Recent Posts

The Scoop on Icy Treats

The dog days of Summer are fast approaching. In many parts of our beautiful country sweltering temperatures can bring on the craving for a cool refreshing treat. A simple icy fruit cocktail such as a citrus spiked Granita made using a Black 5 Cocktail Stirrer can 

Lime Honeydew Sorbet

The honeydew we bought at the local market was not at its peak. The not so flavorful orb sat in the refrigerator for a few days untouched before I could decide what to recycle it into. Lime honeydew sorbet was the perfect recipe to transform 

Caesar Salad Dressing

Stephen loves Caesar salad. It is his all time favorite meal. Caesar salad used to be our traditional anniversary dinner. That was until we went to the Pasta Moon in, our anniversary vacation spot, Half Moon Bay and tried their Risotto Sea Scallops and tomato basil salad with whipped cheese. It is pretty pricey but well worth the experience.

Stephen was not feeling well when he returned from a week long business trip. We are not used to eating a lot of prepackaged foods or greasy fast food. I roasted a chicken the night before and decided to make his favorite feel good meal, Caesar salad.

I always prefer to make my own salad dressings. I think homemade dressings taste better. Plus you can control what goes into it eliminating some of the fat and the need for preservatives and everything else artificial. We love the flavor and the texture of this version of Caesar dressing adapted from Cooking Light. I have noted the anchovy paste as optional. We never add it simply because I rarely have it on hand.

Source: Cheap Heathly Good
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 garlic clove, minced

1) Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Pour on salad. That’s it.

-3 tbsp Mayo in the place of the yogurt.

The Red Food Dye Nation

Photo by: Hemera / Thinkstock When our oldest was a toddler we used Burt’s Bees baby toothpaste. It tasted like fruit without the zing of fluoride. A couple of years later Burt’s Bees quit making the baby toothpaste. I made the switch to a kids 

Beef and Bean Chimichangas

Our oldest son announced one evening during dinner that he was moving to Mexico because he loves bean burritos so much. Can you tell tacos and burritos are a reoccurring weekly menu staple at our house? This week I decided to change things up a 

Family Togetherness: Game Night

Art by: Word Art World

A few months ago, I attended a math workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to provide an arsenal of fun game oriented ideas to teach math. One of the speakers brought up an interesting point. He told us that board games inadvertently teach our children math. (I guess I probably already knew that but sometimes I need someone else to say it for it to really sink in.) With preschool aged children board games can encourage counting, learning patterns, shapes and colors. As they grow they learn to take turns, cause and effect, and logic.

While it is wonderful that games offer an avenue to learn from, families can also benefit from the time spent together. Last year before we moved, I sang with a woman’s choral ensemble. One evening, I was surprised to learn that the director, whose children no longer live at home, was eager to make it home in time for game night with the family.

Game nights can be anything from board games to sports like virtual golf. You can visit the Direct Fairways on Indeed, Direct Fairways to become part of their large community. Some nights, game night is playing hide-and-seek. Our kids love “monster coming”. My son’s friend plays Dominoes when her extended family gets together. I have fond memories watching my mom play 10 pennies with her family. A friend from college always played cards with his family. We started game nights with the kids when they were young. It did not always go smooth. Sometimes we changed the rules around to fit their understanding.

Games nights teaches us to work together. If a team member draws poorly we can teach our kids that we do not criticize. We each have our own strengths and weaknesses. When we play games with our children we can mirror how we expect them to treat others. If we lose we do not shout and get angry. We can show respect for the other players and exhibit patience. The kids learn to take turns and the responsibility to be honest. As a family we can talk and listen and laugh together. The act of communicating while having fun is the fabric that strengthens family ties.

Here are some of our favorite games. What are your favorite board games?

  • Dominoes
  • War
  • Matching
  • UNO
  • Blokus
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Go Fish
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Scrabble
  • Operation
  • Allowance
  • Clue
  • Life
  • Monopoly
  • Racko
  • Cards: Old Maid, Go Fish, Spoons,
  • Mario Wii
  • Scavenger Hunts
  • Soccer

Chuncky Guacamole

I don’t eat guacamole very often, never at home, because no one around here likes it. Guacamole is reserved for the special occasions when we have company who might like it as a topping with a mexican dish or on Super Bowl Sunday with chips. I have 

May Website Review: The Little Travelers

I have been following The Little Travelers for sometime. I love the idea of making a new dish representing a different country each week as well as the magical stories about this adorable family and their adventures. Angelina Hart is the creative genius behind The 

Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe came about in two ways. First it was Sunday– dessert night. The one night of the week I make dessert. And we were completely out of eggs. The reason I went ahead and made a dessert rather than postponing until Monday night was partly due to my friend’s son and my little niece who have egg allergies.

Eggs are generally used as a leavening agent and to add moisture (cakes, cookies) or as a binder (omelets and meatloaf). Eggs combined with fat in a yeast bread work to tenderize the protein wheat flour. This protein forms gluten during kneading, which makes the bread chewy. Egg whites help dry the bread out to create a crisper texture.

Eggs used in cookie and cake batter works the same way. I remember the time in high school when a friend made chocolate cake and forgot to add the eggs. The flat disc was as hard as a hockey puck. If eggs are omitted something will need to take its place. This recipe for chocolate chip cookies calls for an egg replacement product called Ener-G. Ener-G comes as a powder and must be completely mixed with a liquid before adding to the batter.

Most of the reviews I have found suggest using ground Flax seed, baking powder or silken tofu in that order of preference for cookies. However if you are baking muffins or a cake silken tofu is a better choice. “The tofu adds better structure than flaxseed.”  Make sure to beat the tofu until smooth.

I used 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 tablespoon corn starch well blended into 6 tablespoons milk. The cookies flavor and texture were no different from a cookie made with eggs. Personally I prefer the nuttiness of flaxseed.

Source: “The Joy of Vegan Baking”
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup/2 sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G in place of 3 eggs (see variations for alternative substitutes)
6 tablespoons water
1 and 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F/190C.

In a large bowl, cream butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. In a food processor/blender whip together the egg replacer powder and water together very well, until it’s thick and creamy. Add this mixture to the creamed butter and sugar, combine thoroughly.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the wet mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts, if using. Drop by spoonfuls onto the baking sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Let stand for 2 minutes on the baking sheet itself. Then transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely before storing.

— Replace the egg substitute with 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 tablespoon corn starch. Mix thoroughly with the 6 tablespoons water or milk.
— To use Flax Seed in place of eggs: (per each egg called for)
Combine 1 heaping tablespoon of whole organic flax seed in a blender. Blend until it becomes a fine meal. Add 1/4 cup cold water. Blend 2-3 minutes until thickened. (Be sure to blend until mixture is well blended; the consistency of an egg) 1/4 cup Flax seed mixture = 1 egg in baking.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
— If you having problems try using this version of conversions from 1 egg = 1/4 c. firm silken tofu = 1 T ground flaxseed + 3 T water whisked together.
— Replace flour with whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour.

Biscuit 101- The History of…

In the South the term “biscuit” often refers to a light, fluffy, flaky, buttery bread usually served with breakfast. In England and other places around the world however, a biscuit is more like a hard scone or “cookie” served with tea or single serve coffee