Thursday, January 31, 2013

Homemade Cloth Diaper Detergent {Homemade Cleaning Products}

Okay, so I realize that this is not a food recipe...and this is a food blog, but I have had so many people ask for my cloth diaper detergent recipe that it would be easy just to direct them here, so here goes:

1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 cup oxi-clean baby

That's it! Just mix them together and add 1-2 tablespoons per load! I always dry my diapers in the sun so any stains that may remain come right out! Easiest trick in the book!

And, just for fun, my lovely Applecheecks out on the line after a wash with this detergent!

Butterscotch Chip Oatmeal Cookies

After dinner last night we were looking for something sweet so I looked online for recipes that I had everything for and came up with this oatmeal cookie. I didn't have chocolate chips so I decided to try it with butterscotch chips and see how it went...

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats and butterscotch chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

These turned out even better than I could have expected! They were chewy and sweet, and even a little salty! The recipe makes 3 1/2 dozen, so expect to share!

Venison Cube Steak with Mushroom Sherry Sauce

In looking for recipes to try with all of the deer we currently have in the freezer I came across this from Eating Well. I changed it up a little just based on what I had on hand and it was delicious!

  • 1 pound of venison cube steaks
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup sherry cooking wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream 


  1. Sprinkle steaks with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add steaks and cook, turning once, until browned and cooked through, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the steaks to a plate and cover to keep warm.
  2. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add mushrooms, onion and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring, until the mushrooms are golden brown and release their liquid, 4 to 5 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add sherry and broth; bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until thick, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in sour cream. Return the steaks  to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Serve the steaks with the sauce.
This was a hearty main dish but the meat stood up well to the sauce because deer is such a flavorful meat. The deer was crispy even through the sauce. Pair with southern style green beans for an amazing southern meal!

Southern Style Green Beans

This is a household staple for us, it is delicious and goes with so many things to complete a meal!


  • 1/4 lb. bacon, cut in 1 1/2" strips
  • 2 cups chicken broth (I swear I will post my recipe next time I make it!)
  • 2 cups water (my stock is super flavorful, if you use the store-bought you might want to use all 4 cups of chicken stock)
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs. fresh green beans, with end snapped off
  1. Saute onion and bacon over medium high heat in a medium pot for 7-10 minutes, until onions are translucent. The bacon does not need to be crispy.
  2. Add chicken stock, water and beans and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until beans are tender.
That's it! You can tell the beans are fresh because they retain a little of their crispness and the bacon, onion and stock make them homemade!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creamy Butternut Squash Shells and Cheese

I had about a quarter of a box of pasta shells leftover from a while back and I decided it was time to get them out of my pantry, so I came up with a healthy way to use them! This makes two side dish servings, but you can multiply as needed.

  • 4 oz. whole wheat pasta shells
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1/4 onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 oz. sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, halved, seeded & chunked (about 3/4 pounds)

  1. Boil butternut squash 10-12 minutes, until fork tender. Remove from water, retaining water to boil pasta shells according to package directions. Puree butternut squash in a food processor until creamy.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute garlic and onion until onion is translucent (about 7 minutes). Add flour and cook one minute.
  3. Add milk and 3/4 of the cheese and stir until melted. Add in butternut squash and pasta shells.
  4. Move into an oven safe dish and add remaining cheese to the top. Bake in preheated oven 12 minutes until heated through.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Baked Stuffed Avocados

I saw a picture of this online a while back but couldn't find a good recipe for it so I decided to make one of my own! Josh and I both enjoyed it thoroughly and it was fairly easy to make as well!
  • 1 whole avocado, halved & pitted
  • 1/6 cup onion, diced
  • 1/6 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/4 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup tomato, finely diced

  1. Preheat oven to 350*
  2. Remove avocado flesh fresh the skin leaving about 1/8" of flesh behind. Do this using a spoon, just don't scoop it all out.
  3. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Saute bell pepper, onion & garlic for about 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
  4. Mash together avocado flesh, cheese, rice, and saute'd vegetables and half of the cheese. Fill hollowed avocados with this mixture. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, until center is warm and cheese is melted.
  6. Top with diced tomato.

 This is an insanely healthy, incredibly delicious lunch or brunch that can be prepared in a cinch!

Chicken Pot Pie (From Scratch!)

After just getting over a stomach bug and eating soup and soup alone for two days, we were starting to feel more like ourselves, but not quite ready for a super heavy meal. Insert: Chicken Pot Pie! 

I used this recipe as the backbone, making it my own as I went. I also made my own crust rather than buying a pre-made one...I wish now that I had whole wheat flour on hand, but I was out.

Ingredients (for the crust):

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water
  1. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. 
  2. Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape the dough mixture into two disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
  3. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. Trim dough to fit pie dish.
  4. Add filling to the pie.
  5. Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.
For the filling:

  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
  • 1 cup sliced carrots (I used a bit more because I love carrots!)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/2 cup sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth (I used homemade here, will post a recipe)
  • 2/3 cup milk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
  2. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside.
  3. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Place the chicken mixture in bottom pie crust. Pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

The homemade broth really gives this pot pie a hearty flavor, and it is the perfect amount of crust to filling ratio!

Bear Pancakes - First Day at the Zoo!

To celebrate Josh's first trip to the zoo last month we decided to make him a special breakfast: bear cub pancakes!

I started out with a basic whole wheat pancake recipe (I made my own buttermilk using this).


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup wheat germ
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. In a food processor or in a large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, white flour, wheat germ or oats, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar, and salt.
  2. Cut the butter into small pieces with a knife, and add the butter to the flour-mixture. Mix until the mixture has a sand-like consistency.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, and add the buttermilk and eggs. Stir until the liquids are fully incorporated.
  4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and grease the surface with 1 tablespoon of butter or oil. Ladle the batter onto the surface to form 4 inch pancakes. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over, and cook them on the other side for about 2 minutes.
For the bear: Make one larger and two smaller round pancakes, layer the larger one on top of the two smaller to make a bear with ears!
For the mouth: Roll up bacon into a bear-mouth(ish) shape and fry it until crispy.
For the eyes: Separate an egg and place small dollups of white into a hot frying pan followed by even smaller dollops of yolk. Cooked this over medium heat sunny-side-up until the yolk is cooked through. 
For the tie: Slice 2 strawberries not quite all the way through and fan out. Use a smaller fruit as the knot (we had pomegranate seeds, but blueberries would work as well!

Sure, he looks a little funky, but this was really just a test run for us for when Josh gets older! Hope you (and your kids!) enjoy!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reese's Smore's!

Shrimp & Broccoli Slaw Wraps

I came up with this one out of the blue because I was trying to find something new & delicious for lunches! I ate it for a week straight!


For the shrimp:
7 shrimp, deveined & peeled
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lime juice

For the salad:
1 tsp. sugar-free mandarin juice
4 mandarin slices
1 cup broccoli slaw
1 tsp. olive oil
.5 tsp red wine vinegar 
1/8 avocado
1 tsp. mayonaisse
1 tsp. lime juice
1 wrap

1. Combine shrimp ingredients and saute for 5 minutes or until shrimp is pink.
2. Combine salad ingredients in a separate bowl.
3. Layer in the wrap & enjoy!

It was the perfect amount of spice & sweet and absolutely perfect!

Dairy Free Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 ripe banana
1.5 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 cup ice

Blend until creamy & enjoy!

Vegetable Linguine Pesto


2oz. spinach linguine
1/4 red bell pepper, sliced
3 mushrooms, sliced
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 onion, sliced
1 link chicken sausage, sliced
1.5 tbsp pesto


1. Boil pasta according to package directions, drain, reserving 1 tbsp. water
2. Saute vegetables and sausage for 7 minutes until tender and browned, excluding spinach
3. Add 1 tbsp. pasta water to vegetables and add spinach, cook for 1 minute.
4. Add pasta and pesto and saute until combined.

General Tso's Chicken

3 cups broccoli florrets
2 cups brown rice, prepared
1 whole chicken
1 cup General Tso's sauce

1. Roast whole chicken in oven at 350 for about an hour or until the juices run clear.
2. Pull about 2 cups of chicken off of the bone (save the rest for chicken salad)
3. Saute broccoli in olive oil for about 7 minutes.
4. Add General Tso's sauce and chicken and combine.
5. Serve over rice.
This is a mildly sweet but tangy dish that is great to satisfy a chinese craving more healthily at home!

Oatmeal and Banana Dairy Free Pancakes

This is an old recipe, from back when I was dairy free for Josh. I found it here.

  • 2 cups rice, almond, or oat milk 
  • 1-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 eggs — beaten 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil [use canola, extra-ligh olive, coconut, or grapeseed oil for soy-free] 
  • 1 ripe banana — mashed with a fork

  1. In bowl, pour milk over rolled oats; let stand for 5 to 10 minutes. 
  2. In another bowl, stir together flours, wheat germ, sugar, baking powder, and salt. 
  3. Beat eggs, oil, and banana together; add to dry ingredients along with milk/oats mixture, stirring just until mixed (if batter is too thick, add a little more milk). 
  4. Heat a large greased skillet over medium to medium-high heat or a griddle to 350ºF. 
  5. Pour in about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake and cook for about 3 minutes or until bubbles on top break but do not fill in, and bottoms are golden and set. 
  6. Turn over and cook for about 30-60 seconds longer, or until nicely set and golden brown. 
  7. Hold pancakes in a 200ºF oven until ready to serve.

Macaroni & Cheese

Let me tell you…my husband makes some YUMMY Mac & Cheese! We decided to make this for Sean’s birthday party…and, of course, it was a hit! It wasn’t quite as creamy & cheesy as normal, but it was still quite tasty! More gourmet, if you will

  • 7 tbsp. butter
  • 4 tbsp. flour
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 3 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound box macaroni
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. Melt butter on medium low heat.
  2. Add flour and cook 5-10 minutes, until it smells like almonds
  3. Add salt & pepper
  4. Slowly add milk & 3 cups cheddar cheese
  5. Cook pasta according to package directions
  6. Combine cooked and drained pasta to cheese mixture
  7. Put in a 9×13″ casserole dish (Note that there may be extra, this is okay, just put in another smaller casserole dish)
  8. Combine 1 cup shredded cheese, 1/3 cup breadcrumbs & 1 tbsp olive oil with a fork in a small bowl & sprinkle on top.
  9. Bake at 350* for 25-30 minutes