwdriver. Yay me!