Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Crockpot Mashed Potatoes

5lbs. peeled white potatoes(if you use red or golden then they taste better if you leave the skins on)
2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup butter, cubed
Salt & Pepper, a few red chili flakes, 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary, 1 Tbl. minced dried onions

Spray the crockpot with non-stick spray.  Add potatoes and pour chicken broth/stock over them.  Put the butter over the top randomly, sprinkle generously with salt(about 2 tsp.) and pepper, sprinkle the red pepper flakes over and the minced onion.  Cook on High for 4 1/2 hours.

Mash potatoes with a masher, adding in
milk as needed(about 2 cups)
1/4 cup butter(or more)
1 stick of cream cheese(1 8oz. package)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
more salt and pepper to taste

Turn off or on "warm" until ready to serve.

Note:  I've seen several recipes online and this is just the way I ended up doing the mashed potatoes.  They can get "dense" so just add a little more milk and/or butter and mash again.  But the more you mash them up the stickier and starchier they will get.  And if you add sour cream to dishes that are too hot, it will curdle and look disgusting. Purely eye appealing reason for why I opt not to add the sour cream, they're still fine though.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Drunken Wild Rice and Devil Chicken (Slow Cooker, Gluten-Free)

Have you tried a dish that made you dream about it?  The kind that you can't get out of your head until you get to eat it again?  Mushroom Risotto does that to me.  

I was throwing together some wild rice, chicken pieces, onions, etc.... into the slow cooker yesterday, and wowzers!  It filled the fill.  And, surprisingly, NO mushrooms.  So, this is what happens when you combine 2 recipes into one.   Don't judge, the alcohol cooks out, and the flavor, the FLAVOR, cannot, mmmmmmmmm. Leftovers were even better than last night.  

3 cups Bob's Red Mill Wild Rice Mix, rinsed
1 large red onion, chopped fine
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
2 Swanson Vegetable Flavor Boost Packets(if you are highly sensitive to gluten this could be a trigger)
   or Wyler's Gluten Free Vegetable bullion cubes, dissolved in a small amount of water
1 recipe SOS Mix, prepared(equals 1 can cream of chicken soup)
2 cups red wine
1 cup water
2 Tbl. minced garlic
2 lbs. boneless/skinless chicken breast and thigh combo pack
Devil Chicken Spice Mixture
     2 Tbl. Paprika
     1 tsp. ground fennel seed
     1 tsp. All-Purpose Spices
     Pepper to taste

Grease the inside of slow cooker crock.  Add rice, onion, artichoke hearts, flavor boost, SOS Mix(prepared), red wine, water, and garlic.  Mix gently.  Generously rub chicken breasts and thighs with spice mixture and layer on top of rice.  Start with chicken breasts and layer thighs on top if needed.  Cook on low 8-10 hours.  

Soup or Sauce [S.O.S.] Mix
2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk3/4 cup cornstarch1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon (regular or low sodium)
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a recloseable plastic bag, mixing well.
Equal to 9 (10.5 oz) cans of cream soup.

Combine 1/3 cup with 1 1/4 cup cool water in a sauce pan.  Bring to boil stirring often, until thickened.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Where's Our Luggage?

That's the question of the day!  Still waiting for it to get back from Alaska.

Mr. D and I went on a short 2 day cruise last week.  We gave our luggage to the right person, we got on the ship and our luggage got on A ship, just not OUR ship.  Our luggage was finally found on a the other ship which was going on a 10 day cruise to Alaska.  It should dock on Wednesday(5/23) back in San Francisco and Princess assures me they will FedEx our bags straight to my house.  Crossing my fingers as I keep discovering things we're missing.

In the mean time you can follow it on the ship's bridge cam HERE.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sesame Ginger Dressing

2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1/3 cup light flavored oil(I used a light flavored extra virgin olive oil)
1/3 cup raw agave syrup
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
6 drops doTerra Ginger Essential Oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients in a shaker or blender and mix well.  Refrigerate any unused dressing.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Lime & Cilantro Blender Salsa

To a Blender Add:
1 medium onion rough chopped
2 jalapeno peppers rough chopped(leave seeds if you like heat)
2 cloves garlic pressed

Pulse until finely diced or minced.

2 14.5 cans petite diced tomatoes
1 14.5 can of tomatoes with green chilies(or rotel)
1 14.5 can of Italian stewed tomatoes
2 Tbl. Brown Sugar
1-2 tsp. kosher salt(to taste)
1 generous tsp. cumin
½ tsp. red chili flakes
4 drops doTerra Lime Essential Oil
4 drops doTerra Cilantro Essential Oil(depends on taste)

Pulse and blend until you like the consistency.  Taste test of course and add more doTerra oil or spices to your liking.  This makes just over 2 qts., which still does not last long in our house.  Store in the refrigerator.

I don't have a picture yet, I will later though :)

To order doTerra oils from me, go HERE.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

UPDATED St. Patrick's Day Dinner

I remembered to take pictures this year!  I made a few tweaks and changes, but nothing major.   And I almost forgot to take a picture of the plated dinner!  Sorry about the quality.

 Corned Beef

 Remove seasoning packet, rinse, and set it aside for later.  Trim off all excess fat and rinse brisket.  Dry off with paper towel.  Heat a small amount of olive oil in a dutch oven on high.  Season both sides with a generous sprinkling of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper.  Sear both sides of brisket for 8-10 minutes, or until the brisket no longer sticks to the bottom of the pan.  This ensures it's been caramelized properly.

 I have used regular and non-alcoholic beer.  This year the beer guy was stocking Amber flavored O'doul's and I asked him what the difference was.  He said he had no clue, he doesn't drink alcohol either.  LOL  So, I thought I'd give it a try.  It was a good decision.  This had a richer, yet lighter flavor.

Cut open the seasoning packets and pour in a microwave proof bowl.  I microwaved 3 times in increments of 30 seconds on high.  This helps bring out the oils from the peppercorns and mustard seeds, and everything else yummy in there.  I think I could smell fennel or caraway as well.  MMMmmmmm.  Sprinkle evenly over the bottom of a large roasting pan.  (I used foil this time just for easier clean up.)  Add a few bay leaves to the pan too.

Heat the oven to 275'.   Remove seared briskets and place over seasonings in large pan.

Pour 2 12oz. bottles of non-alcoholic beer over briskets.

 Cover with foil and place on bottom rack of oven for several hours.  When done, cut across the grain to ensure the most tender bites.  I cooked the veggies and bread below after the Corned Beef was removed from the oven.  It needs to rest anyways.

 Roasted Root Veggies
This year I tried a few new veggies.
3 peeled and diced parsnips
4 peeled and diced carrots
2 lbs. button mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, cut in half
8 cleaned and diced red potatoes
1 large, peeled, diced, sweet potato
1 large onion large diced

Add all veggies to an extra large bowl. 
Sprinkle generously with kosher salt, all purpose seasoning, dried parsley, fresh ground pepper, celery seed, and about 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil. 

With clean hands or gloves, toss vegetables well to coat all pieces with seasonings and oil.  Pour into a very large, deep pan sprayed with non-stick spray or coated with olive oil.  Bake at 450 for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through.  


Remove outer layer of leaves and trim stem if needed.  Do not remove the core, this will hold the wedges together for baking.  Cut into 8- wedges with core still intact.  Place in a greased roasting pan.  Drizzle with a few DROPS of olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and a drizzle of the braising liquid from the Corned Beef.  Roast uncovered for 20-30 min. in a 450' oven.  (I did this at the latter part while roasting the other vegetables.)

Beer Bread:
This is the recipe I used.  LINK HERE  Because I used non-alcoholic beer I added 2 1/4 tsp. of active dry yeast and it came out beautifully.  I thought at first that I had burned the bread, however, if you drizzle the butter over the bread before baking, like the recipe calls for, it does turn a dark brown.  But, it's more of a "browned butter" flavor, vs. burned.  It's a very yummy, deep flavor.  And of course, serve with butter on the side.

Copy/Paste of the Recipe:


  • 3 cups flour (sifted)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (omit if using Self-Rising Flour)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) can beer
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (1/4 cup will do just fine)


Prep Time: 3 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients and beer.
  3. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
  4. Pour melted butter over mixture.
  5. Bake 1 hour, remove from pan and cool for at least 15 minutes.
  6. UPDATED NOTES: This recipe makes a very hearty bread with a crunchy, buttery crust. If you prefer a softer crust (like a traditional bread) mix the butter into the batter instead of pouring it over the top.
  7. Sifting flour for bread recipes is a must-do. Most people just scoop the 1 cup measure in the flour canister and level it off. That compacts the flour and will turn your bread into a "hard biscuit" as some have described. That's because they aren't sifting their flour! If you do not have a sifter, use a spoon to spoon the flour into the 1 cup measure. Try it once the "correct" way and you will see an amazing difference in the end product.
  8. I have had many email from you kind folks about using non-alcoholic beverages instead of beer. That is fine to do but I highly recommend adding a packet of Dry Active Yeast or 2 teaspoons of Bread (Machine) Yeast so that you get a proper rise.
  9. The final result should be a thick, hearty and very tasteful bread, NOT A BRICK! ;).
  10. Thank you all for the incredibly nice comments and those of you who left a bad review - learn to sift sift SIFT! You will be amazed at the results you get.
Mustard Sauce:
SUPER easy!!!  Mix 2-3 Tbl. dijon with horseradish style mustard with 1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt(non-fat versions work fine), and 1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce.  Use this to top your meat or veggies.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunshine Breakfast Smoothie

1 Grapefruit, peeled, seeds removed
6 Cuties(mandarins), peeled
2 Bananas, peeled and cut
1 cup frozen Blackberries
1 cup frozen Raspberries
8-10 Mint Leaves
4-6 drops of doTerra Citrus Bliss

Pulse a few times and then puree.  Makes 2 large, creamy smoothies.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sewing a Perfect Seam

Blue painters tape is fantastic, but even better, Molefoam!  It gives an excellent ridge for the edge of your material.  One of my students commented that it would leave a residue behind, but if you use painters tape WITH the Molefoam there is no residue.  When sewing 1/4" seams, this is especially nice to have!

Molefoam from Walmart foot section, and this was a little thicker than what I'm used to buying, it was perfect.

Peel back the backing on the Molefoam and lay the non-sticky side of some painters tape on it.  Trim the edges and along the edge of the tape.

Stick the blue sticky side down along the guide on your sewing machine.

Put your presser foot down so you get as close to the needle as possible but without placing over the feeds.

See?  Perfect 1/4" seam.

When you're not using it, just stick it on the side of your machine.  When the tape wears out, you can just replace it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Fiesta Rice Bowls

This can be done in the slow cooker, or since I was late thinking about dinner, the pressure cooker!  I have one of those nifty and cool electric pressure cookers that I use several times a week now!  Very happy with my investment.

Start cooking your rice(yes, it goes this quick).

Add to the pressure cooker:
2 lbs. cubed cooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar of your favorite salsa(I used 2 cups home canned)
Cook 10 minutes on 40 psi in your pressure cooker.  If you are using a slow cooker, I'd estimate about 2 hours on high.

When pressure has been released, add:
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 small package frozen sweet yellow corn
1 8oz. pkg. lower fat cream cheese(do not use fat free)
Candied Jalapenos if you like, or any other additions such as olives, diced chilies, etc....
Bring pressure back up to 40psi and cook another 10 minutes.  Release pressure and stir well.  Keep on warm until ready to serve.

Serve over brown or white rice with toppings such as shredded cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, salsa, guacamole, green onions, crushed chips, etc....