an apple a day…


… or two, or three… may just keep the sanity away in some cases!

Let me explain…

Last year, I got a chance to pick a whole slew of apples

(well, okay, I loaded up the kids and we ALL picked a whole slew of apples!)

Then had visions of a years worth of applesauce running through my head…

It was all a very beautiful plan, really, as all plans begin.

We picked, washed, cut, boiled,

Sauced, bottled, and canned.

and after a HARD days work,

I had a whole slew (we’re talking 30+) quarts of good, ole fashioned, homemade applesauce.

I could see it now,

The praises, the admiration,

the mother-of-the-year-award…

So I opened the first bottle (in hindsight, something I kinda, maybe shoulda done right after the first batch!)

and lovingly dished it up for my kids (who LOVE applesauce, BTW!)

and after the first spoonfull,

as if on cue,

they all made that scrunchy-what-is-this-vile-thing-that-has-dared-to-cross-my-lips face

and asked, “Where is the normal applesauce??!”

(scratch the ‘hail to the chief’ intro to the mother-of-the-year award… )

And so, as apple season has come upon us once more,

and I sit here a year later,

and a year wiser,

I still loaded up the kiddos,

still picked a whole slew of apples,

still sliced and diced them,








but this time, I poured ooey, gooey sauce over them

and turned them into:

Apple Pie Filling!








… lots and lots…

of apple pie filling.


So c’mon over, sit a spell –

I’ll whip up a hot apple pie just for you!

… and even offer it with a side of applesauce

(because we also have a years supply of that, after all!)


Potato Plus Soup

I absolutely love seasons. I used to think that I could live in a hot climate for the rest of my life and be truly happy, but this year, for some reason, (probably because I’m not yet neck deep in snow!) I am relishing the changing of the season.
I love waking up to a brisk, fall morning.
I love the colors.
I love the excitement of gearing up for another holiday season (yes, the kiddos already have their Halloween costumes… What can I say, I’m a wee bit obsessed with fall activities!).

I love starting the day with cocoa and toast.
I love coming in from the chilly day to the sight of hot soup on the stove.

So without further adieu… here is the recipe that is the current favorite at our house… adapted from a couple of recipes from my dear friend, Jolene, who made a version of this soup one Christmas Eve for dinner with some of us penniless residents, and then we had our kiddos combine together to put on the Christmas play – such tender memories! I think of that, and of her, every time I make this soup, and think of how lucky I am to be surrounded with such incredible friends in life!

Potato (plus) soup:

2-4 cups of diced potatoes (depending on how much you like potatoes. Being from Idaho… I load it up!)
1/2 cup minced onion
2 quarts water
4 tbsp chicken base (or 6 chicken bouillon cubes)
dash of minced garlic, parsley flakes, salt and pepper
Combine in big pot and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes

In another pan combine:
1/2-3/4 cups carrots (diced)
1 head broccoli, cut
1 1/2 cup water
cook for 15 minutes in small pot

In separate pan:
3/4-1 cup (depending on desired thickness) flour
3 cups milk (divided)
1 cup powdered milk
5 tbsp margarine
1 tsp salt
1 cup velveta cheese, diced
combine flour plus 1 1/2 cups milk, wisk until well blended. Add everything except velveta cheese and heat while stirring until bubbly and thickened.

Remove from heat and add cheese.

— Combine all pots together (pour everything into the potato pot),

and stir to mix.

Try to hold off the troops who are magically drawn to the warm, yummy smelling kitchen – maybe even using is as bait to get them to set the table in order to get a taste :).

(Tastes great when served in bread bowls, either purchased

or homemade…

either one tastes great!
(If you have a bread machine – I have a great recipe for easy rolls – I’ll post it soon!)

This soup freezes great (if there is any left over to freeze… )

Happy Souping!

There’s something that just feels good

about cooking with color!














This recipe was adapted from one given to me by my incredible sister, and has quickly become a family favorite!  It was originally created with meatballs, (which we have had, and the kids have loved…) but I tweaked it a bit to ‘healthify’ it just a bit and make it with chicken instead 🙂

The result?







… well, it was half gone before I could snap a picture of it!


Here’s the (adapted) recipe:

2-4 cups of cooked, chopped chicken (depending on how chicken-y you want it!)  (if using meatballs, one large bag of meatballs – about 64 ct)

Pour into 9×13 pan

make goop:  saute in a little oil:  1 chopped up red pepper, 1 chopped up green pepper, 1/2 cup chopped onion (optional) 1 medium can pineapple tidbits (drained, but save the juice!)

Pour goop over meat

in sauce pan, combine:

1 1/2 cup chicken broth (or chicken stock, or can make with bouillon)

2 1/2 tbsp corn starch

2 tbsp soy sauce

1/3 cup vinegar

1/2 cup pineapple juice (can use the left over from the tid-bits can!)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp salt

Stir and heat until bubbly and thickened

Pour over meat and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (until everything is heated thoroughly


Serve over rice, and try to keep up with the requests for seconds (and thirds…) :).




As requested by my Education Week class today – here is the super crazily written, but super yummy
Better than great harvest bread!

Okay, hold on, don’t get too scared yet – it really is not the CIA encrypted super secret code that my sister insisted it was when I first sent it to her. It basically requires two parts:
1. get the mix together (sugar, powdered milk, yeast, salt… yes, really, that’s ALL), and put it in the freezer.
2. Figure out the ratio that you want to make (okay, maybe this one is a little crazy to figure out, but once you get your ratios down, then you are SET!)… I like to use the 11 inch pan – and that first ratio works great for that one – it also works perfect with this size in a bread machine.
2 1/2. (I can’t get to three, I promised only 2 steps!) Follow the directions to put it together, and whalla – you have super yummy whole wheat bread in under 2 hours!!

Here is a quick rundown of the steps…
(and a quick tip… for extra ‘enhancement’ of the wheat without having to pay the big bucks for gluten enhancers, simply get some dry soy beans and throw a handful in when grinding wheat. If you don’t grind your wheat, no problem, you can trade out a few cups of the wheat flour for white flour if you want it a little bit lighter in texture and densness(is that even a word??)…)

put the amount of the starter that fits with your size of pan into the bread machine (or bosche mixer if you are making a bigger size) (oh, the bosche mixer for some reason only works well with the larger sizes… don’t try to do a one-loaf capacity in it, it will turn out super heavy…)

— Add *hot* water to the starter. Let sponge for 10-15 minutes (or more if you happen to forget about it for a while-ahem…).
— Add flour, mix for about 6-10 minutes (**note for bread machines – some have a built in ‘rest’ cycle that hits between 5 minutes and 10 minutes… if this is what happens in yours, you can set the timer for 20 minutes – or whenever it stops mixing after the rest).

— let raise for 15 minutes… it should look like:

**pour oil onto the counter (really important – putting flour on the counter will make the dough too tough when shaping), and plop dough into it and shape out with hands into a rectangle/square type of shape:

— fold one third into the center:

— fold other third into the center:

— starting in the center of dough, press hand down along dough to squish out bubbles:




— starting from one end, roll up jelly-roll style:

— pinch ends together and squish sides in… you don’t have to be gentle!

Put into (well greased or sprayed) pan:


Place in warm (175) oven for 20 minutes.

When buzzer rings, increase oven temp to 350-355 (depending on your oven heat), bake for 30 minutes.


Take out of oven, and place onto cooking wrack (really important step, soggy bottom-ed bread is not very yummy)

stand back, and say ahhhh 🙂



Call in chillins, cut a slice and watch them smile 🙂



My newest secret weapon…

… which was brought to me by everyday food storage

Within 1 hour, this is all that was left…

of this…

and all of it due to a little mathematics…

… subtract this…

Add this…

(yes, that is a jar of beans)

… only in the recipe, they look more like this:

and suddenly you have a whole lot of this…

Here’s the lowdown…

substitute pureed beans in cake, cupcakes, muffins, etc. cup for cup in place of oil, and just like that you have a super moist, super yummy dessert!

Seriously, our kids gobble this up as fast as it comes out of the oven – their biggest stress is waiting for it to cool enough to not burn their mouths!

Try it… You’ll like it…

(just don’t tell your family all of the nitty gritty details!)