Wednesday, August 18, 2010


There are many bruschetta recipes in this world. This is a simple one I made up last week.

Have you never tried bruschetta? You should. It is very yummy.

I love you, Italy!


4-5 roma tomatoes (with core and seeds removed)

1 small red onion

fresh basil (about 5-8 leaves depending on your preference)

1 clove garlic

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

granulated garlic or garlic powder

artisan bread*

Here’s what you do:

Finely dice tomatoes,onion, garlic, and basil. Mix together in a small bowl. Add about 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and gently combine. If you wish, you may add a little extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oil and let this marinate in the fridge. Just don’t go too crazy. This shouldn’t be liquid-y.

Heat oven to 425 and slice up some yummy artisan bread (French bread-whatever). Brush some olive oil on one side of the bread. Sprinkle with garlic (powder, granulated etc) and salt and pepper. Toast in the oven on the top rack until the bread begins to crisp.

Spoon the tomato mixture on the bread and you have bruschetta!

*Soon I will tell you all about how to make wheat artisan bread ( maybe tomorrow) and you will never be the same.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Jen's Addiction

One of my “favorite” past times is trying to figure myself out. It has been a lifelong pursuit. I still have a lot of figuring out to do. But there are a few things I know for sure. One of them is this: I am a sugar addict.

About 15 years ago I did the unthinkable. I quit eating sugar and I stayed off of the stuff for 5 years. Until my Dad had the nerve to die unexpectedly- which really put me into a tailspin and I turned back to chocolate for comfort. (To read the sad story,click here)

Over the years I have tried to go back to my non-sugary ways. Usually I will make short-term goals. Last Fall I decided to go off of sugar for several weeks, eat any sugar I wanted for 24 hours on Thanksgiving, then back off again until Christmas. It worked well. I felt great and as a side benefit, I lost 10 pounds.

But since then, I have only sunk deeper into my addiction. I seem to have no control.

While I was in the midst of my 5 year absence from a sugar filled life, I had a lot of people kind of mock my decision. The single biggest negative comment I would receive was, “Why don’t you just eat it in moderation?”

The thing is, maybe that would work for someone who is not an addict. But at least in this, I know myself. I really am an addict. Telling me to eat sugar in moderation would be like telling a heroin addict to just shoot up a little bit on the weekends. I really am not exaggerating.

So here I go again. I have been off of sugar for two weeks now. Yes, I went through the withdrawal symptoms. But that has mostly left me and I am feeling pretty good. If you decide you need to root this addiction out of your life you need to give yourself a good two weeks to get the stuff out of your system until you achieve some normalcy.

I will periodically post some of my recipes that I turn to when I am feeling like I need something sweet.

And for all of the rest of you who are lucky enough to be in control of your sugar cravings, I will occasionally post some of my family’s favorite sugar laden desserts.

P.S. Here is a good article on sugar addiction. You should read it. Just sayin’.

One Comment

  1. Jessica
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Jen, you’re a trendsetter. There was an article about sugar addiction on Yahoo! today.

    I became a sugar addict in my early 20′s, after getting married to a man who believed it was absolutely essential to eat dessert after dinner every day. I keep telling myself that I’ll have dessert just once a week. That never happens. Maybe I need to go cold turkey, too.

    I admire your fortitude. Good luck!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Cookies

Versions of this recipe have been floating around on the internet for years now. I got this one from my sister-in-law a few years back. Most of the time they are referred to as Texas Governors Mansion Cookies or Laura Bush’s Cowboy Cookies. I do not know anyone else that calls them Texas Chainsaw Massacre Cookies. I made that name up myself-much to my family’s chagrin.

“Why do you call them that, Mom?”

Simple. Whenever I eat these cookies I cannot control myself. Therefore it is like taking a chainsaw to my diet. It rips it to shreds. Seeing the number on the scale after indulging makes me feel like I am in a really bad horror movie.

But you can eat them if you want.

Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. As my sister-in-law would say, “These are high octane”

When I am feeling extra generous I make them for my family. My husband practically does a jig. These are his very favorite cookies in the world.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre Cookies

3 cups flour ( I use 2 cups wheat, 1 cup white)

1 Tbl baking powder

1 Tbl baking soda

1 Tbl cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups butter ( at room temp) -that is 3 sticks, but you can replace one of them with a 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 1/2 cups sugar ( I use raw, organic)

1 1/2 cups packed Pure Cane Brown Sugar

3 eggs

1 Tbl vanilla

3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips ( I use dark, however)

3 cups rolled oats

2 cups coconut flakes

2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350. Mix flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, and salt together. In a another bowl, beat the butter until smooth and creamy-about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugars-beat for about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla. Stir in the flour until just combined. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 17 -19 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. Cook until the edges are lightly browned. Cool these gigantic cookies, then eat them, and and enjoy life.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies OR you can make 6 dozen smaller cookies by using 2 tablespoon dough for each cookie and reduce cooking time to about 15 minutes.

It is almost the weekend. You can use Michael Pollan’s advice and only eat sweets on the days that start with “S”. I tried that and it hasn’t been working. So for now, I am off sugar-again! So none of these cookies for me. I will fill you in on a later post.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Indian Fried Bread

No eggs? No milk? No problem!

This is the breakfast food I turn to when we run out of the staples-which sometimes happens because I am kind of disorganized like that.

My Mom has been making this recipe since I was a little girl. Of course, I made some slight modifications to make it a little more healthy.

But my kids love to smother these in honey butter, which kind of defeats the purpose of me using wheat flour.

I recently tried frying these in coconut oil (cold-pressed, extra-virgin) because that is supposedly a healthier oil to use. At least according to my sister. The kids didn’t even notice a difference and I thought they tasted great! Frying foods should always be the exception rather than the rule however.

Powdered milk is not-too-great for you either so if you have milk, use that.

Indian Fried Bread

2 cups flour ( I use 1 2/2 cups wheat, 1/2 c white)

1 tsp salt

1 Tbl baking powder

1/4 c dry milk plus 1 cup warm water


1 c warm milk

Oil for frying

Mix dry ingredients together and then add liquid. The dough should be sticky but not so much that you can’t work with it. Tear off about 1 1/2 inch ball of dough-it won’t really look like a ball though. Dip it into some flour, then gently stretch it out so it doubles in length. Repeat the process until you get enough pieces to fill up the frying pan. Cook in hot oil turning once so that both sides are a golden brown. You will repeat this several times, adding more oil as needed until all the dough is used. This whole process goes pretty quickly.

I usually triple this recipe for my large family.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Salmon Patties

You may wonder how my life as a pseudo-vegetarian is going. Well, just fine. Thanks for asking. Tonight the family attended a party at the lake and there were hamburgers and hot dogs to be had. The kids loved it. My husband and I chowed on salad and chips & salsa and fruit. And oh yeah, the delicious tilapia we brought along with us and threw on the grill. Do you think that was rude to bring our own meat of the fish variety? I hope not.

If you ever want to grill tilapia, marinate it in some olive oil, lemon juice, and some Kirkland brand Organic No-salt seasoning. Oh my, I love that stuff. Cook it to flaky perfection and then eat it on a bun with some lettuce and tomato. Wow! I swear it was better than a hamburger. But my kids disagree.

But this isn’t that recipe.

This is Salmon.

This is a dish that we also love when we feel like we need some protein. It is super fast and easy and yummy. I actually do not love Salmon but I am trying to love it. But I can say in all honesty, I love this recipe. There are no leftovers when I make this.

Salmon Patties

14 oz. canned salmon, drained

3/4 C bread crumbs or crackers

1/4 C onion, finely chopped

1/4 C red pepper, finely chopped

1 Tbl olive oil

1 egg

1 Tbl lemon juice

1/2 tsp dill weed

salt and pepper

Mix salmon and crumbs. Set aside.

Cook onion and pepper in oil until tender (about 5 minutes)

Add to salmon and mix gently

Add dill weed, egg, lemon juice, and salt and pepper and mix

Add a little more oil to frying pan. Form mixture into patties and cook about 4-5 minutes on each side

Makes about 10-12 patties

We ate the patties with quinoa and steamed zucchini, carrots, and onion. It was delicious. And I felt so healthy after eating it. In a good way.


  1. Becca
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    Good Job, Aunt Jenny! And to think you use to roll your eyes at me for being a vegetarian..:p

    • Posted August 13, 2010 at 8:48 am

      Becca, I wasn’t rolling my eyes. I have eye spasms.

  2. Jessica
    Posted August 11, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    Well, I had biscuits and sausage gravy for dinner. But they were homemade, at least. :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Friday, August 6, 2010

Black Bean Burritos

Now that we are being vegetarians for the next several weeks, I have started using this recipe again.

After we ate them I wondered why I waited until summer to make them again.

They are super good. And of course super good for you. Black beans are a super food and you should eat lots of them.

I am just sayin’….

I love this super easy recipe. Especially with lots of cheese, pico de gallo, a side of rice, and stacks of romaine lettuce.

Black Bean Burritos

2 cans black beans (or about 3 cups cooked beans)

1/4 c dehydrated onion flakes* or about 1/2 of an onion, chopped

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 Tbl chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 Tbl oil

1 can (14.5 oz) diced Mexican flavored tomatoes ( or equivalent fresh with a splash of lime juice and a few sprigs of cilantro)

1/4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp died oregano

1/4 tsp salt

* You reconstitute the onion flakes by adding them to a 1/4 cup very hot water. Let them sit for about 5 minutes.

Combine the onion, garlic powder, chili powder, and cumin in hot oil. Stir in undrained beans, undrained tomatoes, lemon, and oregano.

Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes, uncovered.

Serve these on warm tortillas. We like to eat them on heated corn tortillas-and of course-smothered in cheese!


One Comment

  1. Posted August 6, 2010 at 8:33 am

    I am super excited to try this out! It sounds really good and I am a huge fan of black beans and can eat them right from the can! Thanks for sharing your “meatless meal” it is going to make its way to my menu, I am sure of it.