Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Strawberry Shortcake

I wonder why it is people buy those Hostess sponge cakes with all those questionable ingredients and that pre-made strawberry glaze laden with sugar? Maybe one day I will write a post about that…..I think it has something to do with bad magic food.

One thing I do know is that my Mom made some home made strawberry shortcake the other night and it was delicious! Even my oldest daughter, who for some inexplicable reason dislikes strawberries, had two helpings of this!

Strawberry Shortcake:

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 Tbl sugar

6 Tbl butter

1 Cup Milk

Fresh Strawberries (about 2 pints)

1/2 cup frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate, thawed

Heavy whipping cream

Combine flour, baking powder, and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until crumbly.

Stir in 1/2 of the milk; gradually add more until the dough clings together.

Drop onto a greased cookie sheet. This makes about 12 cakes (they look just like biscuits!).

Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes until light golden brown.

Mash 1/2 of the strawberries and add apple juice concentrate. Slice remainder of the strawberries into pieces and add to strawberry mixture.

Beat the heavy whipping cream until it forms stiff peaks. Do not add sugar! This is good all by itself.

Cut the shortcakes in half and layer with the strawberry mixture, then top with the cream.


This was so good!

Thanks, Mom!


  1. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    You know I am way into bad magic food, but even I don’t like those store bought sponge cakes or that fake strawberry glop. Mom’s homemade shortcake is le bomb diggity.

  2. Amy
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    These do look very tempting. Strawberries are cheap right now (along with bare baby feet, the best thing about summer). I will have to try these. Thanks for posting!

Monday, April 26, 2010

French Breakfast Muffins

These are my kid’s favorite muffins. They love to have them for breakfast (along with some scrambled eggs for protein!).

We use coconut sugar so we feel better about eating this sweet breakfast treat!


4 cups wheat flour
1 cup sugar * (or 3/4 c. honey)
5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
2 cups plus 4 tbl milk
12 Tbl melted butter
2 tsp vanilla

2-4 Tbl melted butter
1/2 cup sugar*
1 tsp cinnamon

Heat oven to 375. Butter the bottoms only of standard size muffin tins. This makes 24 muffins.

Combine flour, sugar, powder, salt, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until frothy. Blend in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in liquid mixture. Blend with a wooden spoon until just smooth. Spoon batter into tins, about 2/3 full.

Cook for about 8 minutes, then rotate pans, and cook for another 8-10 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack and then dip in butter, then sugar/cinnamon mix.

* Use coconut sugar just like granulated sugar and your body will thank you!

One Comment

  1. Jessica
    Posted April 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm
    Yum, yum, yum.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Frozen Yogurt Squares

Years ago, when my husband and I were “sugar free”, I spent a lot of time hunting for dessert recipes sans sugar. Some of those were, sadly, flops. But these frozen yogurt squares were a hit! I got this recipe from a book called, “Desserts to Lower Your Fat Thermostat” and as always, I have modified it slightly. This is one of our favorite desserts that we still eat often.

I once made this for a family get together and my friend (a sugar fiend) commented, “these would be really good if you poured chocolate syrup all over them”.

I actually think that would be quite nasty so don’t try it. But if you, like my friend, are not a big fan of that yogurty tangy taste, you might want to substitute flavored yogurt like vanilla. That makes it quite a bit sweeter.

9 out of 10 people that I serve these to LOVE them! If you are a lover of yogurt, you will probably love this recipe. My kids are pretty darn picky, but they all love these yogurt squares.

One day, very soon, I will break out the yogurt maker and make my own yogurt. Until then, these are the brands I like to buy: Mountain High Yoghurt, Nancy’s, Cascade Fresh, Brown Cow, and Stoneyfield Farm.

Frozen Yogurt Squares

2 Cup Plain Yogurt

2/3 unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained

2 tsp vanilla

4 Tbl frozen unsweetened apple juice concentrate (or any 100% juice)

4 bananas, sliced

2 cups strawberries, sliced

2 cups Grape-Nuts cereal

In a blender, combine yogurt, pineapple, vanilla, juice concentrate, and bananas. Blend until smooth. Place in a 9X13 pan. Fold in strawberries and 1 cup of the Grape nuts.

Sprinkle remaining Grape Nuts evenly on top and gently press down with the palm of your hand.

Cover with foil and place in the freezer for a few hours. When ready to serve, let it thaw for about 15-20 minutes, then cut into squares and enjoy!


  1. heathermommy
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I think I will make this for rick’s ‘birthday cake.”

  2. Rachel
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Does it taste very pineappley? I am not a fan of pineapple.

    • Posted April 22, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      No, the pineapple taste is not terribly prominent. You just reminded me that there are a few yogurt squares left in the freezer. I am headed there right now!

  3. heathermommy
    Posted April 25, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I made these for Rick’s b-day and everyone loved them!!

Family Favorite Banana Bread

This is our family’s favorite banana bread recipe of all time! This bread is so moist it practically melts in your mouth. I have some picky eaters who normally don’t eat banana bread but they will come running to the kitchen for this stuff. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the recipe calls for chocolate chips. You do not have to add chocolate chips but why wouldn’t you? Unless you don’t like chocolate….in which case, well, good for you-maybe?

We usually double this recipe and add chopped walnuts to the second loaf for those of us in the house with more mature tastes.

My oldest son made this today. He is trying to blow my diet!

Here you go:

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup softened butter

1 c sugar (or 3/4 cup honey)

2 large eggs at room temperature

1 tsp vanilla

1 c mashed overripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/2 c plain yogurt

1 cup chocolate chips (we like dark chocolate!)

Heat oven to 350. Use butter to grease and then flour a bread pan. Sift flour, powder, soda, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar or honey, then add eggs and vanilla and blend. In a third bowl, mix the banana and yogurt together. Alternate pouring the dry mixture and the banana mixture into the cream mixture, 1/3 at a time, until well blended. Fold in the chips. Bake for 60-70 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes on wire rack.


  1. lisa grant
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    You are making me hungry!

  2. heathermommy
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    i am too tired to make this. will you please send me some?

  3. Jessica
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Can’t wait to try this one!

  4. Rachel
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    This is not going to help me lose weight. Question, can you buy unbleached white flour at regular grocery stores? If it says “enriched” on the package does that mean it’s been bleached. I need guidance my mighty food guru!

    • Posted April 22, 2010 at 9:45 pm

      “Unbleached” is the word you are looking for and usually it is right there on the shelf next to the bleached white flour at any grocery store.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Pass the Paste

When I was a little girl, I remember being at school working on an art project and a bunch of the kids decided it would be fun to taste the paste. So of course,being the little follower I was at the time, I ate some too. I was horrified when, seconds later, one of the other children suggested it was made from old horses. I loved horses. But that is besides the point.

Why am I sharing this childhood memory with you, fair readers?

Well, I have tasted paste and I am telling you, it tastes just like stuff made with white flour.

Eat whole wheat.

The end.

One Comment

  1. Rachel
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Funny, Jen. I will admit this. White bread from the store is gross. Remember WonderBread. Well it is a wonder to me that anybody eats that stuff because it is not food. Remember when we were kids that I would never eat wheat. I would only eat white bread. The thought now makes me shudder. I actually had a very spiritual experience on my mission that converted me to wheat on my mission, but that’s a long story. Sometimes we have white bread for the Sacrament and I don’t like it. It’s hard for me to believe that I ever ate that stuff and enjoyed it. I still use white flour in things, but I am trying to convert to more and more wheat all the time. Wheat for man!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Tortillas

Do you just love those buttermilk pancakes?

Wait until you try these tortillas.

I got this recipe from my friends over at Better Than Burgers but I tweaked it to meet my self-imposed food rules (no shortening, limited white flour intake). You can find the original recipe by clicking here. But be warned, there are some dangerously yummy recipes there.

Here’s my version:

4 cups wheat flour ( I use white winter wheat)

1 cup white flour, unbleached

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 cup butter

2 cups butermilk

Combine all the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter with a pastry cutter. Stir in the buttermilk. I found 2 cups to be the perfect amount but you may need to add more. Knead with your hands until everything is combined well. Let the dough sit for 5 minutes. Then form into balls and roll out -the amount depends on the size tortilla you would like. Cook on a hot skillet/frying pan. Turn over once bubbles form.

These are soft and yummy with a little bit of a tangy flavor from the buttermilk. These are definitely higher in calories/fat than my other tortilla recipe so don’t make these if you are on a diet! Be warned (again)-You will want to eat a lot of these if you make them. My kids LOVED these! Thanks to Julie for sharing:)

One Comment

  1. Genette
    Posted April 16, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    Have you ever tried using lard when you make tortillas? My Granny always did and that is how I make them, too. MMMM.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Is it Summer yet? Because it seems like it at our house.

I saw a huge carton of strawberries at Costco the other day and was reminded of my favorite salad of all time.

The salad:

Fresh Baby Spinach 4-6 oz.

Fresh Strawberries, about 15, sliced

1/4-1/2 cup pecans, chopped

The dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

1/8 cup honey

1/2 Tbl poppy seeds

dash of paprika

Combine all the ingredients and serve or refrigerate until ready to eat!

You are welcome.


  1. Jessica
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    I loved this salad. Can’t wait to make it!

  2. Rachel
    Posted April 15, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    There was a time not too long ago that I would have thought this was gross. I mean strawberries and spinach. But recently I was at a RS activity and they served lunch. We didn’t get our own food, it was already on plates at the tables and we just sat down to eat. I didn’t want to not eat what was given to me so I ate it. And it was delicious. Thanks for the recipe. I will be making this for sure.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Eileen's Whole Wheat bread

#37 The whiter the bread the quicker you’ll be dead. ..As far as the body is concerned, white flour is not much different than sugar-it’s little more than a shot of glucose.”-Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual Michael Pollan

My friend Eileen is a master bread maker. I am serious. She makes the best home made bread ever. I hardly ever make this recipe because Eileen’s turns out so much better. Instead I just hope that she will have pity on me and give me a loaf when I come over to visit (but not right now, Eileen because I am on a diet, remember? That banana bread made with duck eggs you gave me the other day just about blew me out of the water).

I digress.

Eileen’s bread-yum. You should try this recipe. It probably won’t turn out as good as if Eileen had actually made it. But it will still be delicious.

Eileen doesn’t think white flour is as evil as I do. In fact she thinks it is wrong to call food “evil”. If you feel the same way as I do however, you can make adjustments to how much wheat vs. white you use in this recipe. I have a 2 cups of white flour rule. I never use more than 2 cups of white flour (and usually not any) in any recipe.

Maybe that is why mine doesn’t turn out as good as Eileen’s? Nope, it isn’t the flour. It is Eileen.

But since you probably have never had Eileen’s bread you will never know the difference. My advice? Try this recipe with mostly wheat and a little bit of white. And for the love of all that is good, whenever using white flour, please make sure it is unbleached. That reduces its evil properties:)

And seriously, even though I up the wheat flour in this recipe, it still tastes pretty darn good.

Just not as good as Eileen’s.

Eileen’s Recipe:

5 1/2 cup hot water

2/3 cup oil

2/3 cup honey

1 1/2 Tbl salt

3 Tbl yeast

2 eggs

8 cups wheat flour

7-8 cups white flour

Combine water, oil, honey, and salt well. Sprinkle yeast over and stir. Let stand until foamy and bubbly. Add wheat flour and eggs. Knead in as much white flour as it takes to be smooth and shiny and not sticky. Knead 5 minutes more. Shape into 6 loaves, let raise 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 10 minutes, then at 325 for 27-30 minutes.


  1. Rachel
    Posted April 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    I hate to break it to you, but it may be the white flour. My bread recipe has wheat and white and it is pretty darn good.

  2. Eileen
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Thank you for the raves, you are too nice. Some time I will write a post for you all about my philosophy about food!

    I thought you might like to know, I have started adding 2 cups of rolled oats to this bread when I put in the wheat flour. I use about 7 cups of wheat and about 5 cups of white. Also, I got a great tip from a bread making class. Put in flour until the dough just almost comes away from the side of the mixing bowl, not until it cleans the sides of the bowl. (This is tricky, because once it cleans the sides of the bowl, you have added too much, but if you stop too soon, it is almost too sticky to work with. It just takes experience. Also, I don’t know how to judge the right stage if you are mixing by hand.)

    And, I have to say, for baking duck eggs really are the best!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What About Baby?

#6 Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients: The specific number you adopt is arbitrary, but the more ingredients in a packaged food, the more highly processed it probably is. Note: A long list of ingredients in a recipe is not the same thing; that’s fine.”

“#3 Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in his pantry. If you wouldn’t cook with them yourself, why let others use these ingredients to cook for you? …Whether or not any of these additives pose a proven hazard to your health, many of them haven’t been eaten by humans for very long, so they are best avoided.”

-Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual by Michael Pollan

So in my efforts to be more healthy I had to stop and think the last time I reached for those packaged baby biscuits, puffs etc.

“What the heck am I thinking? What is this stuff I am feeding my baby?”

When my babies are first starting to eat food, it is a no brainer. I try to mash up my own food for my baby in a food processor, etc. But buying baby food in a bottle is probably fine if time/convenience are an issue-which of course they always are. The ingredients list on bottled baby food is very short. It is usually just the particular food and water. You can buy organic if you are concerned about that.


Once my babies hit a certain age they are all about wanting to self-feed. Cheerios become my best friend. Got to keep the baby happy, especially when we are on the go.

What is a health conscious Mom to do?

The people over at Gerber’s, Beech Nut etc are going to hate me for this, and maybe some of you will too if you don’t already, but I think the only thing you can do is make your own!

Now, let’s be clear about one thing. I have a huge Costco size box of Cheerios in my pantry. Everyone at church knows that as evidenced by the trail we leave behind us each Sunday. But I am trying to repent.

Probably the best thing to do is give your baby whole fresh foods, cut into small pieces to make sure that they don’t choke. You know the things to avoid-grapes, carrot sticks.

But these things are hard to use when you are travelling or attending church….

I am about to tell you what it is I recommend (keep reading) and the baby loves it! Problem is, so does everyone else, including Mom. Good luck keeping these hidden from everyone so that the baby actually gets to eat them!

Honestly, I think that the best thing to feed your “on the go baby” is just homemade bread with a little twist. Just add a little more flour after it raises the first time. Then roll out onto a cookie sheet. You can make breadsticks or if you roll them thinner, crackers or teething biscuits. Prick them with a fork and season them if you desire. I like butter because “everything is better with butter” and a little, very little salt and maybe some parmesan cheese. Cook them in a 325 oven for about 10 minutes (or a little longer for crackers). Cool and then store in an airtight container.

Easy! You are making this for your family anyway (or not) and so why not designate one loaf’s worth of bread as the baby’s? This is so amazingly simple!

Using your banana bread (carrot bread, etc) recipe supposedly works too -if you have one that is low in sugar that would be better. You just cut the leftovers into strips and cook on a lower heat until crispy. I haven’t tried this yet so I don’t know if it actually works. If you have a day to kill (ha, ha) you can do a google search on homemade baby food and it will give you a bunch of ideas.

And of course if I find some fantastic idea, I will share.

One Comment

  1. Posted April 12, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Fitz is still letting us feed him baby food, thank goodness. I don’t make my own, surprise, surprise. :) I do confess to feeding him puffs and the occassional teething biscuit, although, honestly, I never thought about those things as bad until I read this post. Are they really that bad?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken Parmesan Salad

My husband says that “more often than not, the tastiest food is the simplest”.

He should know because truth be told, he is an awesome cook (much better than me).

For lunch today, hubby made this tasty salad and so I must share-the recipe, not the salad. Sorry, I ate it all because it was so tasty.

Here’s what you’ll need:

boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1/2-1 per person

lemon juice

sea salt


garlic powder

dried or fresh basil

olive oil

pitas (or bread) 1/2 per person

grated parmesan cheese

shredded parmesan cheese

romaine and/or red leaf lettuce


Caesar dressing or whatever dressing you love

red onion

Here’s what you’ll do:

sprinkle both sides of chicken with lemon juice while pricking with a fork

sprinkle with garlic powder, pepper, and sea salt-again on both sides of chicken

next add basil to both sides

cook in a frying pan with a small amount of oil

hubby says be sure to cover with a tight fitting lid (he uses a saucepan lid) to keep the chicken from drying out

cook the chicken on both sides

Cut the chicken breasts into strips

While the chicken is cooking, take some of those frozen pitas out of the freezer. Thaw them slightly. Then cut them into triangles and brush lightly with olive oil. Next sprinkle them with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and grated parmesan cheese. Cook them in a 425 oven until they are golden.

Divide the chicken onto plates of romaine and red leaf lettuce (or whatever lettuce you love, which hopefully is not iceburg). Next crumble the pitas on top of the chicken and then sprinkle with shredded parmesan cheese.

You can make this into a Caesar salad by mixing it all together with caesar dressing. We heartily recommend Newman’s Own Creamy Caesar because it is made with good ingredients and tastes so yummy.

Hubby also likes to add some red onion to his salad. Add whatever you desire

Friday, April 9, 2010

I Fell in Love With France

This is a post from my friend Shauna’s blog, reposted here with her permission. I thought it was too perfect, except I am really envious. -Jen

Let me tell you about how I finally understood Doug + food, the main source of bafflement for me for 25 years.

When we arrived in Angers from Marseille we were met at the train station by Mme. P and her daughter, Anne-Solenne. It was a joyous meeting for me and a reuniting for Doug. I immediately felt loved and welcomed.

Every meal we had with the P’s was an event. The food was real. It was tasty. We ate in courses. And there was always bread. And cheese.

But this is what I went nuts over…

The tarts.

Mme. P made a rhubarb tart. Another day she made a fig tart…

And still another morning I found her in the kitchen putting together a pear tart. She was using her hands to measure the sugar and eye-balling the amount of cream she poured in. I laughed with delight! She wasn’t following a written recipe, she was creating with la joie de la cuisson.

This pear tart sat by the window for a bit,

and later it became this:

I cannot tell you how GOOD this tart was. Oh my. I still think about how good that tart was.

And I’m sure that the reason it was so good is because only a short time before it became a tart, it was doing this in the yard:

And the fig tart? Me? Eating a fig tart? Well, yes. And it was delicious, too. And before those figs became a tart they were also hanging out in the yard:

Ahhhh…the secret to food that tastes good might be that it is REAL food, plucked from its source. *sigh* I wish I had a greener thumb.

On Friday night Mme. P had the two Elders over for dinner which was a lot of fun because Doug was the missionary who taught the P. family twenty-some-odd years ago.

Elder Scotty S. from Scotland:

and Elder Dylan H. from New York:

Notice how everyone is holding a knife? We must have been in the bread and cheese part of the meal.

It was a fun dinner even though I didn’t understand a lot of what was said. Elder S. was very funny and he translated a lot for me.

And Mme. P was a gracious hostess

and it was a very pleasant evening.

On Saturday Mme. P gave us her car so we could go exploring. She also packed us a picnic. I have no words for her generosity and love.

We had our picnic at the Chateau Saumur in the Loire Valley. We had quiche! I know!quiche! in France! at a castle!

It was just too cool.

And more pear tart.

This is what made an impact on me: Meals are an event. Even when the food is simple (which it always was) it was a special time. It was a time to gather and to talk and to sit and relax. Our meals took an hour, or more. We ate in courses. We ate a plate of tomatoes in vinegar with some bread.

Then a plate of meats would be brought out. Or the quiche.

The tray of cheeses always came out.

And always there was bread. Usually a few different kinds.

It was so simple, and it was tasty and filling and artfully arranged

with flowers from the garden at each place setting.

And there were jams and honey and preserves to choose from.

On our last day with the P’s, before we left for Paris, Sis. P had a special cake for us celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary (which was the reason for the trip).

This was from the bakery

and Mme.P lit the candle for us!

And it was soooooo good!

(But I actually liked the pear tart even better. That is how good it was.)

Because I couldn’t do much (any) talking it gave me time to observe and think about things. Here’s what I observed:
1) the food is simple
2) the lifestyle is simple
3) people in France really do have French doors in their house, in the house and leading to the outside
4) everything is small, and that isn’t a problem. The P’s kitchen is smaller than most people’s bathrooms in the US, and yet the best food I’ve ever had came from that kitchen. Realizing that made me feel a little bit embarrassed at how much we supersize things in our culture (cars, houses, kitchens, bathrooms, meals, number of shoes/purses/coats/jewelry). Even our regular houses are much bigger than their regular houses. Its like we are ALL from Texas!

Now I understand Doug + food.
I really do get it.


  1. Ed
    Posted April 9, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Makes me want to go to France.

  2. heathermommy
    Posted April 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I miss France – especially the bread and chocolate. I have this recurring nightmare that we are in France and I keep going to different bakeries and no one has pain au chocolat. It is very disturbing.

    The one thing that was very hard for me in France was their love of pork. Yuck.

    Quiche and tarts are what is all about – just no pork in the quiche!!