Gardening is something you learn by doing---and by making mistakes....
Like Cooking, Gardening is a constant process of experimentation, repeating the successes and throwing out the failures.
Carol Stocker

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

If you like sweet & sour, this is for you.  The meatballs are easy to frying! 

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
1 lb Hamburger
1/2 cup Oatmeal
1 Egg
Garlic Salt/Pepper to taste
Mix and shape into balls, place in 9x9 inch pan.  Bake at 350° F for 20 minutes.
 (I usually make 16 meatballs, increase cooking time for larger meatballs)

Meanwhile...make the sauce

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar
1 cup Brown Sugar
4 tsp Cornstarch
Put ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil then pour over meatballs and bake another 25-30 minutes

Serve with rice.

Meat mixture
Form into balls

Bring sauce to a boil
Sauce over meatballs

Out of the oven
Editors Note:

Mind the sauce as it starts to boil.  It will bubble up fast, take off the heat right away.........or you will end up doing this!

What the heck, it needed to be cleaned anyway!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blueberry Banana Bread

Not only do I have blueberries to use up, but I have some over ripe bananas.  Why not kill two birds with one stone?
I was out of Crisco, so I didn't make my regular banana bread.  This recipe is quite a bit different.... then I tweaked it even more.   Instead of Crisco, I used butter and apple sauce.

Blueberry Banana Bread
1 cup Frozen Blueberries
1 1/2 cup Flour, plus 1 tbs
1/2 cup Quick Oats
1/2 cup chopped Walnuts
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Butter, softened
1/4 cup Apple Sauce
1 cup White Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
1 tsp Vanilla
dash of cinnamon/nutmeg/cardamom if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F, grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a medium bowl add blueberries and 1 tbs flour, mix together until well dusted.  Add oats, the  rest of the flour, baking soda, salt, walnuts and gently mix.
In a large bowl cream the butter and applesauce. Gradually add the sugar, beat until will mixed.  Add one egg at a time, beating between the addition of each egg.  Stir in the mashed bananas and add vanilla.  At this time add spices if you like.
Add the blueberry mixture to the creamed mixture and gently stir until moistened.
Spoon the batter into loaf pan and bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Cool in pan for about 10 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on a wire wrack.

Blueberry mixture
Adding blueberries to batter

Ready for the oven
Cooling on wire wrack

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Ryan's Strawberry Banana Milkshake

My son has been asking and asking for a I put him to work.

Strawberry Banana Milkshake
Vanilla Ice Cream

Ryan just fills blender half full with ice cream, blends in fruit and adds more ice cream as needed until he gets the desired consistency.

Very tasty, he did good!  And now for the clean up...ugh.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I discovered hummus a couple months ago.  At first I thought it was absolutely horrible, but after trying a couple different brands I took a shine to it.  I eat it everyday as a snack with veggies & crackers, or I use it as a spread for sandwiches.
Hummus is a healthy snack that is diabetic friendly.  The main ingredient, chickpeas/garbanzo beans, are high in fiber and a good source of protein.
Basic Hummus
2 cans Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (reserves juice)
1 Tbs Tahini (optional)
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
Juice of 2 lemons (or more depending on how tangy you like it)
1Tbs Olive Oil
1Tbs Cayenne Pepper
1Tbs Paprika
Salt/garlic salt to taste

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender, blend until smooth.

There are so many varieties of hummus, you can experiment and add different things to suit your taste.  Some examples are roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, olives...anything you like.

Serve with veggies, crackers, pita chips or as a sandwich spread.

Great for snacking

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pork Chop Potato Bake

It's still casserole weather and we love casseroles!

Pork Chop Potato Bake

6 Pork Chops
1/2 cup Milk
1 24oz package Southern Style Hashbrowns, thawed
1 can Cream of Celery Soup
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup shredded Cheese, divided
1 28oz can French Fried Onions,divided

Brown chops and set aside (season with salt/pepper/garlic salt/Alpine Touch, whatever you like)
Combine milk, soup, sour cream.  Add potatoes, 1/2 cup cheese and 1/2 can onions.
Spoon mixture into a 9x13 pan and place browned pork chops on top.
Bake covered at 350°F for 40 minutes.
Top baked casserole with remaining cheese and onions.  Bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes.

Browning the Chops

Putting it together
Ready for Oven

All done

Peaches 'n Cream Pie

This is one of my all time favorites.  I first had this in high school during typing class....(yes, we should have been typing...... and yes, it was a long long time ago)

Peaches 'n Cream Pie

3/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 cup Instant Vanilla Pudding
1/3 cup Sugar
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
3 tbs Butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup Milk
1 16 oz can Sliced Peaches, reserve juice
1 8oz package Cream Cheese
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
3 tbs Reserved Juice
1 tbs Sugar
1/2 tsp Cinnamon

Combine first 9 ingredients, beat until smooth.  Pour into greased 9 inch pie plate.
Place drained peaches over the batter, keeping 1/2 to 1 inch from edge.
Mix cream cheese and next 3 ingredients, beat until smooth.  Spoon over the peaches.
Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over top of pie.
Bake 350°F, 30-40 minutes

Cool to room temperature, chill until served

Cream Cheese Mixture
With peaches
Ready for Oven

Hot out of the Oven

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kladdkaka (Sticky Cake) or Swedish Brownies

As my daughter says, "Some chocolate will make you feel better".  These brownies will really make you feel good!  They are super easy to make and it's just what you need to make you 'feel better' after a bad day.


2 Eggs
1 1/3 cups Sugar
1/2 cup Flour
dash of salt (1/8 tsp, mom)
1/2 cup Melted Butter
4 tbs Unsweetened Cocoa
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (or 1 Tbs Vanilla Sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F, Lightly grease a 8 or 9 inch round spring-form pan.

Beat together eggs and sugar.  Gradually add flour and salt to make the batter, set aside.
Melt butter, stir in cocoa and vanilla until mixed.
Add cocoa mixture to the batter, stirring well.
Pour batter into pan, bake at 350°F oven for 25-30 minutes, don't over cook.

Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, dusted with powdered sugar....or straight up. should be feeling better soon (as long as you can keep your family out of them!)
Mixing batter
Making cocoa mixture

Ready for the oven

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Blueberry Crisp

Blueberry fruit crisp is on of my favorites, so what a great way to use up those frozen berries!

Blueberry Crisp

Oat mixture

2 1/2 cups Rolled Oats (not instant)
1 cup Flour
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp Salt
1 cup cold butter

3 cups Fresh or Frozen Blueberries
1/2 cup Sugar
1/3 cup Orange Juice
4 Tbs Cornstarch with 2 tsp water 

Make filling first:
In sauce pan bring blueberries, sugar and orange juice to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, until blueberries are tender, stirring often.
Add the cornstarch/water mixture and cook for 1 minute longer, stirring constantly until thickened. 
Place berries in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap (directly on berries) and refrigerate for an hour until cooled.
Thickening the blueberries  
Oat mixture:
In a large bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, salt and cut in butter with a pastry knife until mixture is crumbly.
Press half of mixture into a greased 8 inch square baking dish: spread cooled blueberry filling on top, then top with remaining oat lightly.

Ready for the oven

Bake at 350 deg. for 45minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool before cutting.  Serve with ice cream or whip cream.  Enjoy with a nice hot cup of coffee!

Out of the oven

5 Hour Stew

This is a great easy recipe, my kids even like it.  Just throw it together and forget about it.  5 hours later you have a delicious meal. 

What you need:

6 Carrots, chunked
1 Large Onion, chunked
5 Medium Potatoes, chunked (I like to use red potatoes with the skin left on)
4 Stalks of Celery, chunked
2 Cans Stewed Tomatoes
1/2 Can Water
3 TBS Tapioca
1 TBS Sugar
Salt/Pepper/Garlic salt to taste
1/2 Cup Dried Bread Crumbs (if you like a thicker stew)
2 lbs Stew Meat, Browned

Add ingredients to a small roaster pan or dutch oven in the order listed.  Bake at 250 F for 4-5 hours.
No Peeking!

This can be done in a crock pot too, but I prefer the oven method.

Brown Meat
Ready for the oven

4 1/2 hrs Later.....

Right out of the Oven

Dig in!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Should I Plant A Garden?

It's funny how at the end of the growing season I'm drained....tired of watering, picking, worrying about hail, chasing off grasshoppers and I start letting the weeds have their way.  I wonder if having a garden is worth the work.  I ask myself, "Should I even plant a garden next year?"

I get melancholy as fall creeps in and I watch my garden slowly wither away with every frost.....time to plow it under...."Should I even plant a garden next year?"

Now, Old Man Winter has dropped by for a lengthy stay.  It seems his visits are getting longer and colder.  It's been an unusually hard winter for us Zone 4 planters.  I've been looking at the blanket of snow covering what used to be a thriving metropolis of veggies and I remember, "Hmmmmm, the peas did real well along that west fence last year.  But, should I even plant a garden next year?"

As I look back, my tomatoes were plentiful and hearty...until the hail hit.  I hate thinning carrots, which wasn't a problem because the wind blew most the seeds away.  The garden spiders were thick as thieves; how I hated to disturb her lair just to pick a zucchini....she may follow me into the house and seek out here revenge...eeeeek!  The grasshoppers killed my potato plants; I only got 5 potatoes out of the whole bunch.  "Should I even plant a garden next year?"

But then I recall how well my radishes did....and my peas, how they thrived it that cool spring weather.  My's March and we are still eating those sweet onions.  I had more beans than I could give away, and how delicious was that swiss chard!  How could I forget about my sweet, they tasted like I fertilized them with sugar.

Now that I think about it, yes...all the labor was worth it.  How could I NOT plant a garden?  I think I'll expand!  Now, where did I put that garden planner?

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Hi, this is my first attempt at a blog, so it is a work in progress.  I will be writing about my garden, cooking adventures and lots of other fun stuff.  Like my garden so far, this blog is just the bare bones...I hope to bring exciting things in soon!


Cutting Silage at Berry Creek