Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas "Cinnamon" Rolls

I used to make cinnamon rolls every Christmas that were so full of fruit filling they oozed across the plate.  Those long ago rolls had shredded apple, raisins, chopped nuts, and whatever else I had on hand that year.  They also depended on white sugar, real butter, whole milk, and at least half white flour. The basic recipe that I follow (king of) for method and basic ratios is from Culinary Arts Institute Encyclopedic Cookbook  (page 154 in current edition if Google books is correct.)

This year I made a few changes.  I can't have apples, milk, butter, or cinnamon any more.  So those things were out automatically.  I've grown to like the richer flavor of brown sugar so I use it when ever I can. Scratch white sugar.

I miscalculated a bit when I slowed down the final rising in the refrigerator.  So they weren't quite ready for first breakfast on Christmas morning.  We took them with us to the daughter's in laws for second breakfast and they were a big hit.  Only enough leftover for boxing day breakfast.  That's two dozen largish rolls gone down seven adults and 2 children in two days.

The really great change is that now I have a mixer that can do dough.  Now I don't knead the dough by hand or break my arm beating the first stage batter.  This looks like more work than it is.

2012 Christmas Rolls

1 tablespoon active dry yeast (1 package)
2 cups Almond milk, divided
3 tablespoons molasses
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups +/- whole wheat flour, divided
1/2 cup parve (dairy free) margarine
2 eggs, slightly beaten

In a glass quart measuring cup, measure 1 cup almond milk add the margarine and microwave 1 - 3 minutes on high until margarine is melted.   (you could skip this and just melt the margarine and warn the milk to lukewarm.)  Add more almond milk to the 2 1/2 cup line. The mixture in the cup should now be lukewarm and the margarine melted.

Measure (ha!) 3 cups flour and all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add all of the milk and margarine.  Attach dough hook and mix until hook leaves "tracks".  You may need to scrape the bowl once or twice.  Scrape the bowl.  Cover the bowl with a clean towel or plastic wrap and go away for at least 45 minutes.

Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time.  If dough is still very sticky add more flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is barely moist.  Dough should be slightly sticky by not loose.  Beat until dough climbs the hook.

Remove from mixer.  Cover and let rise for about an hour.

Prepare a 13 X 9 pan or a 1/2 sheet pan depending on whether you want sticky buns or not.  For sticky buns you need to melt 1/4 cup margarine in a 13 X 9 baking pan then add about 3/4 cup brown sugar and spread evenly across the bottom of the pan.  For regular rolls line a baking sheet with parchment or a slipat or grease/spray the sheet.

Depending on the size of your working surface you may want to divide the dough into two or three pieces.  Roll out on a floured board/pastry sheet to 1/4 inch thick or less.  You want a nice rectangular shape.  Even sides make rolling easier, but there's no need to get totally anal about it.

1/2 cup softened parve margarine for base.

1 cup Brown sugar
2 teaspoons Allspice
1 teaspoon  Ginger
1/2 teaspoon Cloves
1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Cardamon
Mix well

1 cup brown sugar
zest of Orange, lemon, or lime enough cover the dough one layer

raisins or other dried fruit (chop larger fruits into raisin sized pieces), enough to cover dough
chopped nuts, enough to cover dough

To fill the rolls:
Spread the rolled out dough with softened margarine.  Take your time and carefully cover the dough evenly with margarine.  It takes a light stroke and patience to not tear holes in the dough but if you do tear a hole just pinch it together and go on..  Some people use their hand for this step.  I used a fork in 2012 and an offset spatula in the past.

Next sprinkle on the sugar with or without spices.  Again try for an even layer.  If you're adding fruit or nuts now is the time to sprinkle them evenly over the dough.  I zest with a microplane right over the dough, but you might want to try sprinkling your zest if you're making citrus rolls.  Once you have all the fillings you want  to use evenly spread over the dough it's time to roll.

Decide if you want fat rolls or skinny rolls.  For fat rolls start rolling up one of the short sides of the rectangle and roll fairly tightly until you get to the other side.  This may mean that you are try to roll sideways since most times the long sides are parallel to the table edge.  This eHow shows how to roll the dough.  I usually make skinny rolls.  I use my fingers to measure the size of the rolls.  three fingers wide for sticky buns, two fingers for regular rolls.  I use my Dough Knife to cut the rolls, but I have used a regular knife, plain dental floss, or heavy thread to cut them in the past.  After cutting, place rolls a cut side down in prepared pan.  Spray with butter flavored oil or gently brush with melted margarine.  Cover and let rise.

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Bake 25 to 30 minutes.

Sticky buns must be inverted within 5 minutes watch out for drips.  Remove pan before "sticky" cools.

Cool rolls for a few minutes.  Hot sugar can cause serious burns!

Eat and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Thank you, Chocolate Covered Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is a blogger after my own heart.  She just remembers to photograph everything before she eats it.  (I almost always forget to take pictures.)

During Halloween I found her recipe for Copycat peanut butter eggs.  They were way too easy and way too delicious. I used natural chunky peanut butter, real powdered sugar, dutch processed cocoa,  coconut oil and maple syrup. (I didn't use salt.)  The recipe must be small to avoid over indulging. I doubled it the first time.  Katie said to keep these in the freezer but I found the refrigerator works fine for keeping the coating solid.

The grandsons and I enjoyed the peanut butter and chocolatey goodness.  There was some coating/dip left over so I grabbed some graham crackers and dipped those in the left over chocolate sauce.  They were better than those store bought chocolate coated graham crackers!

At the beginning of December I made a batch of just the chocolate sauce using 1/2 cup each cocoa , coconut oil, and maple syrup.  Then I dipped mini marshmallows, raisins, and chocolate graham crackers.  I needed a bit more patience with all those small items because they clumped up, but they were so good.  Daughter and son-in-law ate a bunch of these.

Christmas Eve I made the original recipe again a quadruple batch this time.  I used a plastic "shot glass" as a mold and got some shapes that resemble mini peanut butter cup.  I dipped chocolate graham crackers in the leftover coating and sprinkled some crushed starlight mints on those.   Everything is in the freezer now.  I'll pack it into containers for the fridge in the morning.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ribbed Brim Hat (Crochet pattern)

I wrote this pattern in 2010.  Our oldest daughter made a hat from it.   I used Lion Wool Ease Thick and Quick.  Daughter used Red Heart Super Saver.

Increasing every other round makes the cap fit better and not "ride up".   The reverse single crochet edge gives a very finished look.

As always, if you try my pattern (or recipe) and have a comment please post it.

Ribbed Brim Hat
Crochet hook US size K-P hook
Worsted-Bulky weight yarn
No gauge-Fit is by individual measure

Starting Round: Chain 2; 8 sc in 2nd chain from from hook; join with slst(8 sc)
Increase Rounds: ch 2, hdc in 1st sc:: 2 hdc in next 7 sc :: join with slst to top of ch 2. (16 hdc ch2 counts as hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (24 hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next 2 hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (32hdc)
ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next 3 hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2. (40 hdc)


Body Rounds:  Work one round even- Ch2, 1 hdc in every hdc, join with slst to top of ch 2.
work next round as an increase round: ch2, hdc in top of chain the previous round; hdc in the next hdc :: 2 hdc in next hdc, 1 hdc in next "x" hdc around:: join with slst to top of ch 2.
Stop working increase rounds when hat fits comfortably around head.
Work even until hat is long enough to cover ears.

Ribbing: Ch3, dc in each hdc around, join wth slst to top of ch 3.
two post rounds: ch2, ::fpdc, bpdc :: join with slst to top of ch 2, twice.

Finishing edge: ch 1, reverse sc around.

"Blitz" wearing my hat.
Bind off, weave in tails.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cat's Paw Scarf (Knit pattern)

I'm writing my first knitting pattern.  Definitely a work in progress.  

I got the lace stitch pattern from The Knitter's Bible Stitch Library by Claire Crompton, (David & Charles 2010).   Try it and tell me if I got it completely wrong or only slightly off.

I will update this as I work through the project and find my errors.

Cat's Paw Scarf

Lace inserts shaped like cat's paws climb this scarf. The two panels are not even. I offset the start by two rows for a “walking” effect. 


Worsted weight yarn, 1 skein or more depending on length
Knitting needles (10 mm US 15 or size of your choice)
Stitch makers (4)  Optional, but I find it really helps to remind me where the Pattern is.

Stitches used:

Knit – K, k
Purl – P, p
Knit two stitches together – K2tog, k2t
Slip, slip, knit – SSK, ssk
Yarn over – YO, yo
Slip, Knit two together, Pass over – SK2PO, sk2po
Cast on 36 using cable or knitted cast on.
Row 1. *K2, P2* repeat * *
Row 2 Through Row 8. Repeat row 1.
Row 9. Knit
Row 10. Purl
Row 11. Knit
Row 12. (Foundation Row) P5, place marker, k3, k2t, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3, place marker, p4, k11, p5
Start repeat: (suggest running lifeline here and after every repeat)
Row 13. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 14. P5, k2, k2t, yo, k3,yo, ssk, k2, p4, k3, k2t, yo, k1,yo, ssk, k3, p5
Row 15. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 16 P5, k4, yo, sk2po, yo, k4, p4, k2, k2t, yo, k3,yo, ssk, k2, P5
Row 17.K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 18. P5, K11, P4, k4, yo, sk2po, yo, k4, p5
Row 19. K5, p11, k4, p11, k5
Row 20. P5, k3, k2t, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k3,, p4, k11, p5
End repeat:
Repeat rows 13 – 20 to desired length..Ending on row 19
Finishing Rows: (reverse of first 11 rows)
Row 22. Knit
Row 23 purl
Row 24 knit
Row 25 through row 33 * k2 p2 *
Bind off , weave in ends.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Dairy Free is a Pain

Son-in-law is making a lovely roast beast.  I wanted a different horseradish sauce to go with it so I started searching.

Recipe # 1 had - Sour cream
Recipe # 2 had - Sour cream
Recipe # 3 had - Evaporated milk
Recipe # 4 had - Sour cream
Recipe # 5 had - Yogurt
Recipe # 6 had - Sour Cream

See the pattern?  Most of them also had less than a tablespoon (15 ml) of horseradish in a pint (2 cups, 473 ml) of finished sauce.  I usually use 1 tablespoon (15 ml) per 1/4 cup (59 ml) sauce or about  1/2  cup  per pint.  (My basic horseradish sauce is in this post)

We have decided to go "soy free" so making or buying my usual fake sour cream, evaporated milk, or yogurt just to test the recipes is out.  The best scratch recipes for soy-free vegan sour cream use another ingredient I react badly to.  I need a degree in comparative vinegar!

We also don't like the new coconut milk products.  That 's the next suggested substitute - coconut milk cultured yogurt, drained and mixed with lemon juice.  I've done that with silken tofu and back in the before allergies ruled my diet I did this with dairy yogurt..  It works for cooking with and for making some dips.

What it comes down to is that I've got to experiment and make my own my mustard - horseradish  sauce because the rest of the world doesn't have the same allergies or tastes that I do.  IF it turns out yummy, I'll post it.


I made a sauce that was very yummy.  Measurements are approximate.

1/4 cup +/- Mayonnaise
2 tablespoons +/-  Stone Ground Mustard
1 tablespoon +/-  prepared horseradish

Mix well.  Serve with beef or pork.  It is a bit overpowering for poultry

Thursday, August 9, 2012


As mentioned daughter wanted me to turn beef bottom round roast into burgers.  That cut of meat was LEAN  it needed fat.  A lot of fat.  Burgers, bacon.  Why not use bacon for the fat in the burger?  The results were beyond yummy.

I used the meat grinder on my 6 quart Kitchen Aid mixer.  It was almost too easy.

2-2 3/4 pounds lean beef bottom round  (very cold to partially frozen)
1 pound cheap pork bacon, frozen

Cut the beef into chunks small enough to fit into the grinder.  grind on coarse.
Cut the FROZEN bacon in half, then cut each half into strips that will fit into the grinder.  Grind on fine.
(optional step: regrind the beef on fine)
Mix the beef and bacon thoroughly.
Let chill out for 8 hours.
Form into patties.

These had a marvelous bacony flavor and were moist even when very well done.

Beef it's what's for dinner and lunch and breakfast and leftovers.

So, daughter and I went shopping.  That is an event in itself. I rarely leave the house and son-in-law usually does the shopping.

We found a very nice reduced price bottom round roast about 5 pounds of meat that would have to eaten or frozen in two days.  I looked at it and said, "Fajitas!"  She asked "Can we make burgers?"  We did both.

Beef Fajitas:
10 - 12 flour tortillas (8 inch "Homestyle"/soft taco)

20 ounces beef sliced into thin strips (I sliced 1/2 inch thick slabs off the above mentioned roast and partially froze them before slicing into strips about 1/8 inch wide and 3 - 4 inches long.)
juice of 1 lime, 3 tablespoons Worcestershire (or soy) sauce,  2 -6 shakes of hot sauce (we like Tapatio), 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
mix together and pour over meat in glass container or plastic bag.
4 Bell Peppers , sliced thinly (We used 2 red and 2 green)
1  Onion , slivered
2 Celery ribs, sliced thinly
2-4 garlic cloves, minced
(except for the garlic the vegetables should be about the same length and width as the meat strips)

Over medium high to high heat in large heavy pan heat a bit of oil to just below smoking. (We used a wok but any large heavy pan that can take medium high to high heat will do.)
Add meat with marinade.  Stir fry until meat is browned.  Add vegetables except garlic.  when vegetables start to wilt add garlic. (Adding the garlic earlier may result in burned garlic.)  Turn down the heat and keep stir frying until the vegetables are done enough for you.
Meanwhile warm up the tortillas using the package directions or just heat a dry skillet to medium and lay one tortilla at a time in the hot  pan for a few seconds, flip it over for few more seconds, and repeat until the tortilla is warm and soft.

Serve:  1 warm tortilla with a heap of meat and veg.  It doesn't need cheese, salsa, sour cream, avocado, or anything else.  Sides are built in.

Leftovers are great as omelet filling for breakfast the next day.
Burgers next post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green Chile Chicken Daiyalada Pie

This is a stand by recipe now.  The chicken can be prepped a day or two before just save the poaching liquid separately.  We like the flavor we get from cheap Mexican beer, but chicken broth works fine for poaching.  Make extra chicken and have tacos or chicken salad with flair.

As always, this recipe works with real cheese.

Green Chile Chicken Daiyalada Pie

Layers of corn tortillas, non-dairy cheese, seasoned shredded chicken, and green chile enchilada sauce


  • 1 - 1 1/2 pounds chicken breast boneless skinless
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seed
  • 1/4 tbsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2  large onion, sliced
  • 6 fl oz mexican beer
  • 1 28 ounce can  green chile enchilada sauce (we like Las  Palmas brand available at
  • 1 serving cooking spray
  • 1 cup chopped onions finely minced
  • 2 8 ounce packages Daiya shreds (we like mix of cheddar and mozzarella [Edit: 05/13/2013- Pepperjack is very good in this recipe!])
  • 24 corn tortillas


  1. In a large, heavy skillet heat oil over Medium high heat. Add cumin seed, chicken and onion slices. Sprinkle with black pepper. Reduce heat to medium.
  2. When chicken is "white" around the edges turn it over and add the whole garlic cloves. Cook another few minutes until that side is no longer pink. Add beer, bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook at least 20 minutes.
  3. Remove chicken to a shallow bowl or plate and chill.
  4. Bring remaining liquid to a boil and scrape skillet to gather all the flavors. Mash the onion and garlic into the sauce. Reduce the liquid by about half of the original 6 ounces. Add the entire 28 ounce can of enchilada sauce to the skillet and remove from the heat.
  5. Spray a 13 X 9 baking dish/pan with cooking spray. Shred the Chicken using two forks or your fingers. Pre-heat oven to 350 F
  6. Layers start with about 1/3 cup of sauce in the bottom of the pan. then 6 tortillas, "cheese", onions, chicken, another 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sauce. Finishing with 1 cup or more sauce spooned carefully around all the edges and over the top so that there are no dry spaces and topped with cheese. (all the chicken and onion should be inside) Staggering the gaps by breaking tortillas in half while sill only using 6 per layer is a good idea.
  7. Cover with foil.
  8. Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes until the center reaches 145 F.

  • We ran out of Cumin seed so I added 1 teaspoon of ground cumin with the garlic. It was a bit less smoky but still good. 
  • I've also added coriander, oregano, and/or dried chili flake (red pepper) with the garlic.  .  Usually just a 1/2 teaspoon to 1 1/2 teaspoons. 
  • A blender, stick or jar,  can be useful to combine that poaching liquid with enchilada sauce.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Brown Rice Dressing (No Fat Added)

This is dressing not stuffing.  You don't put it in the bird you make it on the stove top to go along side the bird.  Once you get the veggies chopped you are done.

Brown Rice Dressing (No Fat Added)an easy dressing for pork, chicken, or turkey.


    • cups chicken broth

  • 1 tbsp leaves dry basil
  • 1 1/2 tsps marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsps dried rosemary
  • 1 tbsp ground sage
  • 1 1/2 cups, dry,  brown rice 
  • medium bell pepper 
  • stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion


  1. Chop vegetables, crush garlic.
  2. In large pan with cover bring chicken stock to low boil.  Add rice and spices stir well bring back to a boil.
  3. Add vegetables, cover.  Reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Cook on low simmer for 40 - 45 minutes until rice is tender.  Fluff with a fork.

Be careful not to overcook the rice.

Almost Instant Noodle Soup

This recipe is one that I've used over the years to make a quick lunch, snack, or dinner.  The trick is to cook the pasta most of the way before adding the rest of ingredients.  Use spirals, penne, fussilli, shells, or elbow macaroni for the pasta.  Don't use long thin noodles they don't microwave well.

Great way to use small amounts of leftovers. Use any flavor bouillon. Meat should be pre-cooked and vegetables room temperature.


  • 1 serving instant bouillon (1 teaspoon or 1 cube)
  • 2 ounces whole wheat spirals (or any small hearty pasta)
  • 2 ounces cooked chicken breasts (or any lean meat)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli (or any seasonal veggies)
  • cups water


  1. Weigh pasta and place in 1 quart microwave safe bowl. Cover with water. Add bouillon, crushed garlic, and pepper. Stir.
  2. Microwave on high for 6 minutes. While dicing or shredding cooked chicken.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients. Microwave an additional 2 minutes or until desired doneness.
  4. Adjust seasonings. (Salt and pepper-hot sauce) Enjoy
 Try leftover roast beef with onions, carrots, and celery  add a mushroom  if you have one for a beefy noodle soup.  Whole wheat elbows and beef bouillon would make it hearty.

Go vegetarian by using a one-half cup of beans drained and rinsed from a can.  Any cut up vegetables will go well with beans.  Use vegetable bouillon and choose a pasta that goes with your bean - whole wheat with white beans, a white pasta with black beans.  Season with a bit more hot sauce since beans tend to bland.

Life, the multiverse, and nothing.

So I've been dealing with the winter blahs.  February really is the longest month and then they throw that extra day  in every four years just to torture us .  The sun is starting to come closer and now the wind is roaring.  No wonder I'm up all night playing games on Facebook and watching my stories on the DVR.

For those of you who came in late, I despise the wind.  I know it's a mental block but the sound drives me crazy.  My nerves just rub raw and keep watching for something to come flying through a window.  My jaw will be so tight that I swear I can hear my teeth crack.  The changes in air pressure, the increased sediment in the air, and the noise don't help my sinuses and ears.  Wind is a way of life here and one more thing to just get over and life past.

Most of the winter I've been here in this room.  I went out for Christmas and a couple doctor visits, but otherwise I've been right here in this recliner or the bed.  Daughter says "Mom, why don't you do this or that?"  I go out to the room where this or that is and this or that is buried under clean laundry or this or that is shoved back in corner where a mountain climber couldn't get to it.  Daughter asks why I didn't do this or that and I tell her.  She rolls her eyes and walks away.  I do hear her talking to Son-in-law about how this or that needs to out where we can use it.  This or that is still pushed in the corner and covered in clothes two months later.

I do want to collect all my recipes from their various locations across the web and bring them all here.  I need to get that done soon because I may not have access to some sites much longer.  I want to make Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup again.  I just want to cook again.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Slumgullion (Hobo or camp stew)

Slumgullion - it's such a fun word.  When I was a child it described any concoction that used leftovers, canned goods, and whatever came out of garden mixed in one big pot so there would be enough for everybody.  I still use the term for a thick hearty no so beany soup that's fast and easy.

Like almost all soups Slumgullion starts with chopped onions and garlic.  After that it depends on what's leftover and what's in season.  You need a starch, vegetables, and some protein.  You use beans so you need less starch and less protein.  Certain fresh vegetables, like green peas, are fragile and should go in only minutes before serving to keep their flavor and texture.  Pastas can be boiled separately and added at serving time or added late in the cooking to prevent mushiness.

When using rice I like to add it first so that it gets toasted a bit first.  I don't know how well this works with white rice since I haven't used anything but brown or wild rice in years.  I do know that it shortens the cooking time a bit for brown rice and improves the flavor.

Since canned soup and canned beans are often the base of this soup season lightly.  Salt usually doesn't need to be added.  Hot sauce, lime juice, fresh cilantro and other boosters can be added by the diners.

Basic Slumgullion:
1 large onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic finely chopped
(2 ribs celery, chopped )
(1 bell pepper, diced)
1 cup (brown) rice
2 10 oz. cans cream of tomato soup + 3 cans water  (pick any flavor cream soup for other ingredients)
2  15 oz cans  Nalley Original Chili with Beans (Our personal favorite brand - you can use your favorite or just plain beans or Chili flavored beans)
1 14 oz bag C & W Ultimate Southwest Blend (Our favorite brand - use your favorite blend)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil

In 8 quart pot that has a lid, heat oil over medium high heat add  rice stir to coat with oil.  Add the fresh chopped vegetables and stir, fry, sweat, just until the onion is a bit limp.  Dump in everything else stir well bring to a boil.  COVER! Reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until rice is done - 15 minutes white rice, 30 - 45 minutes brown rice.
about 8  1 cup servings -using the (vegetables) will increase the yield.

replace the rice with 8 oz small pasta - not spaghetti or linguine. do not fry add to boiling soup serve when pasta is al dente about 10 minutes.

replace the rice with 3 or 4 medium potatoes or 1 or 2 large yams (orange sweet potatoes), 1/2 in dice add with water and other ingredients bring soup to boil simmer until potatoes are tender about 10 minutes.

replace chili and SW Blend with 4 -8 oz chopped  cooked meat, 1 15 oz can plain beans, and 4 cups fresh or frozen vegetables - season as needed.  (Example: Leftover pork, white beans,  Mixed vegetables, seasoned with black pepper, pinch ground ginger)