Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, May 18th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…May 17, 2009

Outside my Window…is a misty, moisty evening. We had quite a downpour this afternoon, and it’s still raining steadily. The May flowers are drinking up the May showers. The hostas, dicentra, and ferns seem especially perky this evening.

I am thinking…that summer vacation will be here soon! School is done on June 12th for us. I still don’t know if funds will be available for summer school to be offered this year. If there’s no summer school, I’ll be keeping busy at home instead.

From the learning rooms…Our 8th grade students are keeping very busy with their Breakout projects. The students explore a social issue (such as hunger, gang activity, child soldiers, the plight of refugees, or modern-day slavery, for example), do volunteer work in the community, and finally write a report and give an oral presentation before a panel of adults before they pass on to high school. This project is meant to help students “break out” of a self-centered world view to care a little more about others in our world who are suffering.

I am thankful for…God’s faithful provision. We have enough of all that we really need even during these tight economic times.

From the kitchen…Yesterday I tried a recipe (modified it slightly) from the June 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens. They called it Potato Salad With Country Ranch Dressing, but I call it Roasted Red Potato Salad, since I just couldn’t bring myself to add the ranch dressing mix. It is our new favorite potato salad!


3 pounds round red potatoes, cut in 1-inch pieces

1 small red onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen whole kernel corn

¾ cup mayonnaise

2 Tablespoons cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

1 stalk celery, sliced

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped

Salt to taste

Optional: 1 one-ounce envelope dry ranch salad dressing mix

    1 avocado, halved, seeded, peeled, and chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potatoes, onion, and garlic in 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Drizzle olive oil; toss to coat. Roast, uncovered, 20 minutes. Stir vegetables; add corn. Roast 15 to 20 minutes more or until vegetables are tender and browned.
  2. Sprinkle the vinegar over the hot potato mixture. Once the potatoes are cool, mix in the remaining ingredients.

Makes 12 servings.


I am wearing…still warm clothing. Sunday was warm, though. I was able to wear a light-weight blouse without a sweater! Woohoo!

I am reading…or rather, just finished reading an interesting and well-written book by Wendy Mass, A Mango-Shaped Space. Did you know that some people really do see sounds, see letters and numbers as having a certain color, or even see colors and shapes accompanying some tastes? The main character in this story has this disorder, which is called synesthesia. That is just the framework within which this interesting story occurs, however. This book is meant for young adults.

I am hoping…that our son’s 7th grade class gets to go on their field trip about the Snow Goose, a marine biology ship. Some windiness is expected tomorrow, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

I am creating…fewer blog posts these days, but didn’t want to miss this one.

I am hearing…my husband humming a psalm tune. We just finished family worship, our time of reading the Bible, singing and praying.

Around the house…Outside it is green, green, green. With longer daylight hours and plenty of rain, all the plant life is burgeoning.

One of my favorite things…is being dry and cozy inside with my family while the rain is pouring down outside.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…This Saturday, Lydia and Seth are participating in Lydia’s girlfriend’s Quinceanera party. They have been practicing a traditional dance for this elaborate coming-of-age 15th birthday party. We pick up Seth’s tuxedo on Friday, and early Saturday morning, Lydia gets her hair done. Professional photographs in a lovely park happen first, then dinner, and then the dance. Our whole family is invited. I am excited to see what this will be like!

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Lydia did this little sketch recently. I think she’s looking forward to summer!

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

For Debra’s Birthday

Saturday, March 28th, 2009


Rub or mix to fine crumbs:

    3 ¾ cups flour

    3 cups brown sugar

    2 teaspoons salt

    1 cup shortening (or butter)

Reserve ¾ cup of this mixture, combined with ½ tsp. cinnamon, to sprinkle over cake.

Add to remaining crumbs:

    ¾ teaspoon EACH cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda

Add, and mix until smooth:

    1 ½ cups buttermilk (or milk plus 1 Tablespoon vinegar)

    3 eggs, well-beaten

Pour batter into greased and floured 9″x13″ baking pan. Sprinkle reserved crumbs over batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 or more minutes. Test to see if done.


Mix together:

2 ½ cups powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon soft butter

1 teaspoon almond flavoring

Enough milk to make icing of proper consistency

Drizzle icing over cake while the cake is still hot.

This is one of Debra’s favorite cakes, and is the one I’ll be baking in just a few minutes. We are going to celebrate her 19th birthday this evening, and, as is our custom, the honored birthday person selects the evening’s menu.

I suppose the nutritional changes that we have been implementing (no shortening use, greatly decreasing sugar use, mainly eating whole grain and fresh foods) must be ignored once in a while!

I wish you a very happy birthday, dear Debra! We’ll have fun ordering books together for your birthday present!

Vegetarian Irish Stew

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Vegetarian Irish Stew (Recipe from Melissa Breyer of Care2)

I modified this recipe to use only the ingredients that I had on hand. If you want to try a greater variety of root veggies, click on this link for the original recipe.


2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

1 cup (or more) carrots, sliced

2 cups (or more) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 cup (or more) celery, diced

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups stout beer

1 cup pearl barley, rinsed

A few sprigs fresh rosemary, or ½ teaspoon dried rosemary

Salt and pepper, to taste

  1. In a large soup pot, sauté onions in the oil until translucent. Add the remaining vegetables and cook for a few minutes, stirring to coat the vegetables with oil.
  2. Add broth, stout, and barley to pot. Add the rosemary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for an hour, or until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, adding water if necessary.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and serve with bread.

Eggless Scramble

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Eggless Scramble (from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook)


8 ounces firm tofu, crumbled

1 tsp. ground turmeric

1 tsp. Celtic sea salt

½ tsp. ground cumin

4 tomatoes, quartered (I used some mild tomato-based salsa instead.)

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 small sweet potato, chopped (optional)

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped (I used a green bell pepper.)

(I used some sliced mushrooms also.)

  1. In a bowl, combine tofu, turmeric, salt, and cumin; set aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, puree tomatoes; set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat, making sure it doesn’t smoke. Sauté onion until softened. Add sweet potato (if using) and sauté until tender. Add celery and red pepper; sauté until tender. Add seasoned tofu and sauté until heated through. Stir in tomato puree, cover, and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until all ingredients are heated through and the flavors have blended.


If you don’t think of this as eggs, it is a delicious, savory dish. I served this with tortilla chips, and shredded cheddar cheese for those who wanted it. It would be delicious over rice also.


The ingredients


The piece de resistance!

Walnut Oatmeal ‘Burgers’ Rehashed

Thursday, March 12th, 2009

A little over a week ago, I shared a recipe from The New Laurel’s Kitchen by Laurel Robertson, Carol Flinders, and Brian Ruppenthal for Walnut Oatmeal Burgers. Last night I prepared that recipe once again, and this time I have a picture for you:


It amazes me that oatmeal and walnuts can yield a beef-like texture, but it’s true. I used some of the cooked ‘burgers’ to prepare a spicy vegetarian chili mixture. This would be delicious as part of a nacho dip with tortilla chips. To one-half of the cooked Walnut Oatmeal Burger recipe, I added:

  1. a 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes and
  2. 8 ounces of La Victoria Thick’n Chunky Salsa Verde

and simmered a bit to blend flavors. This recipe gets the taste-test approval of my 12 year old son, so that’s telling you something. Do try it, if you’re interested in a fresh, inexpensive meat alternative.


Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, March 9th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…March 9, 2009

Outside my Window…there’s a wee bit of icy snow upon the ground. It’s cold (22 degrees) and wind is blowing from the northeast. According to, it feels about 11 degrees out there, and is supposed to stay this cold at least another day.

I am thinking…I am sorry for the robins who returned too soon to our neck of the woods.

From the learning rooms…Our youngest son is practicing a new song on his acoustic guitar and hopes to have it ready in time to provide some of the entertainment for the middle school fund raiser on March 20th, a crab feed dinner.

I am thankful for…our cozy home on this blustery night.

From the kitchen…I prepared a homemade chicken noodle soup this evening. Here’s the recipe if you care to try it:

Easy Homemade Chicken Soup

This recipe utilizes leftover baked or fried chicken. I often use chicken thigh meat (skin removed) leftover from making Oven Baked Chicken.


About 8 – 10 pieces leftover cooked chicken

8 cups water

2 Tablespoons McCormick Chicken Base

½ to 1 cup dehydrated Vegetable Soup Blend (Mine has carrots, onions, tomatoes, spinach, bell pepper and celery.)

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1 teaspoon (or more, to taste) Lea&Perrins Marinade for Chicken (This is like a Worcestershire Sauce for chicken.)

7 oz. fine pasta for soup (I use La Moderna Fideo pasta.)

Bring the water to a boil; add the chicken base, the leftover cooked chicken pieces, the vegetable soup blend, the diced potatoes and the seasoning.

Cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are barely tender, 15 minutes or so.

Uncover the soup, and heat it to a rolling boil again. Add the pasta and stir frequently until the pasta is tender, 10 minutes or less.

We enjoy this soup with garlic toast.

I am wearing…cozy, comfortable clothing. It is difficult to remember short-sleeve days. I have a red hooded sweater on over a white blouse, black skirt, and black leggings.

I am reading…I just finished reading Knots in My Yo-yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid by Newberry Medalist Jerry Spinelli. If you have ever wondered what kind of childhood might produce a creative person, you would be interested in this book. I enjoyed getting to know Mr. Spinelli as a boy.

I am hoping…to finish this post quickly because it’s bedtime and tomorrow is another busy day.

I am creating…this post.

I am hearing…the little sounds of a night-time house, and the hum of the computer.

Around the house…it is still cold and wintery.

One of my favorite things…is falling right asleep after working hard all day.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Daughter Rebecca and I plan to attend a Running Start meeting at the local community college Wednesday evening. She will be attending college full time as a high school senior next year, and will earn high school and college credit at the same time. She is very much looking forward to this challenge and opportunity.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Our daughter and son-in-law who were living with us for a while have purchased this new home which is quite near here. We’re happy for them, but I do especially miss having resident grandchildren! This photo wasn’t taken today, so you don’t see the snow.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Monday, March 2nd, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…March 2, 2009

Outside my Window…It’s dark, since it’s almost 10pm as I type this. There’s a light breeze blowing from the northeast, but the snow in the yard is mostly melted. I haven’t yet noted the distinctive ‘springtime’ smell that I’m waiting for, but spring is almost here! The front porch is scattered with seed hulls from all the snacking the wild birds did during the recent cold snap. I hope the worm-eating robins fared alright while the ground was snow covered. They returned a tad too soon.

I am thinking…of my husband and son who are heading home after our son’s medical appointment in Seattle. Once again, the surgeon’s report is encouraging following our son’s eye surgery for detached retina.

From the learning rooms…I will be traveling to a Love & Logic
seminar this Thursday with another para educator from the middle school. This is such a helpful program which we are privileged to attend in these tight financial times.

I am thankful for…a happy home where the Lord is our Source and our Center.

From the kitchen…I have a recipe for Walnut Oatmeal Burgers that I want to share with you. I am not a vegetarian, but am cutting back on animal products to help cholesterol levels. This is a good recipe!

Walnut Oatmeal Burgers (from The New Laurel’s Kitchen, 1986)

Author Laurel Robertson says of this recipe, “An oatmeal-walnut ‘burger’ that makes a satisfying sub for the nonvegetarian sort in several dishes.”

My girls and I had these burgers for dinner tonight, on buns with all the fixings. They are simple to make and truly delicious.

1 ½ to 3 cups walnut pieces

2 cups rolled oats

3 or 4 eggs, slightly beaten (or 1 cup low fat plain yogurt)

½ cup milk (or rice or almond milk)

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oil to brown patties

3 cups vegetable stock


Grind walnuts in blender and combine with oats, eggs, milk, onion, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper. Refrigerate the mixture to thoroughly moisten the oats.


Form 8 to 12 patties, depending upon the bun size you will be using. Brown the patties on both sides in a lightly oiled skillet. Pour the stock into the skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes.


Serve on buns with ‘the fixin’s’, or crumble and use as you would hamburger in chili beans, spaghetti sauce etc.

I am wearing…layers. The wood stove didn’t get started today, so though we’re not chilly, we’re not toasty warm either.

I am reading…a young people’s fantasy, The Hollow Kingdom by Clare Dunkle. I’ve just started the book and am already enjoying it.

I am hoping…to attend an informational meeting tomorrow evening at the hospital with daughter Rebecca who is possibly interested in a health field profession.

I am creating…this blog post, quickly, before I fall asleep at the keyboard.

I am hearing…my husband and son, who just arrived safely home. Happiness.

Around the house…are blank garden beds and flower beds just waiting for warmer weather.

One of my favorite things…is greeting my family when they return home from hither and yon.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…What I’m thinking right now is that I MUST get back in the habit of taking the dear old doggie for a daily walk. The ground is not slippery. The rain is not pouring down. The exercise is so good for both of us.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This is what our backyard looked like just six days ago! We had a ‘snow day’ the next day due to extremely slippery packed snow on the roads. Now it’s feeling almost balmy outside.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Sunday, February 8th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…February 8, 2009

Outside my Window…overcast, grey skies and cool (40 degrees Fahrenheit) but dry weather today. This is typical late-winter weather for us. As we were driving to church this morning, I noticed more and more signs of spring on the way. There are catkins on some bushes, and the weeping willow stems are getting greener. The distant craggy peaks across the border in Canada still look plenty cold, though.

I am thinking…of the devastating wildfires in Victoria, Australia. Blogging friend Remote Treechanger
lives in that part of Australia, and talks about the fires a bit on her blog. Over one hundred people have died in the fires so far. Some communities have been completely destroyed. What a reminder that our lives can change (or end) so suddenly and unexpectedly. This makes me think of the importance of being on right terms with the Lord NOW, for we have no assurance of tomorrow.

From the learning rooms…I have been learning about detached retinas, lattice degeneration, and sclera buckle surgery. Our 22 year old son suddenly lost vision in one eye this past Wednesday because the retina (the eye’s ‘movie screen’ inside at the back of the eyeball) detached. He had surgery on Friday, and can now sense light. It will be one month before he knows how much vision he will regain.

I am thankful for…God giving us curiosity about creation, so that such things as the intricate working of the eyes have been studied, and reparative operations have been developed. The surgeon who operated on our son has 20 years experience.

From the kitchen…I have been making quick and easy meals during this stressful, busy time. Today we enjoyed a friend’s recipe for CHEESY POTATOES. Since it’s so simple, I’ll just tuck the recipe in right here:

¼ cup melted butter

½ cup chopped onion

1 can cream of celery or mushroom soup

1 small carton sour cream

1 or 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

2 pounds frozen hash brown potatoes

Sauté the onion in the butter, then combine all ingredients. Pour into a 9×13-inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour.


I am wearing…white, ruffled blouse, dressy black skirt with black leggings, and blue/green oversweater.

I am reading…The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, set in the African country of Botswana. My friend Nancy at school recommended this book to me. I’ve only just started and will try to pick it up again on Monday.

I am hoping…our son has a good report from the surgeon when he returns to the hospital for a follow-up visit tomorrow.

I am creating…my Daybook one day early because I already know I’ll be too busy tomorrow. Sunday is a lovely, relaxed day at our home, a day of piety, and of rest, so I’m not feeling the pressure of a ‘to do’ list. (Uh oh! One of my daughters just informed me that I have a remarkable ability to remain on the computer. This is why I don’t do more of these long posts; I wouldn’t get anything else done!)

I am hearing…our young people conversing together in the living room. This is one of my favorite sounds. It gives me so much joy, knowing that our grown and almost grown up children enjoy talking with one another and being together.

Around the house…the perennials are still sleeping underground. Nothing deciduous has made its appearance yet. For color we have only the faithful evergreens, and the mossy grass.

One of my favorite things…is that the duties of each day are what make the days interesting and full of variety.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…

  • I take my elderly mom to the doctor tomorrow while my husband takes our son to Seattle for his post-operative visit.
  • Our twin daughters have their 24th birthdays this week.
  • I still want to celebrate my husband’s birthday, which we missed last week due to our son’s medical emergency. At least I want to bake him an applesauce cake and give him his birthday card, signed by each one of us.
  • Two of our girls received tickets to the Seattle Symphony performance scheduled for this Thursday evening. How they are going to get there and back is still up in the air.
  • Friday, our church youth group is having a square dance fundraiser, and I’m scheduled to help with food preparation and serving. All-in-all, it’s sounding like a busy week ahead.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Knoephla Soup

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

This evening my son-in-law treated us to a traditional German/Russian soup, called Knoephla Soup, which he learned to make from his dad.

When I asked Darren what ‘knoephla’ means, he said, ‘dumpling.’ told me that the word ‘knoephla’ comes from the German word ‘knöpfle’, which means ‘little knob/button.’ These little dumplings seem somewhat noodle-y to me, and are made from flour, milk, eggs and salt (no leavening). I watched Darren roll a portion of the dough into a ‘rope’, and then snip pieces of the dough into the simmering soup to cook.

The soup itself has chicken broth, potatoes (cubed) and chopped onion, and is seasoned with bay leaves. When the veggies and the knoephla were all done, Darren stirred in some real cream, and cream of chicken soup.

I cannot begin to tell you how delicious this simple soup is. Darren says to just look up the recipe on the internet, because he doesn’t measure anything. Here’s a picture for you, though:


Cocoa Fudge Cake

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Cocoa Fudge Cake (Recipe from the Betty Crocker Cookbook)

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup cocoa

½ cup shortening

1 ½ cups buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour rectangular pan, 13x9x2 inches, 2 round pans, 8 or 9×1 ½ inches, or 12-cup bundt cake pan. Beat all ingredients on low speed, scraping bowl constantly, 30 seconds. Beat on high speed, scraping bowl occasionally, 3 minutes. Pour into pan(s).

Bake until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, rectangle 35 to 40 minutes, rounds 30 to 35 minutes, bundt cake 40 to 45 minutes; cool. Frost with Creamy Cocoa Frosting if desired.

Cocoa Fudge Cupcakes: Line 30 medium muffin cups, 2 1/2×1 ¼ inches, with paper baking cups. Pour batter into cups, filling each ½ full. Bake 20 minutes.

Red Devils Food Cake: Substitute ½ cup packed brown sugar for ½ cup of the granulated sugar and 2 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled, for the cocoa.

Creamy Cocoa Frosting:

1/3 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup cocoa

2 cups powdered sugar

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla

About 2 tablespoons milk

Sift together cocoa and powdered sugar. Add softened butter and cream. Beat in milk and vanilla until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frosts a 13×9-inch cake or fills and frosts two 8- or 9-inch cake layers.

This is the cake we served for Rebecca’s birthday this past Monday. It is so delicious and moist, plus easy to make. I want to try the Red Devils Food Cake variation soon.