Sunday, December 28

menu plan Monday

Yeah, I know it's only Sunday. And I am not posting a menu either. How's that for not sticking to my post's title?

I realized after doing a couple of menu plans that it's not really how I operate. Granted there are a few days here and there when I have absolutely no idea what we will eat later that night, but for the most part I seem to always have an idea of what I am doing. Maybe it's from doing the CSA for a few years now that I tend to think about what I have to use up and how I can do that in a new and exciting way. I realized that when I was doing menus I was having more leftovers. Usually I use my leftovers in another way later in the week, even the next night to make something new or just reheated.

So I am not going to do menu plan Monday's for a while. Maybe I will change my mind as our family's schedule changes in the next few months. We'll see.

Right now I have some chicken carcasses and a turkey carcass that I need to cook down and make stock. I will do that tomorrow. Then we will most likely have something from that process tomorrow night. Maybe chicken and dumplings or chicken noodle soup or chicken pot pie. Something like that. I also have a ham in the fridge. They have been on sale for 99¢/lb. Great deal and we all really like ham. In fact, it seems to be Jack E's favorite meat. I will do that later this week sometime. Then we can have a pot of ham and beans next weekend, too.

BTW, the laundry detergent is working great. I have been keeping track of how many loads I am getting from my batch. So far I am up to 15 (I didn't do much laundry last week due to Christmas), and I am just starting to make a mark on the bucket full. It does have some watery stuff with it. The detergent kind of gels up and then some of the liquid separates out. The liquid is only water so I just try to scoop a little of that up when I get my scoop of detergent too. The next thing I want to try is fabric softener. I know vinegar works great, but I want to make something with lavender or eucalyptus in it. I'll let you know how it works out.

OH, before I forget, I got the Kitchen Aid Professional 600 (or something like that) for Christmas from Santa. My white Kitchen Aid has been awesome, but I am afraid it could go out any time. My new mixer has a 6 quart capacity so I am hoping to be able to do bigger batches of bread. And I also got this awesome book. It is published by the Colorado State Extension office. It has a lot of information as well as recipes. I made banana bread from it today and was really pleased. I'll fill you in on what I learn. If you have never baked from scratch at altitude, then you don't realize how frustrating it can be. This book will be appreciated by my family I'm sure!

Boys are being crazy so I'd better check on them. You'd think they wouldn't act like maniacs when they know I am directly under them, but then again as my nighbor says, "1 boy, 1 brain. 2 boys, half a brain." Yes and with 3 boys, she do the math! LOL

Thursday, December 18

laundry detergent

I told my husband this morning as he was leaving for work that I was going to make laundry detergent today. He said, "like you don't have enough to do already"

In a way, he's right, but at the same time, detergent is expensive and I am tired of buying it. It's something I always try to use a coupon with, but I still don't like spending the money on it.

Then I saw this and decided to go for it.

I couldn't find the Fels-Naptha soap, but after looking online at other recipes, I decided to use the bar of Zote soap I got last winter when my grocery store was doing a remodel and getting rid of a lot of stuff for cheap. I had read on this site that Zote was good for stain removal. So I picked up 2 bars. I've used one a little on some stains and it has worked. It has far less "stuff" in it than like Shout and I liked that. I honestly have no idea how much I paid for it, but I can't imagine that it was more than $1.99. I think it was probably 99¢, but I'll use the higher price to figure my price per batch below.

Yesterday I got the Borax and Washing Soda.

Price breakdown so far? I calculated the price of the ingredients that I have used so far. (I measured out the amount of Borax and Soda and weighed and then found how much of the total box I used to get the price per batch.)

Zote soap $1.00
Borax 23¢ (entire box was $4.59, I will get 20 batches of soap from the box)
Washing Soda 36¢ (entire box was $3.99 and I can get 11 batches from the box)


Not sure how many loads I'll get. I'll keep track of that and let you all know. But I think it's a great price so far. And I'm sure it works since I've found so many folks online making their own too. From what I've read, it's good for front loaders since it has minimal suds. And it's good for sensitive skin, too.

Sunday, December 14

Squash Spice Cake

This is a great not too sweet cake. We eat it for snacks or breakfast. I like to put dried cranberries in it instead of the raisins, but today I was out.

Spicy Squash Cake

2 c granulated sugar*
1 c brown sugar*
4 eggs, beaten
1 c vegetable oil*
2 c squash, cooked, strained
2 c flour*
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp gr cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
3/4 c raisins (optional)

In a large mixing bowl, blend sugars, eggs and oil. Beat in squash. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients and stir into liquid mixture. Stir in raisins. Pour batter into a greased 10-inch tube pan. Bake 50-60 minutes in a 350 F oven.

*I've always made this with a combination of sucanat and turbinado. I use 1 c turbinado and 1/2 c sucanat. It's the right sweetness for us this way. I've used butter instead of oil, too, but it doesn't have the same crumb. And I've substituted all whole wheat flour or part whole wheat or all-purpose flour.

Friday, November 28

lots of leftovers

The best part of cooking for a couple of days is NOT cooking for a couple more. We have leftovers galore and we'll be having buffet style meals all weekend. YAY!

Just figured out that my turkey this year cost about 35¢ per pound. What a deal! As I always try to shop the loss leaders in the grocery ads each week, I can't forget that this time of year, turkeys are right on up there as one of the best deals around.

Wednesday, November 26


I come by it naturally. I have one of those grandmothers. The one that fills a table with everyone's favorite food just to say "I love you". She cooked amazing Thanksgiving dinners for us to all gather around and celebrate. This year I won't be with her on Thanksgiving, but I will call her to wish her a happy 90th birthday. How awesome!

The day before the big day I am baking pies with the girls. I'm making some deviled eggs as a surprise appetizer for the family. Getting my dinner rolls mixed up. They will rise for a few hours tomorrow while the turkey cooks. I hope to get a couple of casseroles started today too. I am baking my sweet potatoes right now. Then tomorrow is a day of cooking and eating. It will be a great time to be with our family.

Have a happy holiday everyone!

Monday, November 17

Menu Plan Monday

No menu for this week yet. I am feeling really overwhelmed with what I need to do this week. I do have some ideas for meals for the next couple of days so I can catch my breath a little. I'll try to post our daily menus this week.

Tuesday, November 11


I was planning on making chicken divan last night. Then I saw in my fridge the leftovers from turkey and dumplings last week. It was just the gravy with some turkey and a little bit of veggies. I decided to use that up instead of make something new. So I threw in the end of a huge bag of frozen mixed veggies and plopped some drop biscuits on top. It was a new meal. And cost effective since I didn't start with fresh meat.

I also booked a job interview for nearly dinner time on Thursday. So I will do my lasagna that day so the family can have dinner whether or not I am home in time. And instead of grabbing whole chickens to defrost I grabbed some pieces.

So tonight will be soyu chicken, rice, acorn squash and green beans I think. Then meatloaf tomorrow, pasta on Thursday and maybe breakfast on Friday? I don't even remember what I'd planned now!

Sunday, November 9

Menu Plan Monday


Last week I got really sick on Sunday night. I had an idea of what I wanted to do with my week's menu, but I never posted anything. Thank goodness for that leftover turkey. I was able to use that for leftovers and use some of my best no-plan meal plans. I'll tell you about those later this week. Here's my plan for this week.

Monday-chicken divan

Tuesday-crock pot lasagna, salad and bread (I'm not sure how I'll do this, but the idea intrigues me. I'll let you know!)

Wednesday-meat loaf, roast fingerling potatoes, acorn squash

Thursday- whole roast chicken, baked sweet potatoes, green beans

Friday- chicken tacos/burritos/quesadillas

Saturday- going to a party I think...need to take party food

Sunday- soup in crock pot for after church

Check out more Menu Plan Monday participants here.

Saturday, November 1

should have known

I put the turkey in the over this afternoon dreaming of all the yummy side dishes I could make to go with it.

Then reality hit. The cold that is creeping up on me, really made me want to nap. And then I found out that the neighbor's brew party had been moved to OUR garage.

Umm...there's barely just a path in there. Or I should say there WAS just barely a path in there! We put things away and threw away the stuff that should have gone in the trash long ago. We swept it out. And now it's ready for a party.

I did make some mashed potatoes and gravy and some steamed broccoli to go with the turkey. It was mostly for the littles since D and the boys were busy in the garage. While Aleena was giving them a bath, all three boys came in and wreaked havoc on the turkey. Granted D hadn't really eaten all day, and the kids have eaten hardly anything besides Halloween candy. But my 20 pound turkey? I have some leftovers, most of the breasts to make D's sandwiches this week and a pot of bones to use for stock. I had envisioned a few days of turkey leftovers to use as a base for meals.

I should have known. If it is out there, my family will EAT it! I will make a turkey tetrazzini this week. And have turkey for sandwiches and make a pot of either turkey and dumplings or turkey and noodles. Then there will be stock to freeze and use to make soup later this winter. Yum.

Now it's time to sit and relax for a while. Tomorrow morning I will figure out what party food I will put out. And look for another menu on Monday.

Friday, October 31

my menu

I am really enjoying having a menu plan this week. Now dinner feels more like a normal part of the day. Like washing jeans or Mondays and towels on Thursdays (not that I'm so organized with my laundry! lol) I did decide to just do leftovers last night since Aleena and Trey had to be at the school at 6 and hubby didn't get home until around 5:30. No one starved! And because I had an easy dinner planned (or no dinner at all really), I baked bread yesterday.

I was looking at one of the other blogs I've been reading a lot $5 Dinners and saw that she had hew whole menu for November planned out. I am not that ambitious. But after I thought about it for a while, I also realized that the way we do our produce impacts that too. If we get spaghetti squash in our farm share one week this winter, it will be on the menu. Right now I have an excess of potatoes, so I really need to find more things to do with them. Potato Leek soup will be on the menu again soon. In the summers, we really tend to go with what we have on hand. Another great thing about that is that we pay a flat fee for an abundance of food. Jars and jars of tomato sauce, pickles, frozen corn and cauliflower and broccoli. That's how things stay economical for us.

Now, it's almost time to make my soup for tonight. A friend is bringing over beer cheese soup, so I am going with veggie noodle. Maybe I'll even add some chicken.

I can't wait to roast that turkey tomorrow! It will really feel like fall then.

Thursday, October 30

the turkey!!!

My plan will only work if I remember to defrost the turkey in time for Saturday! ARGH!

Acorn squash was so delicious last night. I think winter squash is about the world's most perfect food. Starchy, slightly sweet, full of vitamins. YUM! I can't wait to cook up some butternut this weekend to go with the turkey.

Wednesday, October 29

why it works

One of the best things about having a menu plan for the week is a day like today. I am tired and uninspired. I would really rather be in my bed, but I have 2 children that need some supervision. But I planned ahead last night and pulled out my whole chicken to defrost. It's in the crockpot now. And I have planned to have acorn squash too. So while I was in the kitchen and moving, I cleaned my squash and got them in the baking dish and EVEN in the oven. Later this afternoon I can turn the oven on and they will be ready in no time. I think I will make some biscuits later and cook some orange and purple cauliflower and that's dinner.

Last night's dinner was really good. I haven't made meat loaf in a while and it's a favorite with everyone. I got it ready about 3;30 just before I had to take Trey to his guitar lesson. I put it in the oven with the time bake thing on and it was ready at 5:30 without me stressing. I also put some diced purple potatoes in with the meatloaf to roast alongside it. They did need a few more minutes at a higher oven temp to finish. I got the corn going and decided it didn't look like enough so I pulled out the rest of a bunch of organic spinach I had got for our soup last Sunday. I sauteed that with some garlic and olive oil and made a salad out of the remnants of a bag of lettuce, red bell pepper, apple slices, sunflower kernels and some parmesan cheese. I pulled some rolls out of the freezer to reheat and it was dinner.

My kids felt much better with a full table. Monday they were all a little disappointed to see just a casserole on the table for dinner!

Monday, October 27

Menu Plan Monday


This is a new thing for me. I've been reading some new blogs this fall that participate in this and decided to join in. One of the reasons I haven't been posting much is that I have gone back to working a few nights a week as a postpartum doula. I love the work, but it does make my days a little weird. I find that I have to have small goals for each day and a PLAN to get me through when I am operating on less sleep than usual. I've been planning menus for a while, and I've posted them in my sidebar, but I decided to make a big production (and actual blog post) out of it this time.

The Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Organizing Junkie. Go check it out. There are lots and lots of ideas there.

Monday-stuffed cabbage casserole

Tuesday-meatloaf, roasted potatoes, corn

Wednesday-whole roast chicken, acorn squash and ???

Thursday-squash and ground beef skillet (I'll be totally improvising!)

Fiday-chicken veggie soup before trick or treating

Saturday-roast turkey (from last year's sale and still in the freezer) with mashed potatoes and veggies

Sunday- Left Overs!

Friday, September 26

eggplant recipe

Apparently my hubby is sending friends to this blog for recipes that I haven't even posted here. I'll just post the link here for the baba ghanoush recipe I use. I use more garlic, less lemon and little to no olive oil. I put it all in a big bowl and just use my hand blender on it. Totally easy.

baba ghanoush

Wednesday, September 24


That's what I was thankful for yesterday. Whoever thought of that one I am forever indebted. I had about 40# of tomatoes to put up yesterday. I canned a big batch of stewed tomatoes, and then froze the others to use in place of diced canned tomatoes. No easy put it through the kitchen aid attachment this time. I had to actually peel those things. I was so thankful to be able to blanche them and have the skins come right off. *sigh*

I still have a mountain of apples in my kitchen. Duane brought me some more yesterday, and these are really tasty even for eating. I think I need to make some pie filling with the other tart ones.

I told Duane last night at dinner that I had decided I was a little of an overachiever. Just when it comes to the kitchen, mind you. Monday I canned tomato sauce and peaches and made chicken divan for dinner. Yesterday I canned stewed tomatoes and froze more tomatoes. I made a pork roast and German red cabbage for dinner along with some whole wheat noodles (because I knew the kids wouldn't fill up on cabbage prepared like that) and then we had a peach pie with dried cranberries and streusel topping. Tonight I am planning on a veggie filled pasta sauce with some penne and frozen meatballs.

So why do I think I am an overachiever? Because I would normally feel apologetic for making such slim meals the past two days even though I was busy in the kitchen putting things up for later. I have been reading some of my friends' blogs and am surprised to see that a casserole can pass as dinner. WHAT? Or they may make a meat entree, a veggie side dish and a starch. And that's all. Only 3 things? Is that really a meal?

Now I'm not saying that I don't prepare meals like that too, but I feel guilty about it. Like I should prepare a banquet every time we have dinner. I do really like to cook. And my family really likes to eat. But I'm learning that it doesn't have to be like that every time. Wow.

My future daughters in law really are doomed anyway, though because my big boys think I could make anything and it would be wonderful! LOL

Monday, September 22


Last week, Duane my husband came home from work with 2 huge bags of peaches. He had been at an empty house that day with a bountiful peach tree. We have eaten quite a few but today I decided to can what was left.

As I stood peeling my blanched peaches and filling quart jars, I was so thankful. I am thankful for the peaches, very truly free food. I am thankful for the know-how to be able to save these fruits for later. I am thankful that I know we will enjoy these special peaches and remember this season of our lives.

Am I funny for getting nostalgic over a bag of backyard peaches? maybe so...

Thursday, September 4

an excess of melons...

...has led me to making melon bread. Right now I have a lot of musk melons and white honeydew and orange honeydew. I have frozen some in chunks for eating in winter (when it will taste sooooo good), but yesterday I tried something new. Well new to me anyway. I have a friend that uses melon purees a lot like this apparently.

Melon Bread

3 eggs beaten
1/2 c turbinado (or more if your melons aren't as sweet)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

stir in
3 cups melon puree

Sift together
3 c whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 ground ginger

Then add dry ingredients to wet ingredients just until moistened. Stir in
1 c chopped nuts (I used pecans)

Pour into 2 prepared 8x4 pans. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes.

Next time I make this, I think I will add a couple Tbsp of flax meal too. Trey called this bread "absolute yumminess" and he is my least carb/bread inclined child. It has a different flavor that is hard to describe. But we really liked it here!

I was looking online for recipes and saw where someone had replaced the oil in their recipe with some extra melon. Then I thought about how sweet our melons are and realized that I could add much less sugar than the recipes I was looking at called for. That led me to think about using melon puree in all kinds of recipes just as added sweetener. Like you would use applesauce I guess, but this adds sweet as well as the moisture. Personally I have nothing against things being sweet. I'm not militant about no sweets. Quite the opposite in fact. But I do like to use natural sweeteners whenever possible. And I like that this also adds a healthy dose of vitamin C and vitamin A (for the orange melons) and a host of other nutrients I probably don't even know about.

Somebody try this and let me know what you think!!!

Wednesday, August 27


I haven't baked bread in nearly a month it seems. I finally baked a batch last night. So good. And for those of you who feel daunted by it, it is really easy with a stand mixer. That does all the work for you.

Monday, August 25


It's not that we haven't eaten or haven't had kitchen time, but life has been busy between school starting and my getting ready for a new job. I pickled a week ago Saturday. A few days before that I made plum jam and plum preserves. Last week I froze some corn and melon cubes. I have frozen cauliflower. I have canned green beans. I have some tomatoes that I need to do something with.

My goal for this week is to use up as much of the produce we have on hand as possible. Beets, turnips, cabbage, squash, peppers, eggplant. So I have some menu planning to do. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 12

chile relleno casserole

I was looking for a casserole idea yesterday afternoon that I could put together and leave it to bake while I took Clay to his drum lesson. Little did I know it would also have to wait through my trip to after hours trauma with Jack E. Thank goodness for time bake on the oven!

I started with a large white onion and a pound of ground beef. After that was mostly browned, I added 2 cloves of chopped garlic and 2 cups of shredded zucchini (I feel guilty not serving some farm veggies with every meal these days) and let that cook down. I sprinkled in a good dose of salt and pepper and about 2 Tablespoons of chili powder. When it was cooked through, I stirred in about a dozen roasted green chiles. (I freeze my chiles in bags of 3 chiles per bag, so I defrosted 4 bags to use.) I probably could have gotten away with less chiles, but it was quite tasty as it was.

I poured that into a prepared 9x13 baking dish and topped it with cheese. Then I poured over that a mixture of 6 beaten eggs, 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp flour and 2 cups milk, seasoned with salt and pepper.

It baked at 350 for about 50 minutes, until it was bubbly and brown on top. We served it with a dollop of sour cream on top. That was the only offering for dinner and there was NONE left after half the family had seconds.

So here's the recipe in a little more readable format.

Chile Relleno Casserole

Brown together
1 large onion, diced
1 pound lean ground beef

when nearly done, add
2 cloves chopped garlic
2 cups shredded zucchini
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp chili powder

Then stir in
diced green chiles, 6-12, to taste

Pour into prepared 9x13 pan.

Top with 1 1/2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese or jack cheese...more or less to family preference

6 eggs, beaten
1/4 c + 2 Tbsp flour
2 c milk
salt and pepper

Pour egg mixture over meat and cheese. Bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes or until browned and bubbly.

Sunday, August 10

more zucchini ideas

I really love this time of year in my kitchen. The abundance of fresh produce makes last minute meal planning really simple. If I had the foresight to thaw some kind of meat, I can go from there, and if I didn't, then I quickly defrost a pound or two of ground beef, grab my big skillet and start throwing stuff in.

The last couple of weeks I have tried to have more of an idea in place. Did you see the new thing in my sidebar that says what's for dinner this week? Really that's there for me. I have a place to write down my plan that won't get misplaced or colored on or thrown out. Friday I was going crazy looking for my grocery list. I couldn't find it and had to make a new one. I did finally find my list. Duane had taken my notebook with my list to drawn some plans for his dream bathroom. lol

I am starting to dread Sunday nights. Since Duane has been doing construction, I pack a lunch for him in the mornings. And I like to send him out the door with some kind of breakfast thing too. That means on Sundays I need to make sure that I have all the stuff I need for that ready. Baking bread, mixing up chicken salad or tuna salad, and getting an egg casserole ready is on the list. By Sunday night I just want to sit down and relax. Not the plan these days.

Today we are going to some friends' after church to brew beer. (That sounds kind of odd doesn't it? That's the oddity of my life!) I am taking some crock pot meatballs. I found the easiest thing. I take the frozen meatballs, add a jar of chili sauce and a can of cranberry sauce. Yum. Totally easy too. I need to go get those in the crock pot come to think of it.

I am also taking zucchini brownies.

Oh, back to the title about more zucchini ideas. This week I was looking at recipes online and found an Italian type of zucchini thing. I sauteed onion, zucchini and garlic, mixed it with some spaghetti sauce and baked that with a little cheese on top until it was nice and bubbly. It was a nice side dish that was different. I also thought it had a lot of possibilities. Adding ground beef or TVP or pasta.

Friday night we had a similar dish. I cooked some cheese tortellini and put that in the bottom of a casserole dish, Then I covered that with the onion, zucchini, garlic and bell pepper mixed with spaghetti sauce. Again with the cheese on top. It was a nice casserole to eat while we watched the Olympics.

OK, have to get to baking now. More later.

Friday, August 8

wow, it's been almost a week

It's not that we haven't been eating or that I haven't been baking. I guess I have just been busy. I have made a couple of new baked items that I'll post soon. And I'm making a veggie and tortellini casserole for dinner that looks promising. I'll get that up soon too.

Saturday, August 2

leftover mashed potatoes

When there are leftover mashed potatoes, it always inspires me to make shepherd's pie. I can't believe we never had it when I was growing up. Really....meat and gravy-ish sauce topped with mashed potatoes. What's not to like? I only started making it here a couple of years ago, but it's easy and always a winner.

Since we have an abundance of zucchini right now, I did add that to my meat mixture. And it was really hot, so I just put the hot skillet, topped with mashed potatoes, under the broiler for a second to melt the cheesy top. It was a little runny, but still disappeared quickly.

Tonight, we're not going to the BBQ so I am making a big skillet of sauteed veggies and some pasta. Yum. And Aleena says we have to use the "good cheese".

Friday, August 1

good food is just good

Lame title, but last night for dinner we had the first of the season's corn. I'm an Iowa girl. I love my corn on the cob. Not the kind that's at the grocery store and has been sitting around for days or even a week. That's the stuff that is starchy and gross. I always think of that as feed corn. No, I grew up getting corn off the back of some guy's truck on highway 5. Corn that had been picked that day. Corn that was fresh. Our farm corn now is a very close rival, let me tell you.

I had 4 ears last night.

And our melons are on at the farm too. We brought home muskmelon and red watermelon. I woke up this morning and could smell their flowery fragrance all through the house. mmmmm

We ate a watermelon for dessert last night. I think we have enough melons to have one a day until we go to the farm next week.

When we eat the food that is in season...locally in season, not in season a few thousand miles away, it just tastes better. I really think it's OK to gorge on corn and melon now. After all, the fresh corn will be over in about a month. We will most likely have melons for about 6 weeks. Just long enough to really get the taste and enjoy it before fall and apples and pears come into the daily rotation again.

Good thing zucchini season lasts all summer! :o)

Wednesday, July 30

need to change my zucchini bread recipe

I'm not sure what's different lately but I don't like how it's turning out. I am going to update it now by reducing the amount of flax meal and maybe a little more oil?

Tuesday, July 29

Zucchini Corn Casserole

My neighbor gave me the recipe yesterday. I had to make some adjustments based on what we had on hand, but we really enjoyed it.

Zucchini Corn Casserole

1 onion in 2 Tbsp olive oil til softened

stir in
4 c sliced zucchini
2 cloves minced garlic

allow that to cook down a little

add 1/4 c chopped peppers (I used anaheims, the original called for chiles that I didn't have defrosted)
4 c frozen corn, defrosted (the original was a can of creamed corn, but I used what I had)

allow that to cook and reduce about 10 minutes

remove from heat and stir in 4 beaten eggs and 1/2 shredded sharp cheddar cheese

pour into prepared casserole, cover with another 1/2 c shredded cheese

bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until hot and bubbly

Sunday, July 27

the long awaited....

Peanut Butter Oat Bars with Chocolate Chips and zucchini

Cream together
1 c natural peanut butter
1/2 c butter
1/4 c sucanat
1/2 c turbinado

2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
3 c shredded zucchini

Stir in until combined
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Then stir in
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c chocolate chips

Spoon into prepared 9x13 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 40 minutes

This recipe comes from combining my favorite peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with my zucchini oatmeal cookies. I made them as cookies and didn't really like them. They were a little cakey. So I tried them as bars. I didn't used butter in that try and had more oats. My friend Lorrie suggested more moisture. I am running low on peanut butter so i decided to add the butter that was in both original recipes. My reason for butter and not another fat comes from my desire to use what is most natural and adds more nutrition. Did you know that butter has Vitamin A? Check here for more info on butter. And click here to see the nutrition on margarine.

I didn't use as much oats this time simply because I ran out. I added all the oats I had.

Let me know how you like them!

Saturday, July 26


mmmmm...that was a new thing this week from our farm share. We got "slicers" this week. Those are what we typically think of as eating cucumbers. I like pickling cucumbers to eat too, but they weren't ready yet. I don't know that I plan on making many pickles this year. I made soooo many pickles last year and we still have quite a few. That way I can hopefully focus my energy somewhere else.

I took advantage of the cucumbers by making a big batch of my Grandma Joy's cucumbers and onions. It's one of those things that everyone has their own way of making. I like this version because the cukes and onions soak in salt water for 24 hours first. That really helps them to last a long time. My Grandma uses a lot of sugar in hers, but I don't add nearly that much. The bad part of that recipe is that it's 48 hours before we can eat them.

I made a batch of cucumber sunomo to eat in the meantime. It's the Japanese version of the recipe I guess. Here's my recipe for it.

Cucumber Sunomo

In a covered contained put
2 large cucumbers, sliced

Pour over the cucumbers
1/3 c rice wine vinegar
4 tsp sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp salt
about an inch of shredded gingerroot

Chill for 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

I use white sugar here because I want it to totally dissolve. More natural sugars would work too, I just use white here. And for my ginger, I buy a gingerroot, peel it, wrap it in plastic wrap and freeze it. That's a trick from Rachel Ray. I like to do it that way because the ginger just kind of melts into whatever it's going into.

Wednesday, July 23

where have I been this week?

D (my hubby) has been out of town this week. I have taken advantage of that and just not done as much in the kitchen. In fact, I have been going to bed earlier and enjoying not get up to make his coffee and lunch and see him out the door. (Although at this point in the week, I'd rather be getting up than being a single mom!)

I did some baking on Tuesday. The same banana zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate oatmeal muffins. I also tried my cookie/bar thing again. I'm not sure I like it yet. I'll post a recipe soon, promise!

Sunday, July 20

OK, so it wasn't TERRIBLE

the not enough zucchini bread that is. It's a little dry and crumbly, but it's still totally edible. I love the flavor of that bread...honestly love it

Saturday, July 19


I totally love this vegetable. It's so prolific and a huge meal stretcher. We had it in several forms yesterday. First I sauteed some with some onion and a little ancho chile powder to use as a filling in a quesadilla. It was delicious. Different than a plain old cheese on a tortilla thing, but still really simple.

Then I baked. I made a cookie that will be better as a bar I think. I will try them again tonight to take to church in the morning and then post the recipe. I also made zucchini bread that was TERRIBLE. I only used half the zucchini I should have so it's really dry. I was distracted by my kiddos being crazy and swimming and driving each other nuts. But they are still eating it so go figure.

Then for dinner, I made a HUGE batch of my zucchini pancakes. We had some fruit with it and that was dinner. Well except for the q-ball zucchini that Duane "grilled" on the griddle. It's a round zucchini with a really mild taste. It's about as big as a grapefruit with pale skin. It has small seeds and really a firm texture. I will be using it to make a zucchini parmesan soon I think.

So we had zucchini for lunch, for snack and for dinner. And it was all different. No wonder our ancestors loved this vegetable!

Thursday, July 17


The other night I needed an idea. I was in the mood to do pasta for dinner. It's just easy and quick...and requires no baking or early planning like the crock pot. But I also felt like I needed to use more of the vegetables that are in my fridge. So I took a couple of ideas from a couple different places and made this sauce.

Vegetable Pasta Sauce

I'm not going to really write this out as a recipe since it was more an idea that can be adapted to whatever you have on hand. I used all vegetables from our farm share, the onions, peppers and tomatoes were frozen from last year, too.

I added these in the order listed. I cooked the onions and peppers on high to cook off a lot of the liquid, then I turned the heat to medium high until after the tomatoes were soft.

2 c chopped onions
1 c sliced bell pepper
broccoli, 2 medium crowns florets went in whole, and the stems were chopped first
2 c chopped carrots
2 large kohlrabi, shredded
2 1/2 large zucchini (about 6 c shredded)
9 medium tomatoes
6 cloves mashed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp Italian seasoning

I let the onions and peppers cook away the liquid, then added a couple Tablespoons of oil to the pan with the broccoli, carrots and kohlrabi. That cooked for about 3-4 minutes then I added the zucchini. Another 3-4 minutes then I added the whole tomatoes (which I partially defrosted in the microwave). I let that cook for 10 minutes then I used my hand blender to puree it all. In went the seasonings, and the sauce was ready for a pound of pasta.

This was a chunkier sauce, not necessarily a tomato sauce. The leftovers were good too, and then I could really taste the broccoli in the sauce. It was a great way to have pasta and a veggie heavy sauce. High in vitamins and fiber, too.

Wednesday, July 16

yet another baked good with zucchini

I needed some muffins for the morning. I had shredded zucchini to use up. You know what happens then. Instead of going to an old standby, I totally made this one up. Hope you like them.

Chocolate Oatmeal Zucchini Muffins

Soak for 15 minutes
2 c rolled oats in
2 c milk

In a large bowl, cream together
2 eggs
1/4 melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 c turbinado

Stir in
3 c shredded zucchini
and oatmeal mixture

In another bowl combine
3 c flour
1/2 c cocoa
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon

Add dry ingredients to wet just until combined. Fill prepared muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.

Makes 24 larger muffins

I used the rest of my whole wheat flour from my big baking day on Saturday. But that was only 2 cups so I added 1 cup of unbleached all purpose flour. My kids will think they are in heaven with such light muffins! :P

Tuesday, July 15

Zucchini Banana Bread

A combining of recipes. One was from Laurel's Kitchen, a favorite of mine, but it's vegetarian so I tend to change things up there. This turned out really well. Very much a banana bread, and it's lower in fat, too. It's really moist because of the zucchini so you won't miss the fat at all!

Zucchini Banana Bread

Cream together:
1/3 c melted butter or coconut oil
1/3 c sucanat

Beat in
4 bananas, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c shredded zucchini or other summer squash yellow would blend in really well

In another bowl, mix together
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour today I used a mix of soft wheat and hard wheat flours that were leftovers from my baking on Saturday
1/2 c wheat germ
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet, then stir in 1/2 c chopped nuts.

Pour into prepared 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

I think this would also make good muffins. I'll let you know how those turn out next week! :P

Monday, July 14

what's for dinner?

that was a question that plagued me all day today. Monday's are not good days for me. I work and don't get home till around 2, and then I have to leave at 4:30 to take Clay to his drum lesson. I walk back in the door around 5:45, met by starving children and a starving husband. Lately the weekends have been crazy too, so I don't have much of a plan or many leftovers to go from. Then there is the issue of produce.

A huge part of why we get a farm share is so that we really buy very little produce in the summer. I have bought only one or two onions since we have joined the farm. Those were to grill since we have chopped onions in the freezer to cook with. That's 2 onions in over 3 years. I bought a bag of potatoes last spring. Again, those were the first in YEARS. We really try to eat what we are given and not really buy much else. I do have a fridge full of vegetables right now, but I didn't have a lot of time to deal with things. In the past I have prepared casseroles to bake while I am at the lesson, then we have a hot dinner waiting for us. It was just too hot for that today. And I didn't spend any time prepping things for dinner when I came in from work today, because I was scrubbing my wood floors.

So here's what I had to work with in the meat department:

leftover grilled pork sirloin steaks

leftover roasted chicken

leftover shredded chicken in BBQ sauce



my veggies on hand?



zucchini/yellow squash

yukon gold potatoes/new red potatoes


green beans




leftover turnip puff

leftover broccoli salad

There was a time when I would have really just wanted to order pizza or get burgers on a night like tonight. Instead I ran in the door at 5:50. I sauteed some onion in olive oil, then added diced new potatoes. While they cooked down a little I chopped 2 yellow squash and sliced the pork sirloin. I added that to the skillet too with a little chicken broth, covered it and let it simmer for 10 minutes. I reheated the turnip puff and pulled out the broccoli salad, too. By 6:15 we had dinner on the table. whew...

and I felt better for using what I had. I didn't defrost any extra meat since I had some cooked that I didn't want to go to waste. Tomorrow will be interesting again because I have an interview at 4 that will take about an hour. But I have more time at home to prep what I am doing. I am really in the mood to have chicken pot pie with that leftover chicken and some carrots and potatoes. We'll see what I do. It's supposed to be like 93 tomorrow so I don't know that I want to bake in the afternoon.

As far as the summer squash bread I made on Saturday goes, I decided I really don't like the way I made it. So I will tweak it again. I had used honey, and I just didn't like the honey taste in there. I want to make some zucchini banana bread tomorrow. I'll be putting a few different recipes together. I'll let you know how it turns out. And the sandwich bread I made the other day is AWESOME. But I want to do it again, to make sure it wasn't a fluke.

Sunday, July 13

only brownies

Today I baked my zucchini brownies. I took them to a party and left them. (It's a LONG story of why I had to run off.) When I got back a few hours later, the brownies were almost gone. And someone had also gotten into the summer squash bread! When I mentioned that the brownies had zucchini, one guy in particular was shocked. No one stopped eating them because of the green stuff, they just don't taste like they have a veggie in them. I also used my turbinado and sucanat in them along with some whole wheat flour. Since I was taking them to a gathering I did use some unbleached flour in there too.

Soon I'll post about why I choose the ingredients I do. But not tonight. I'm tired!

Saturday, July 12

Sour Cherry Cake

I found this somewhere online once when I was looking for things to do with sour cherries. My neighbor has some trees in front of her house and I always spend some time picking and pitting them. Growing up my mom had a friend with HUGE sour cherry trees and we would pick soooo many of them. I don't ever really remember what we did with them after the initial pie. Maybe my mom can remind me of that?

I picked some cherries the other night and froze them all once they were pitted. A friend came over yesterday and picked some too and she had asked me about this recipe. It's like a science experiment. When the sour cherries are added to the bowl, it has a little reaction in there. Aleena loves to make this cake about as much as she loves to eat it!

Sour Cherry Cake

1 egg, beaten
1 1/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c milk

Beat until smooth. Then add
1 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

Fold in
2 c pitted sour cherries
1/2 tsp almond extract

that's the fun part!

Stir in 1/2 c pecans if desired

Pour into greased 9x9 pan. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes. Let cool and serve with whipped cream.

busy day of baking

Today the weather here was a good 15 degrees cooler than it was yesterday. Much better day for baking, so bake I did! What I made today:

Noelle's Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

a new whole wheat sandwich bread, recipe to be posted soon!

Summer Squash Bread, but a little different version

I haven't tasted any of the last bread yet so after I do I will decide if I want to post that recipe as is or tweak it a little more. The sandwich bread really is awesome. I used a mix of my hard wheat flour and my soft wheat flour and I'm really happy with it. Like I said, that will come later.

The plan for dinner? Since I've been baking all day, I'm not really in the mood to cook a lot. I cooked 2 whole chickens in the crock pot yesterday with some of the frozen veggies I had in the freezer. I put the chickens in the crock pot (a 6 quart one) then put a couple of spoons of bottled minced garlic on top. I sprinkled on frozen chopped onion, red bell peppers and celery tops all pretty liberally. I then put about 2 teaspoons of chicken bouillon granules on top. poured in 1 cup of water and let it all sit for about 12 hours. Then I picked the bones clean. Now I have lots of yummy flavorful chicken.

I'm about to mix up some BBQ sauce and let some chicken simmer in that. We will put the chicken on buns for sammies tonight. We'll have a broccoli salad and not sure what else. Maybe a whipped turnip puff? Just reread the recipe for that and it sounds easy enough to do when I am this tired of the kitchen. I'll let you all know if it's a keeper or not.

Friday, July 11

Zucchini Pancakes

A holdover from our low-carb, Atkins days. I'm not sure which one of those cook books this came from originally. This is a savory side dish that my family absolutely inhales!

Zucchini Pancakes

1 c grated zucchini

Put the zucchini in a colander with a sprinkle of salt and allow it to drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze out all the excess water and blot with clean kitchen towel.

In a large bowl, combine the batter

1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp water
2 Tbsp grated parmesan
1 Tbsp flour
lots of black pepper
1 tsp dried basil (or even more to taste)
the drained zucchini

In a non-stick skillet (or on a griddle), melt 1 Tbsp butter with 1 Tbsp olive oil until foaming. Drop the batter by Tablespoons onto the skillet and cook over medium-high heat until browned. Turn over and brown the other side. Pile the pancakes on a platter, salt lightly and serve.

Squash Brownies

from Old Fashioned Zucchini and Squash Recipes published by Bear Wallow Books

This of course is MY version.

Squash Brownies for any summer squash

1/2 c butter
1/2 c oil
3/4 c turbinado
1/4 c brown sugar

Beat in
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c buttermilk (or soured milk)

In a separate bowl, combine
2 1/2 c soft wheat flour*
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon

Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Stir in
2 c grated summer squash

Pour batter into prepared 9x13 pan.

Sprinkle with
1 c chopped nuts (optional)
1 c chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 25-35 minutes.

*That is what I am calling my home milled flour made from soft white wheat berries. It would be similar to whole wheat pastry flour. Unbleached flour could be substituted, too

Summer Squash Bread

This one is super cakey. Sweet and totally different from my whole wheat zucchini bread. I can't claim this one either, though I probably don't follow the original recipe to the letter.

Summer Squash Bread

Beat 3 eggs until fluffy

Beat in
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c oil
2 tsp vanilla

Sift together in another bowl
3 c flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Gradually mix flour mixture into egg mixture

Fold in 2 cups shredded yellow squash

Pour into 2 prepared 8 inch x 4 inch loaf pans. Bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes.

Or this can be poured into a 9 inch x 13 inch pan and baked for 45 minutes

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies-Updated

This is from my beloved allrecipes again. I think it was originally called like Martian Cookies or something. They aren't green at all, but do have the green skin of the zucchini in them. I guess you could peel the zucchini if you were truly trying to camouflage that, but here at our house we embrace our weird zucchini recipes! I haven't made these since I have been using alternative sweeteners. I think that is on the agenda for tomorrow so I'll update this recipe then!

I did bake these today, and though they are not pretty, they are pretty tasty! I used home milled flours and more natural sweeteners. I wanted to use half applesauce and half butter, but apparently the kids have eaten all the applesauce. So they are heavy on the fat side, but not as processed as typical oatmeal cookies. I am putting the updated version under the original in italics. Choose if you want familiar looking oatmeal cookies with green flecks in them or if you want to be adventurous and try the second version. With alternative sweeteners, I use much less than the refined counterparts and I am also trying to get my kids' palate adjusted to less sweet.

Zucchini Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 c butter
3/4 c sugar

1/2 c butter
1/4 c turbinado
1/4 c sucanat

Stir in
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla


1 1/2 cups grated zucchini

same, but today I used a little yellow squash since I had frozen the rest of the grated zucchini

In a separate bowl, sift together
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon

1 c whole wheat pastry flour*
1/2 c whole wheat flour
other dry ingredients are the same

Add flour mixture to zucchini mixture

Stir in
2 cups quick cook oats

today I used rolled oats since that's what I had

1 cup chocolate chips (also YUMMY with butterscotch chips)

today's version was a mix of chocolate and butterscotch chips

Drop by teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

*this is the flour I mill at home from soft white wheat berries.

Noelle's Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

I kind of don't want to put this out there. Yes, it's honestly THAT good. But I'm beginning to think it will be just easier to keep my recipes on a blog site instead of always emailing them to different folks. So here's the first one. This recipe is one I created from several on allrecipes, but it is now completely mine. I have changed a lot of things about it in the past 2 years so this is how I make it these days. It used to have more fat, no flax meal, all purpose flour and white sugar. I always double this and make 4 loaves. I typically freeze 2 wrapped in foil. Those can be defrosted for an easy breakfast or taken to a friend when need be.

Noelle's Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

Cream together:
3 eggs
1/2 c melted butter or coconut oil
1/2 c turbinado
1/2 c sucanat
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 c shredded zucchini

3 c wheat pastry flour
1/4 c ground flax meal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp cinnamon

Mix until just combined. Pour into 2 prepared 8 inch x 4 inch loaf pans and bake at 325 for 50 minutes.

Like I said, I used to make this with no flax, but we like it better this way. And I used to use 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. My earlier version had 2 cups of white all purpose flour and 1 cup of store bought whole wheat flour. Now I use a mix of home milled flour that is from hard red and soft white wheat berries. Let me know what you think!