Monday, December 15, 2014

Hearty Lentil-Barley Soup

I'm sorry that I've been slow again with posting recipes. Is it enough to say that I've been super relaxed busy?

6 cups beef broth
1 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 chopped onion
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup cooked, shredded beef (optional)
1 cup quick-cooking pearled barley
1 cup lentils, cooked according to package directions
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon sage
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare lentils according to package directions. Bring the beef broth to a boil in a 6-8 quart pot. While lentils are simmering and the broth is heating; saute the vegetables (mushrooms, onions, carrots, and celery) in the olive oil in a medium saute pan for 5-7 minutes, stirring every minute or two. Once the broth is boiling, add the barley, sauteed vegetables, beef, lentils, diced tomatoes, sage, and red pepper. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.Season to taste with salt and pepper, start with a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper, then go from there according to your taste. Just don't burn your tongue! Enjoy with some homemade bread, if desired!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Reflections - What Are You Most Thankful For?

free thanksgiving photo: Happy Thanksgiving turkey2.jpg

 Thanksgiving - the name itself evokes images of warmth - extended family gathered around the fireplace enjoying each other's company, a juicy golden turkey ready to be carved, spicy apple pies, fluffy mashed potatoes, steaming hot gravy, and so much more.

We really have a lot to be thankful for. Not just on Thanksgiving, but throughout entire year. Sunny summer days, green grass, blue skies, dazzling sunsets, morning sunrises, fragrant roses, ocean shores, singing birds, soft purring kittens, playing children, thoughtful friends, nourishing food, warm homes - the list could go on forever. But do you know what I'm most thankful for? It's better than all that I've mentioned above. I'm most grateful that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, who while we were yet sinners, died for us. So that we could be pardoned and given eternal, that we could know God's love, even though we don't deserve it.
Maybe you are thinking, "But I'm a good person, I deserve it." My heart cries for you because, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." (Proverbs 14:12) And "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked; who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9)  It is so easy to only see the good in ourselves, or not see the bad as truly bad. But the truth is: "ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) We are all desperately in need of God's mercy. (If you don't feel that way, you can take a little test here to see if you need God's mercy.)

Because God is a righteous judge, He does not leave the guilty unpunished. The Bible says, "Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgement on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." Scary isn't it? What is there that we we can do?

This is the good news: God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus. Jesus took all the punishment and guilt for our sins upon Himself, when He died on the cross. He paid the debt that we owed. "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God." (1 Peter 3:18a) Just think about that for a second. Doesn't it move you to tears?

Maybe now you are starting to understand why this is what I'm most thankful for. I really hope you do. But do you know how you can receive eternal life and be reconciled to the God who created the universe and yet loves us so much that He gave His only Son for us? The Bible says to repent (turn from sin) and believe in Jesus. "He who believes in the Son [of God] has everlasting life." (John 3:36a) 

"Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God." (2 Corinthians 5:20) I implore you, dear reader, be reconciled to God, He has made a way - JESUS - who died on the cross and rose on the third day.

This is what I'm most grateful for. Are you?

With love,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving-Style Brownies

I'm really excited about this Thanksgiving twist on brownies! Gooey chocolate, crunchy walnuts, and guess what? Dried cranberries! It makes a luscious treat for Thanksgiving or any time of the year!


1 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup dried cranberries

Optional Garnishes:
Fresh cranberries
Walnut halves
Chocolate chips
Whipped cream
Frosting (chocolate and/or white)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.
Step 2: Mix melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in eggs.
Step 3: Add in salt, baking powder, cocoa, and flour. Mix well.
Step 4: Stir in chocolate chips, walnuts, and dried cranberries.
Step 5: Pour into greased baking dish. Bake for 27 minutes.
Step 6: Let cool. Before serving, garnish as desired. Enjoy!


P.S. I shared this on some of my favorite blog hops.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Easy Exotic Chicken (Video and Recipe)

We've been making this chicken a LOT recently - like around twice a week or something! I first made it because a couple of people in our family are going gluten-free and most soy sauces have wheat in them so I made this instead of soy-sauce chicken. We've been making it since! It is really great with rice and lentils. But we've also liked it with noodles, baked potatoes, baked potato wedges, and mashed potatoes. This takes me only around 5 minutes to put together and it really easy!
Although the spice list looks huge, it really isn't that complicated and you can skip a spice if you don't have it.

1/4 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper AND cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric, garlic powder, black pepper, AND coriander
1 teaspoon each of parsley AND curry powder
1 tablespoon each of paprika AND cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup olive oil
2-3 lbs of chicken (breasts, thighs, legs, or wings)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place chicken in a baking dish. Mix spices and salt in a bowl. Stir in olive oil. Pour over chicken. Bake for 60-75 minutes. Serve with rice and/or lentils. Enjoy! 

I often make this ahead of time and reheat it and the chicken only soaks up more of the flavor! So in other words: this is a great make-ahead dish. 


P.S. I linked this to some of these blog hops as well as a blog hop at Nourishing Joy

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Homemade Salad Bar Ideas (Video)

Start with some lettuce then let your imagination climb! 
We like to chop and shred vegetables ahead of time and keep them in little tupperware containers in the refrigerator. Then they are ready to just get out and instantly have a salad bar. Try to use the cut-up vegetables within a few days. 
Now for some ideas!

Chopped hardboiled eggs
Smoked salmon
Shredded cooked chicken or turkey
Shredded hard cheese (like fresh parmesan)
Feta cheese

Nice extras (I like to pick a couple of these):
Slivered almonds
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Dried cranberries

Shredded Zucchini
Shredded Beets
Sliced cucumbers
Sliced radishes
Cauliflower florets
Broccoli florets
Chopped bell peppers
Chopped snap peas (or just leave them whole)
Diced tomatoes
Canned marinated artichokes 
Olives (not that they are a vegetable, but whatever)


Small orange sections
Thinly sliced apples
Sliced strawberries

Salad Dressings:

Ranch dressing
Italian dressing
Poppy seed dressing
Homemade salad dressings


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Five Minute Chocolate Brownie Frosting (Video)

This frosting is really easy to make and I usually make it without measuring the ingredients. (well I guess that goes for about anything when I'm not writing down the recipe) But anyways, it is really forgiving, if frostings need to be. It usually is finished in around a minute for me. But it will take longer the first time you make it, so I call it "Five Minute". Oh, I didn't mention that it doesn't use powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar).

Easy Brownie Frosting

You will need:
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
2 tablespoons water

Cream butter, sugar, and cocoa. Slowly beat in water until smooth. Spread on your brownies!


Nutmeg-Scented Sauteed Carrots (and video)

This is a great way to eat lots of carrots! They get eaten really up quickly around here.

Nutmeg-Scented Sauteed Carrots

8 washed carrots
1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Cut carrots into matchstick-type pieces. Melt butter over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add carrots and saute for 10-15 minutes until tender, stirring very often. (carrots have natural sugar that burns easily) Turn off heat. Add salt, sugar, and nutmeg. Stir until thoroughly mixed, but don't break up the carrots. Serve warm. Serves 4.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Cooking Video Channel!

One of my brothers who has a knack for video editing has encouraged me to start a cooking channel on YouTube. So..........I've decided to start one!

Please visit Homestead In The Hills Of Tennessee YouTube to check it out...and while you're at it - don't forget to subscribe!

What topics interest you most? In other words: what type of videos do you want me to spend my time on?

1. Breads
2. Vegetable Dishes
3. Main Dishes
4. Lunches
5. Desserts
6. Other

Place you answer in the comments!

Thank you!


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creamy Cheddar Potato Soup

I'm sorry that I haven't been posting much here recently. That might change. I've been inspired by having so many visitors even though I haven't been posting anything. So guess what? I decided I might put more effort (okay, I guess I haven't even put in any effort in the past few months) into writing down and taking pictures of dishes when I cook them.
So here is the recipe for Creamy Cheddar Potato Soup!

  • 1 large onion, diced (I think it goes without saying, but – remove the papery skin)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (it doesn't really need to be that exact)
  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5-6 cups milk (depends on how thick you like your potato soup)
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt (you can add more to taste, if desired)
  • dash of black pepper

Step 1. In a medium-large pot, saute the onion in the butter over medium heat.
Step 2. Add the potatoes and brown them a little bit. The potatoes don't all need to be browned, just fry them for a couple minutes. I think the browning adds a nice extra dimension to potato soup. (This step can be skipped if you are short on time)
Step 3. Cover the potatoes with water. Place a lid on the pot. Bring to a boil. Then turn down heat, and let the potatoes simmer for 20-25 minutes, until tender. Drain the potatoes and onions.
Step 4. Mash potatoes. Stir in remaining ingredients (milk, cheese, celery salt, salt, and black pepper).
Step 5. Bring to a light simmer. Make sure you're stirring it during this time.

Step 6. Serve!

How are you most likely to serve this?
Option 1: With crackers for lunch
Option 2: With a salad and warm homemade bread
Option 3: As an appetizer
Option 4: Hot on a cold day
Option 5:  Cold on a hot day

Place your answer in the comments!

Till next time! (which hopefully won't be in too long!)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

My New Blog!

I know I've been kind-of quiet over here recently. But, guess what? I'm still blogging! I've just started a new blog. If you want to read my posts go over to I hope you enjoy checking it out!


Friday, June 6, 2014

Chocolate Rolls

I made this with my five year old sister yesterday. She must have liked making it because as soon as the dough was done, and I preceded onto making chocolate chip cookies, she insisted that we make another batch of chocolate rolls. I told her that soon enough we would have more to do with the chocolate rolls and we didn't need to start another batch. She wasn't easily convinced. As soon as the butter was in the bowl she made every effort she could to pour hot water into it. I wasn't so fond of putting water into chocolate chip cookie dough so I picked up the bowl and carried it around the kitchen as I got ingredients. She, however, was not discouraged. We HAD to make another batch. Suddenly I noticed her pouring water into the bowl I was holding while I looked the other way. I couldn't help laughing at her mischief, but I dumped out the water. Finally something happened and she got distracted. I did get to make the cookies and they turned out well. :)

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup milk, heated until steamy
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3 eggs
  • 5-6 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
    For filling:
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • brown sugar (1-2 cups)
  • cocoa (½ – ¾ cup)
In a large bowl, place butter and hot milk. Add sugar, yeast, salt, water, and eggs. Stir in flour until to stiff to stir with a spoon. Then knead in the remaining flour. Knead for five minutes. Let rise for an hour and a half.

Roll out dough into a very large rectangle, if you don't have a large surface to work with, roll the dough out in two parts. Brush with butter. Sprinkle on sugar and cocoa. Roll up. Cut into rolls. Place on greased baking sheets. Let rise for one hour. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 25-35 minutes. If desired, glaze. Enjoy! It made around 25 rolls.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Apple-Pecan Coffee Cake

  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 pint (16 oz.) sour cream
  • 2 apples, chopped
  • ½ cup pecans
  • Prepared Pecan Streusel (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. In a large bowl, beat oil, sugar, and eggs. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 1 cup flour. Mix in the sour cream. Then stir in remaining 1 ½ cups flour. Mix in apples and pecans. Pour into baking dish. Sprinkle pecan streusel on top. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Pecan Streusel
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup nuts
Stir all ingredients together and use in recipe.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate-Vanilla, Cranberry Oat, Maple-Pecan - All Cookies - From One Batch!

I walk into the kitchen and get a bowl out of the cupboard. Mind blank. What to do? Get out the flour. Okay. Done. What next? Grab the sugar too. So, what? Flour. Sugar. What else? What am I making anyway? I notice some dried cranberries in the pantry. How about cranberry-oat cookies? So I start mixing ingredients together. Maybe I should try to make several types of cookies out of one batch of dough? Sounds good. Plan. So here are five types of cookies out of one batch of dough! 

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
Cream butter and sugar. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Divide dough into four small bowls. Each bowl should contain ¾ cup dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chocolate Cookies

Stir 3 tablespoons cocoa and 1 tablespoon sugar into one bowl. Shape two-thirds of the chocolate dough into six cookies. Save the remaining dough for the chocolate-meets-vanilla-cookies.

Cranberry-Oat Cookies

Stir 1/3 cup dried cranberries and 1/3 cup oats into one bowl of dough. Shape into nine cookies.

Maple-Pecan Cookies

Stir 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, 2 tablespoons flour, and 1/8 teaspoon salt into another bowl of dough. Shape into nine cookies.

Simple Vanilla Cookies

The last bowl of dough will remain plain. Shape two-thirds of it into six cookies. Save the remaining dough for the chocolate-meets-vanilla-cookies.

Chocolate-Meets-Vanilla Cookies

Take the saved chocolate dough and form into six small acorn-sized balls. Do the same with saved vanilla dough. Place a chocolate and vanilla ball side-by-side in your hands and roll into a 2 inch log. Balance one end of the log in one hand and place the other hand on the other end. Press into a ½ inch thick circle. This really isn't that hard at all. It's so much easier to do than to explain! :)

Bake all the cookies 1 ½ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets for 12 minutes. Let cool before storing, unless eating immediately!   

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chia Squares

This is a good (and tasty) way to eat those healthy chia seeds!

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 inch glass baking dish. In a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, egg, and vanilla. Stir in the remaining ingredients. 

Pat into the baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Cut into squares. Enjoy!!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Danish Kringle

  • ½ cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¾ cup warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ½ cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 ½ sticks cold butter
  • Pecan Filling (recipe below)
  • Glaze (if desired)
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, milk, egg, salt, and flour. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Cover dough and refrigerate for 1 ½ hours. Place the dough on a clean surface and roll out into a 12x16 inch rectangle. Thinly slice a quarter of the butter onto one-half of the surface. Fold the non-buttered half over the buttered dough half. Roll out again and repeat until butter is used up. (Total you should fold it four times.) Tightly wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Prepare pecan filling.
Cut the dough into thirds like this:

Then roll each portion of dough into a 18x8 rectangle. The layers of butter should be parallel with the counter. Spread a third of the filling down the center of dough. 

Fold dough over filling and pinch edges. Place on a baking sheet and curve into a “C”. (You might want to put it on a baking sheet with edges – like a jelly roll pan – just in case it leaks a little butter)
Repeat with remaining dough. Let rise for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden. Drizzle with glaze while hot, if desired.

Pecan Filling
  • 2 cups of finely chopped pecans
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick butter, melted
Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Use in recipe

Friday, March 14, 2014

Strawberry-Vanilla Cheesecake

The crust for this cake is a spin-off on the chocolate crust in Chocolate Chip Cheesecake With Easy From-Scratch Crust.

  • 2 8-oz blocks cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I use brown)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat)
  • dash salt
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • Easy Vanilla Crust (recipe below)

Prepare crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Blend cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in strawberries. Pour onto crust. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Let cool for 1 ½ hours at room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Garnish as desired with whipped cream, strawberries, and/or white chocolate shavings.

Easy Vanilla Crust
  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)

Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter and vanilla. Press into the bottom of prepared pan. Use in recipe.

 I shared this on some of my favorite blog hops

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Chocolate-Orange Cake

  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (I use brown)
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • ½ cup orange juice concentrate
  • ½ cup cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Blend egg yolks, sugar, melted butter, and orange juice concentrate in a large bowl. Sift cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour in a small bowl. (If you aren't that sophisticated, you can just mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl) Beat egg whites in a large bowl until stiff but not dry. Stir half of the flour mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then fold in a third of the egg whites. Fold in the rest of the dry ingredients. Fold in the rest of the egg whites. Add chocolate chips. Gently fold until thoroughly mixed, but don't fold any more than necessary. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cool. Frost with chocolate frosting. Garnish as desired. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Onion-Garlic-Herb Bread

A few days ago we went somewhere and there was a garlic herb bread that someone had made, I only had a chance to smell it (I didn't taste it or see the recipe) so I'm not sure how close this is to it. Originally, I was planning to make a onion bread today, but I decided to add basil and oregano as well. We served it with salad and cottage cheese for lunch. 

  • 1 ½ cups warm water, 100-115 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced onion (dried)
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/3 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
In a large bowl, mix water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit five minutes, until foamy. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 1 ½ hours.
Divide the dough into two balls. Roll each ball out into a 10x8 inch rectangle. Roll up, starting at the 10-inch side. Pinch at seams and roll into a 16-18 inch “log”, tapering the ends. Let rise for 45-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Slash top of loaves every couple inches with a sharp knife. 
Optional: With a fork beat 1 egg white with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush onto the loaves to get a shiny-golden look.

Bake for 15 minutes.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sourdough Rolls

Yesterday, I made sourdough rolls for the first time. They turned out really fluffy inside and were a perfect "extra" to fill out last night's dinner. The paprika is added for color, but you can leave it out if you would like.

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups flour (I use whole wheat)

Mix all ingredients together in a medium-large bowl. Knead for 5 minutes. Let rise for 1 hour. Shape into 10-12 balls. Place on an oiled baking sheet. Let rise for 45-60 minutes. 15 minutes before rising time is over, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lemon Muffins With Honey-Citrus Buttercream

I decided to make these lemon muffins because we had lemon juice and my brother and I were talking about how anything made with lemon was a big treat for us when we lived on the farm. Being far away from stores and growing most of our own food (besides bulk grains), made lemons an exotic food! Sometimes, if our grandmother was sending a package, she would put lemons in it! 

  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar (I use brown, but that's just because we don't use granulated)
  • 4 eggs
  • ¾ cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Honey-Citrus Buttercream (recipe below)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease two muffin tins (each holding 12 muffins). In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and eggs. Mix in the lemon juice and zest. Stir in the remaining ingredients (except the frosting!) Spoon into greased muffin tins. If it doesn't quite fill all the muffin tins, put a few tablespoons of water into the empty tins so that they don't scorch. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Top with Honey-Citrus Buttercream, if desired.

Honey-Citrus Buttercream

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice or orange juice concentrate

Whip all ingredients together. Use in recipe.

"Blackberry Crisp" Granola

Blackberries were on sale this I decided to make something with blackberries. I wasn't exactly sure what to call this because it tastes like blackberry crisp but is kind of like granola because of the large amount of topping and served with milk. Whatever the name - we enjoyed it! :)

  • 2 cups oats
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup melted butter
  • 3 6-oz. Blackberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Wash blackberries and place into a 9x13 baking dish.

In a medium bowl, mix oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter. 

Sprinkle over blackberries. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with milk or yogurt.

Note: Because of the blackberries, it won't keep very long compared to normal granola. (I would use within 3-4 days of making) Also, it should be kept refrigerated.  

Monday, February 24, 2014

Three-Cheese & Garlic Sourdough Biscuits

This is a spin off on Cheddar Sourdough Biscuits, just extra cheesy!! They are best served hot out of the oven with the cheese still melted and you really nice and cheesy! Biscuits like these are the main reason I usually make the 24 hour sourdough starter.
I found a really good "traditional" sourdough starter recipe on King Arthur Flour's website that I've used before. It turned out very well and I was using it for a while. I would definitely make it again. If you've been looking for a good "traditional" sourdough starter recipe go for it! Also, I would mention that I made their recipe with whole wheat flour and it still turned out great! 
Now the yummy cheesy sourdough biscuits made with easy 24-hour sourdough starter...

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, place all ingredients except flour. Mix well. Stir in the flour. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut into rounds. Bake on flour-sprinkled baking sheets for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy hot out of the oven with butter!!  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Caraway Sourdough Bread

This bread is made with easy 24-hour sourdough starter. It has a crisp crust and a delicious aromatic soft but not dense inside. The loaves were sitting on the table this afternoon waiting for supper and got hacked away at! One loaf is around a third the way gone just from a few "test-tasters". (Yes, there always has to be an excuse) 

  • ½ cup warm water (100-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • ½ tablespoon yeast
  • 5 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds (optional, but I think they're really good in it)
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 2/3 cups flour

Pour sourdough starter into a large bowl. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Mix the water-yeast mixture into the sourdough starter. Add the butter, salt, sugar, caraway seeds, and paprika. Stir in the flour. Knead for 5-10 minutes. You may need to sprinkle the dough with a handful of flour halfway into the kneading time. 

Let the dough rise for 2 ½ hours. Divide the dough in half and shape into two loaves. Place the loaves into oiled bread pans. Let rise for an hour and a half. 

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until golden brown and sounds fairly hollow when tapped.  

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sourdough Pizza Crust

I'm pleased with how this sourdough pizza crust turned out. I added a teaspoon of yeast to give it a boost in rising, but I don't think it needed it. I'm still including the yeast in the recipe because it turned out well.  
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
In a large bowl, mix sourdough starter, olive oil and warm water. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Knead for five minutes. Let rise for 2 ½ to 3 hours.

After rising (the dough more than doubled for me)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Knead dough on a floured surface for a minute.

Divide dough into fourths. Roll out each ball of dough into a pizza crust. Bake for 10 minutes. 

Top with pizza sauce and desired toppings. I posted a pizza sauce recipe in this post. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until cheese melts and turns lightly golden.

Tonight we are serving this pizza with Cheesy Zucchini.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cheddar Sourdough Biscuits

These sourdough biscuits with cheddar, hot pepper, and garlic are really good served hot out of the oven with butter!

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 ½ cups cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour sourdough starter into a large bowl. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Roll out on a floured surface. Cut into rounds. Bake on flour-sprinkled baking sheets for 20 minutes. Enjoy hot with butter!!!
Note: This is a fairly large recipe - makes around 25 biscuits - so you might want to cut the recipe in half if you have a smaller family. 

24 Hour Sourdough Starter

When I was around twelve, I made this really often, in fact almost every day I was making a new recipe with it. This sourdough starter isn't exactly the same as the traditional sourdough, but it is still very good - easy and not intimidating! It can't be used in every sourdough recipe because it doesn't have enough yeast to completely rise bread, but bread can be made with it if a teaspoon or so of yeast is added. I would recommend using this only in recipes that I post (that call for this sourdough starter), because I made the recipe with this and know it'll work in the recipe. I plan to be posting sourdough recipes in the coming days.

  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 quart jar

Mix water and flour in the jar. Cover with a towel. Let sit for 24 hours. Stir once after 12 hours. That's it!
After 24 hours

After 24 hours

After using in a recipe, there are three options:
1. Add 1 ½ cups water and ¾ cup flour. Let sit for 24 hours. Then use in a recipe.
2. If you're not going to use it after 24 hours are over, you can go through step one and then place it in the fridge. The night before you want to use it, take out of the fridge and add a ¼ cup of flour and a ½ cup of water.
3. If you're not going to use it after 24 hours are over, just don't keep the starter going and make a new batch when you want it. (This is my recommendation) After all, you don't want a sourdough starter sitting in the back of your fridge for weeks and then just have to through it out when it gets too old.

Use in:
Three-Cheese & Garlic Sourdough Biscuits
Sourdough Rolls
Caraway Sourdough Bread
Sourdough Pizza Crust
Cheddar Sourdough Biscuits
And more recipes to come!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Cheesy Zucchini

Right after this came out of the broiler, it was swarming with "flies", that is, a bunch of my younger siblings were snitching piece after piece. My five year old sister said she (only) had nine pieces, besides eating her whole portion at the dinner table. This is seriously so much better than any other way we've had zucchini! 

  • zucchini
  • olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese
  • garlic powder
  • salt & pepper
Slice zucchini and place one-layer deep on a broiler-proof pan. (I use a jelly roll pan) Brush zucchini with olive oil. Lightly sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper on it. Sprinkle with Parmesan fairly generously. (or not so generously, if you so desire) Broil on medium broil for 5-10 minutes, until cheese is golden and zucchini is softened. Serve hot!

I shared this on some of my favorite blog hops

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake with Easy From-Scratch Chocolate Crust

The from-scratch chocolate crust is incredibly easy. I would go so far to say that it's easier than a graham cracker crust made with store-bought graham crackers! After all, five simple dry ingredients can be placed into a bowl faster than you can crush graham crackers. And as for the rest of the cheesecake - it's creamy and studded with chocolate chips! Who doesn't love chocolate?

  • 2 cream cheese, softened (let sit on counter for no more than 30 minutes)
  • ¾ cup sugar (I use brown)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cups chocolate chips
  • Chocolate crust (below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare crust. In a large bowl, cream sugar and cream cheese until smooth. (don't try to beat lots of air into it though) Add vanilla, eggs, flour, and salt. Mix until smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared crust and smooth top. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until firm but not browned. It can be a touch jiggly. Cool at room temperature for one hour. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. I like to make it the day before and chill overnight.

Easy Chocolate Crust
  • 2/3 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • dash salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup melted butter

Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in the butter. Press into a greased spring-form pan. Use in recipe.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Apple Breakfast Cookies (ABC cookies)

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 ½ cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder, salt, and flour. Stir in the apple. Shape into balls and roll in nuts. Bake on ungreased cookie sheets for 18-25 minutes. When you gently touch them, your fingerprint shouldn't show.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cranberry-Walnut Broccoli Salad

It's easy to eat lots of broccoli with this salad! 

  • 3 heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • dash salt

Mix mayonnaise, brown sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small bowl. In a medium serving bowl, mix the broccoli, cranberries, walnuts, and dressing. Serve!  

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Oven Fries

These baked potato fries are really easy, versatile, and tasty! Although they don't exactly taste the same as their deep-fried cousins, they are so much healthier and taste very good.  I like serving them with chicken pieces baked in homemade BBQ sauce.
On the homestead, we made these a lot with our homegrown Yukon Golds – those were probably the best potatoes I've ever had! Although we grew several types of potatoes, Yukon Golds were definitely our favorites. During potato harvest, we harvested boxes and boxes of potatoes. With so many potatoes and a fairly large family, we usually made ten to eleven pounds of potatoes into oven fries at a time! 
These baked fries also work well with red and russet potatoes.

  • Potatoes (washed)
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder (optional)
  • cayenne pepper (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut desired amount of potatoes into sticks. Place into jelly roll pans. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with desired seasonings. Mix, making sure that the potatoes get coated with olive oil. Roast for around one hour. They should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Baked Oatmeal

This baked oatmeal is so delicious and easy! It can be served warm or made ahead and served cold or at room temperature. We like baked oatmeal with applesauce and milk, but it is also great on its own. 

  • 3 cups oats
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped nuts
  • 8 oz. frozen blueberries
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix the first five ingredients together. Stir in the remaining ingredients and pour into a buttered 9x13 inch casserole pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

I doubled the recipe and still used one baking dish, but baked it for an hour.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Chocolate-Vanilla Marble Cake

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar (I use brown)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ cup cocoa
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. This handy pan (and it's twin) was a gift from my grandmother. I think it's such a good idea! No trying to get a stuck cake out with a spatula!  

In a large bowl, cream butter for 1 minute with a hand-held mixer. Add sugar and cream with butter for 1 minute. Mix in the vanilla and eggs on high speed for 1 minute. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Blend half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Add ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk and mix until smooth. Repeat, adding the rest of the flour and ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons milk. Mix for 1 minute.
Divide the dough into two bowls. To one bowl, mix in the cocoa and 2 tablespoons milk. Place dollops of both plain and chocolate batter into the pans. 

Swirl with a table knife. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cool.

Frost and garnish as desired. I made vanilla frosting and added cocoa to half of it. Then I marbled it when I put it on the cake. (using the same principle as in the cake)  

I shared this on some of my favorite blog hops