Posts filed under ‘baking’

sourdough everything

this pandemic has birthed bakers everywhere, and it’s amazing to see good rising out of a crumby situation. ( *wink* see what i did there?)

aside from replying to the deluge of messages asking how we are doing as a family (thank you for that! an update to follow soon), i also spend my endless quarantine hours responding to messages about sourdough baking.

i think i’ve tried every recipe on the internet over the last year +, and i have composted dozens of lumps of “bread” in my sourdough experiments. there’s a shortage of flour out there (so i hear), so i thought i’d throw down a list of tried and true recipes for anyone who is interested in not wasting precious resources:

first, how to: , or, buy some off of amazon if they have any in stock. if you’re local, i can sanitize a jar and put some starter for you on my porch for pick up. there’s always plenty of starter to share!

second, don’t throw away the poorly named “discard”:

these onion fritters are amazing (and you can bake them at 450° for :15, flipping halfway if you’re trying to avoid gaining the covid 19):

i almost always have jars of this recipe made up and in the fridge. the kids wake up and make themselves pancakes for breakfast/lunchfast:

what is life without bread? i rotate through these two recipes:

and these bagels:

and finally, these two recipes to satisfy my sweet tooth. both of these double as breakfast foods:

hope this list helps all of the sourdough (or aspiring sourdough) bakers out there! if you have a faithful recipe that you’re willing to share, please do!

May 2, 2020 at 14:09 Leave a comment

allergen-free sugar cookies

it’s been almost 4 years since i had to carve out a diet from a stifling list of restrictions.  growing up in a house that always smelled of fresh bread and cookies, meant that giving up gluten was the most difficult of the decisions that i had to make to improve my health.

every christmas, my amazing mom fills freezers and tables with a collection of cookies, breads, pastries, and tarts.  every christmas for the last 4 years, i have stared at the buffet and hated my belly and the restrictions that it has placed on me. 

this year, a friend posted a picture of her gluten-free sugar cookies on instagram, and i was snapped into action.  many of you have commented on the photo that i posted of my own gluten/dairy/soy-free cookies, and with tina’s permission, i am sharing the recipe as requested:

full disclosure: you will hide these cookies from your children, because they are too good to share.

tina’s sugar cookies:

  • ⅔ cup soy-free earth balance (or whatever “butter” you like to use)
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ½ cup potato starch flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum
  • dash of salt. 


  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • water to establish consistency

wrap up dough and chill for at least 2 hours. roll out dough to ½ inch thickness. Bake for about 10 mins at 350° or until edges start to turn golden brown.  dip cookies in glaze once they have cooled. 

my sister posted a copy-cat recipe of my mom’s famous candy cane cookies with gluten & dairy-free revisions. you should definitely check them out too! because i’m lazy and like to multi-task, i sprinkled crushed candy cane dust onto the tops of some of these sugar cookies, and the result was resminiscent of my mom’s cookies! so, you have options :)

December 26, 2016 at 20:27 1 comment

belly-friendly pancakes

 you know what i hate about blog recipes?  the preamble.  let’s go!

⅓ cup pecans

½ cup oats

1 Tbsp chia seeds

¼ cup flaxseed

1 Tbsp plantation sugar

¼ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp cinammon

throw all of that into a blender until the pieces are more or less uniform in size, and it looks like a coarse flour.

then add:

2 eggs

1 overripe banana

and blend it again.  

then you cook it like a pancake! i set my griddle to 375 degrees, and close the lid on it to make it cook faster.   flip after about 3 minutes.  this part is specific to what you have to cook it on.  a frying pan on the stove will work just as well- just keep your eye on it! 

top it with blueberries or maple syrup or both, like i do.  this recipe makes two gigantic pancakes, that will fill you up for the entire day. 

April 23, 2015 at 14:43 Leave a comment

GF/DF apple crisp

i know i haven’t posted anything in an eternity.  the only reason i’m even posting now, is so that i can write down this recipe before i forget it!  i posted a picture of it in my instagram, and have had a couple requests for the recipe, so this is for you too :)  we’ll save the where-i’ve-been, and the why-i-don’t-write-anymore for later!

apple crisp! comfort food!

12-15 cups chopped apple
2/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp milled chia & flax seed.

2/3 cup ground oats
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 cup oats
1/2 cup melted earth balance (or other butter substitute, coconut oil might be good too!)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup brown sugar
about 4 tbsp maple syrup

mix the filling.
cut all topping ingredients into crumble texture with pastry knife
spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray, spill in the apples, top with the crumble.
bake at 350ºF  for 45 minutes.

special notes:
i buy my chia & flax pre-ground, but a coffee grinder would do the trick if you already have seeds.  also, to make the almond and oat “flours”, i put them in a blender and pulsed until they resembled glutiny flour.

let me know if you make this, i’d love to hear feedback!  enjoy!

October 13, 2013 at 22:38 Leave a comment



50% of the time it’s cereal.  i think cereal is genius.  especially the stuff that leaves chocolate milk in your bowl.

elliot loves himself a toasted english muffin with butter and processed cheese.  anne likes to mix milk, cream cheese, and sugar crisp together.  it makes me want to gag, but hey- we all have our preferences.

it has been agreed that crêpes for breakfast, rock.

i’ve made this recipe a couple of times now, and it’s fool-proof.   i use a cast iron frying pan and bit of spray oil; it does the trick.  but who cares about the crêpe itself?  it’s all about the filling!

filling one:  cut up some strawberries, and sprinkle them with sugar.  sometimes i throw blackberries in there as well, it depends on what i have in the fridge that needs to be used up.  leave them overnight.   top the strawberry crêpe with some icing sugar.

filling two: chop up some apples, and shake them up in a bowl with some cinnamon & sugar.  melt butter in a saucepan, and stir your apples in until they’re as tender as you like them.  top this variation with some caramel sauce (which i always have on hand in case i NEED this recipe).

this morning we sat down at the table to pray for our food, and it went like this:

thank you God for family, for sunshine, and for dessert for breakfast.  amen.

April 19, 2012 at 22:11 1 comment

impaired and liberated

so you know how i’m trying to be all self-disciplined for a month and do the fly lady routine?
like seriously, loathe and detest it.  i’ve gone through chocolate-free months and i’d way rather do that than what the fly lady wants me to do.  i totally abandoned her, and so i blame her for my failure.  she’s really not getting any points from me.

aside from how much i abhor getting the fly lady emails (even though i only get one a day now after a few fancy filters were applied to my gmail account), my kids have been sick since the beginning of the month.  basically since we went to great wolf lodge, they’ve been trading one sickness for another and then trading with each other.  so i’ve been trying to keep up with my self-prescribed daily routine but it’s been quite the challenge to get anything extra done around the house.

and aside from ALL THAT! i burned my hand with stove-cleaning chemicals and have been walking around with only a left hand for the last 3 days.  in fact, this is the first day that i can actually handle typing without agony shooting through my fingers.

to take this picture i had to wrap the camera strap around my neck several times and then reach across my body to press the trigger with my left hand.   (also while i was taking the picture my mom phoned me and i nearly strangled myself trying to talk on the phone and remove the strap from my neck at the same time).   my hand transformed into a 90 year-old woman’s wrinkly crusty appendage and the tips of my fingers were eaten away by chemical.  my index finger and thumb lost all sensory perception and pits of open oozy skin formed just under the nails.    don’t bother asking which stove cleaner it was, because i don’t know.  it was given to me by my mom who got it from my uncle roly who sells used appliances and it’s the magic goo that he uses to clean things up for resale.  it resides in a vintage cheese whiz jar with a hand-written warning to wear gloves on it.  i didn’t, and i’m a bone head.

so i’m officially quitting fly lady month.  i stuck to the morning and evening routines, organized several cupboards, cleaned out my van,  decluttered a few rooms, closets, storage areas and i feel like i’ve accomplished enough and i’m ready to move on to something that’ll make me feel successful.   any suggestions for what i should do for the rest of march?  i was thinking of something über-simple that won’t flop if my kids get sick or if i lose another hand- maybe sit-ups every day?

one of the positive things that came from the ordeal of last month, was that i found food in my cupboards that had been awaiting its intended purpose for months (and maybe longer, to be honest).  one of those things was a can of pumpkin purée.  i’m pretty sure i bought it because once julie made a pumpkin roll of some sort and i liked it. that would be when jules still lived in the same region as me- say 4 years ago?  5?   oh.. yeah, didn’t really realize that it had been that long until i typed it out.  canned stuff doesn’t go bad right?  ahem.

just gonna go with the assumption that that stuff doesn’t go bad and press ahead here.  tonight i had to cancel on youth group again because elliot was telling me that his stomach was really sore and that he might puke (but strangely enough he was able to eat a full supper and polish off one of the most amazing brownies ever– please click that link!), so i stayed home and baked.

funny how i got to this tangent because of the canned pumpkin, but you can’t really see it’s fruit in the photo– i apparently inhaled stove-cleaner fumes as well.  anywho… the speckled muffins behind the bread are pumpkin chocolate chip.  the smaller blurrier ones are oatmeal chocolate chip, and what you can’t see is a bag of pumpkin pancake batter to be cooked up for breakfast tomorrow morning.  remember my plug for allrecipes in my last post?  all of those links point to recipes from there.

the bread is amish white bread, and i never make white bread!   part of me is hoping that it tastes great and is thankful for my inability to find whole wheat flour anywhere, and another [much smaller] part of me is hoping that it tastes awful and i’ll thankfully go back to my healthy bread when this stuff is all used up.  i can’t actually vouch for the tastiness of any of these baked goods because i’ve got a tray of those awesome brownies that are demanding all of my mouth’s attention; but everything smelled good and the important thing is that i’ve got 80% of the use of my dominant hand back, the can of pumpkin purée is used up, and i’m done fly lady month!



March 10, 2011 at 23:00 2 comments

easier #2

thing #2 of this series is a website:

you’ve probably been there.  anytime you google a recipe, this is one of the first sites to pop up.   it’s the biggest cookbook ever written, and if you invest in the pro membership, you get to record any changes that you’ve made to the recipe, right in your recipe box.  way tidier than scratching pen in the margins of a traditional cookbook.  my sisters and i actually split the cost of the membership, so we have a group login and it works out really well.

one of the tricks for success with allrecipes, is using the sort tool to find the best rated recipes.  if you have the time and don’t feel like taking risks with the meal, take some time to read the reviews.  the most-helpful comments are right at the top of the list. also, don’t forget to save the recipe to your recipe box!  it’s so frustrating to have an amazing meal and then be unable to find the recipe again.

another great feature of allrecipes, is the option to search for a recipe by ingredients.  click on the “ingredients” link at the top of the page, and you’ll be given an opportunity to input the stuff you have on hand, and leave out stuff that you just can’t stomach (beans!).

there are a few things that i make and they’re sort of  “joan trademarks” but really, i got the recipes from  here they are!

February 28, 2011 at 17:27 1 comment

new series?

i’ve been thinking about making a new weekly installment on my blog.  no idea how long it’ll run, but i’ve got a lot of ideas for this one.  voilà:

without a doubt, the first device that makes my life easier, is a crockpot.  i use it 3 or 4 times a week and it not only saves me time, it saves me money.  i find that dinner time comes at probably the busiest time of the day, and i either don’t have the time, the energy, or the resources to make supper on time.    when evening sets in and the rest of the world is thinking about supper, i’m taking a much-needed break from homeschooling, cleaning, whatever and enjoying the fact that supper is cooking itself.   i even use my crockpot in the summer to keep my house cool, by plugging the appliance into an outdoor outlet and hiding it inside my barbecue to protect my supper.    using my crockpot stops me from ordering in, and from running to the grocery store where i never pick up “just what i need for supper.”

pretty great tool eh?  i’m sure you all have a slowcooking device hidden somewhere, so i’ll share the recipe that’s got all of my facebook friends in a craze lately, and hopefully you’ll start letting this little tool make your life easier as well.

(disclaimer:  this recipe is not my own, it was given to me by a crockpot-loving friend)


INSTANT chocolate pudding
cake mix and the ingredients on the back of the cake box

spray your 4-quart crockpot with cooking spray.  empty the pudding mix into the crock and whisk in the required milk (it’ll say how much on the back of your pudding package, i used a 4-serving package and 2 cups of milk).
mix up your cake batter according to the package directions, and then CAREFULLY pour it over the pudding, being cautious not to mix it.  don’t stir!
you may want to spray the lid before shutting up your crockpot, my cake rose quite a bit.  set the dial to HIGH for 1.5 hours.  the cake is done when it no longer jiggles and you can insert a knife into the middle without goo sticking to it.

a word about crockpots:  they’re all different.  my crockpot cooks hot, and the 1.5 hours was the perfect amount of time.   the first time you make this cake, make sure you give yourself enough time to allow for those differences.   the cake is great hot or cold, and you will definitely want to make this one again and again and again!

February 21, 2011 at 13:29 1 comment

kitchen experiment

i had promised to bring a contribution to the snack table for a surprise party that was being held tonight.  i was going to make my usual famous chocolate chip cookies, but remembered at the last-minute that i’d broken my cookie scoop (making turkey meatballs) last week.  once you’ve used a cookie scoop to make cookies, you can’t go back to using a tablespoon.  it’s just not possible.
so cookies were out, but a suggestion to use graham crackers had my brain storming.
i took some graham crackers and spread nutella on  half of them.  then i cut marshmallows using kitchen scissors, so that they became much more manageable “coins” instead of huge cylinders.  i topped the nutella/marshmallow layers with another graham cracker, and then popped them into the oven on a cookie sheet at 350⁰ for a few minutes.  i don’t remember exactly how long it took, but once the marshmallows started to get gooey i took them out.  i pressed down on the tops of each sandwich until the marshmallow oozed out the side a little bit and the top was stuck firmly in place.

this is what it looked like straight out of the oven.

it was good enough to eat on its own at this point (trust me, i tested that theory) but i wanted the sandwich to look a little tidier, taste a little tastier, and stay together while being consumed.   while the s’mores cooled, i chopped up my 3 bars of hershey’s fondue chocolate that had been sitting in the cupboard with no designated purpose for a few months.  i threw them in a stainless steel bowl and put that over a pot of boiling water.   stirred it up with a spatula, and started dipping.  things got a little messy at this point, and i ran out of the hershey’s chocolate quite quickly.
switching to plan B, i threw 2 tablespoons of shortening into the now-empty bowl, along with 16 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips.  i melted that up and then resumed dipping the rest of the sandwiches.   there was enough chocolate there to do about 25 s’mores, so when i make this again i’ll probably double the dipping chocolate.  and i’ll use milk chocolate instead of semi-sweet, because that just tasted better.  also, it’s worth noting (in case anyone out there wants to attempt these), that i put parchment paper underneath the rack that i put the dipped s’mores on.  that made clean up super-easy.  also i tried several devices for dipping, but the best turned out to be a boring ol’ pair of salad tongues.  and one last pointer:  put these in the fridge to harden up a little after dipping.

not so pretty, but super-tasty!

April 24, 2010 at 22:39 2 comments

my life in pics