Thursday, July 14, 2016

Picnic Foods

What a fun venue for a picnic.  The kids enjoyed Chutes and Ladders park, and the adults enjoyed some yummy picnic foods!

Cucumber Tomato Avocado Salad 
(borrowed from Natasha's Kitchen:

It tastes better than it looks!  :)


  • 1 lb Roma tomatoes
  • 1 English cucumber
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 2 Tbsp extra
    virgin olive oil or sunflower oil
  • Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • ¼ cup (1/2 bunch) cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt or ¾ tsp table salt
  • ⅛ tsp black pepper


  1. Place chopped tomatoes, sliced cucumber, sliced red onion, diced avocado, and chopped cilantro into a large salad bowl.
  2. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp olive oil and 2 Tbsp lemon juice. Toss gently to combine. Just before serving, toss with 1 tsp sea salt and ⅛ tsp black pepper.


*Note: if you aren't keen on cilantro, fresh dill is a good substitute

Cucumber Salad 
  • 2 medium sized cucumbers
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • A dash of ground black pepper
  • 1 small red onion, sliced (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
  1. Wash the cucumber and pat dry.
  2. Thinly slice the cucumber crosswise. I prefer to use a vegetable peeler for this step so that I can get the thinnest slice possible. You may also use a knife if you prefer thicker slices. I did not peel the skin off but you may do so if preferred.
  3. Combine salt, ground black pepper, sugar, and vinegar then mix well. (You may also include the cucumber right away then mix everything together as shown in the photo)
  4. Put-in the sliced cucumber and onion. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
  5. Serve. Share and Enjoy.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Kitchen Hacks & a few other goodies

Best kitchen hacks

  • Micro fiber drying pads, used as dish drainers, dry quickly.
  • Slow cooker liners save on cleanup.
  • Shower caps from hotel rooms are free and make great dish covers.
  • Keep plastic wrap in the fridge to make it easier to handle.
  • Spray pans in sink for easier cleanup.
  • Place mixing bowls in sink to avoid splatters when mixing.
  • Bake chicken in parchment paper to keep it moist.
  • Roll dough on silicon mat to prevent sticking.
  • Place a piece of bubble wrap under a stemless blossom to float it in a bowl of water.
  • After washing, store lettuce in container with paper towels to absorb moisture and keep lettuce fresh longer.
  • Microwave vinegar and water for a few minutes, then let condensation soften the splatters before wiping clean.
  • Cut fresh herbs with a pizza cutter.
  • Slice cinnamon roll dough quickly with dental floss. After filling and rolling dough into log, place dental floss under the dough, wrap around log, cross on top, and pull ends in opposite directions.
  • When measuring sticky substances, such as peanut butter, honey, or molasses, spray the measuring cup with cooking spray, and item you are measuring will not stick to the sides.
Cornbread Salad

Prepare, cool, and crumble:
1 16-oz. pkg. cornbread mix

Cook, drain, and crumble:
10 slices bacon

Wisk together:
1 1-oz. pkg. cornbread mix
1½ c. sour cream
1½ c. mayonnaise

Rinse and drain:
2 cans pinto beans

3 tomatoes, chopped
1 c. chopped green onion
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
2 11-oz. cans corn, drained

Layer in large serving bowl:
½ cornbread
½ beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, cheese, bacon, corn, dressing

Repeat layers.
Garnish as desired
Cover and chill 2-3 hours before serving.

Lemon Cornmeal Cake

Whisk together in medium bowl:
2½ c. flour
½ c. yellow cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
½ t. baking soda
½ t. salt

In large bowl, beat till light and fluffy:
1 c. butter, softened
1¾ c. sugar
1 T. grated lemon zest
¼ c. lemon juice

Beat in one at a time till well blended:
4 large eggs

With mixer on low, alternately add flour mixture and yogurt till smooth:
1 c. buttermilk, or plain yogurt, stirred to loosen

Pour into well-greased Bundt pan and level top with spatula.

Bake 55 to 65 minutes till pick comes out clean.

Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Brush top with glaze. Invert onto wire rack.

Sugar Glaze

Whisk just till combined:
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. lemon juice

Brush glaze all over hot cake. Cool completely. Rest for several hours or overnight before
serving. Store covered at room temperature up to 4 days.


6 c. whole oats
3 c. finely chopped almonds (use a food processor or blender)
½ c. flax, ground
½ c. wheat germ
1 c. coconut
1/4 c. sesame seeds
½ T. cinnamon

Melt in microwave:
1 c. honey
1/3 c. brown sugar
4 T. butter
2 t. vanilla

Combine. Spread on 2 cookie sheets and cook at 300 o for 13 minutes. Stir and cook 12 more

Wild Rice Porridge

Combine and cook about 5 minutes over medium heat:
3-4 c. cooked wild rice (3/4 to 1 c. raw)
¼ c. maple syrup
¼ c. craisins
¼ c. dried blueberries
1 ¼ c. half and half
½ c. slivered almonds
1/8 t. maple extract
2 T. brown sugar
¼ t. cardamom
1 t. cinnamon

Peanut Butter Candy

Melt (or soften):
½ c. butter
1 c. creamy peanut butter

Add and stir until creamy:
1¼ c. powdered sugar

In a ziplock bag, crush lightly with rolling pin and add, mixing with hands:
3 c. Rice Krispies

Instead of spraying, coat the bottom of an 8x10” pan with:
Powdered sugar
Press mixture into pan.

Melt and pour over mixture:
6 oz. almond bark or milk chocolate chips

Let the chocolate harden, cut, and serve.
To double recipe, use a 9x13” pan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Appealing Appetizers

Restaurant Style Artichoke & Spinach Dip


  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (10 ounce) container Alfredo-style pasta sauce

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Place garlic in a small baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 20 to 30 minutes, until soft. Remove from heat. When cool enough to touch, squeeze softened garlic from skins.
  3. In an 8x8 inch baking dish, spread the roasted garlic, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo-style pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until cheeses are melted and bubbly. Serve warm with tortilla chips.

Savory Soups

Corn Chowder - by Shauna

Boil 10 minutes:
  2 c. water
  1½ t. salt
  ¼ t. pepper
  2 c. potatoes (2 medium), peeled & diced
  1 c. carrots (2-3), diced
  ½ c. celery (3 ribs), diced
  ¼ c. onion, chopped fine
Melt in separate pan:
  ¼ c. butter
Add and mix well:
  ¼ c. flour
Add, mix, and stir till thickened:
  1½ c. milk
Add, mix, and stir till melted:
  ¼ c. parmesan cheese
  3 c. frozen corn
Add sauce to vegetables.

Pumpkin Curry Soup - by April
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups canned pumpkin
4 cups water
6 chicken bouillon cubes
3 chicken breasts, seasoned, cooked, & cubed
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon curry
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups half & half
2-3 cups cooked rice

Melt butter in sauté pan. Sauté onion and garlic in melted butter. Add everything but half-and-half and cooked rice. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add half and half and rice and simmer for 5 minutes.

Friday, February 26, 2016


A guy walks into the doctor's office. A banana stuck in one of his ears, a head of lettuce in the other ear, and a carrot stuck in one nostril. The man says, "Doc, this is terrible. What's wrong with me?" The doctor says, "Well, first of all, you need to eat more sensibly." 

There was lots of sensible eating at today's Recipe Swap.

 'Lettuce' share some of these great dishes with you.

Edamame & Sweet Corn Salad by Marnell

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
  • 12-oz. package frozen shelled edamame
  • 2 cups frozen super sweet corn kernels
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and cubed


  1. In a large bowl, combine the red wine vinegar, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, salt, pepper, and garlic. Set aside.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the edamame and boil for 3 minutes. Add corn to the boiling water and continue cooking for 1 minute. Drain well and pour into the bowl with the dressing. Gently mix in the cherry tomatoes and onion. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Add avocado just before serving.

Spinach Salad by Cyndi

1 bag spinach
1 bunch romaine lettuce
1/2-3/4 lb grated Swiss cheese
1 cup cottage cheese
1/2 lb crumbled bacon (I use about 1 cup from the bag from Costco and put it in a frying pan for a few minutes to make it crisp)

(can add 3/4 lb mushrooms or 1 purple onion cut into rings, but I like it better without)

1 tsp dry mustard
1/2 c sugar
1 t salt
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 t poppy seeds
1 T oil (just for coating purposes)


Spinach, Chicken, & Feta Salad by April

4 T olive oil
2 medium red peppers, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
1.5 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips
1 t salt
3 T white wine vinegar
1 t sugar
1/2 t coarsely ground black pepper
12 ounces spinach, tough stems removed
1/4 lb feta cheese

  1. in 12-inch skillet, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat.  Add red and yellow peppers and cook until tender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  With slotted spoon, transfer pepper strips to large bowl.
  2. Add chicken and 1/2 t salt and cook until chicken is lightly browned and loses its pink color, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently.  With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to bowl with peppers.
  3. Remove skillet from heat.  Add vinegar, sugar, black pepper, remaining 1 T oil, and remaining 1/2 t salt, stirring to loosen brown bits from bottom of skillet.
  4. Add spinach and vinegar mixture to bowl with chicken; gently toss to mix.  Finely crumble feta onto salad.  Makes 4 main-dish servings.

We also had a dish dubbed "chocolate salad" a.k.a. brownies.

Mike’s Brownies by Sonja

1 cup butter                                                     
2 cups sugar                                         
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup + 3 T cocoa powder
1 tsp salt
1-1½ cups dark chocolate chips 

Mix. Bake in 9x13 pan at 350 degrees for 22-25 minutes.

Southwest Chicken Chop Salad by Tricia

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 cups diced rotisserie chicken
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup black beans
  • 1 cup sweet yellow corn {canned or frozen and defrosted}
  • 2 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 scallions, washed and sliced {white and green parts}
  • 1 large romaine heart, washed and chopped
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 just under ripe avocados, diced
  • 2 cups crushed tortilla chips
  • for the dressing-
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tablespoon ranch seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 tablespoon lime juice {optional}
  • salt & pepper, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, stir all salad ingredients together, excluding the tortilla chips and avocado. In a small bowl, stir all dressing ingredients together until smooth. When ready to serve, toss salad with dressing then gently stir in avocado and tortilla chips.

Lauren's Won Ton Salad by Dana 
(this was typed up by my mother and she doesn't always give the greatest directions, lol)

1 head lettuce
1 bunch green onions
1 cucumber
Red, seedless grapes
Frozen peas, thawed
Won ton wraps (found in veggie section)
3 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (pepper generously before adding to salad)

Cut up veggies, halve grapes (leave peas as they are) and prepare in large bowl along with the shredded chicken. Cut won ton wraps into halves or thirds, Fry in any type of oil for a couple of seconds on each side (they cook really fast). Add into individual salad bowls to prevent being soggy.


3/4 c. canola oil
3/4 c. vinegar
3/4 c. sugar
1 T. olive oil
1 T. black pepper
1 T. salt
1 1/2 t. Accent seasoning

Place in container and shake until dressing is consistent. Shake well each time before putting on salad.

Here are pictures of some other delicious salads that we got to sample.  (I'll add recipes as they are sent to me).