Friday, April 19, 2013

Chocolate Pie Crust in a Pinch!

I tried out a new recipe for Silky Chocolate Pie on Sunday.  All was going well until I went to my pantry and discovered that my store bought chocolate crust had some how vanished.  It was Sunday so going to the store was not an option.  What to do?  Here's the recipe for what I ended up making. It was delicious.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust
 1 package graham crackers, fine crumbs
1/4 cup cocoa
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
Direction:  Combine all ingredients.  Press into pie pan.  Bake 7-10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool and fill.
Chocolate Graham Cracker Crust

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weight update: 169 Pounds. I have lost 7 pounds in a month.

Yesterday for breakfast we had cold cereal.  Yes, we eat cold cereal at our house on occasion! 
For lunch I ate left-overs: Green salad, tilapia and pasta in a blue cheese sauce.
In the evening, I had a presentation at the West Jordan Library. I made Chorizo Pasta for the participants.  This recipe is in my latest book Quality Cooking at a Fraction of the Cost.
Chorizo Pasta: Total cost $5.27; Adult servings 6
When I got home I needed a little pick-me-up to sip while I washed my dishes from the cooking demonstration.  I decided to make a strawberry lemon frappe.  Here's the recipe:
Juice of 2 fresh lemons
8-10 strawberries (Mine were frozen)
1 cup of water
Sugar to taste.  I like mine on the tart side.
Directions: Pop all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and slushy.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Breakfast- Left over strata.

Lunch- Spaghetti and meat balls with green salad and homemade French bread.  The cost: EntrĂ©e- 2 pounds diet lean hamburger $4.94, angel hair pasta 0.99 cents, spaghetti sauce 1.98 cents, 2 eggs 0.16 cents, 1 bun 0.50 and spices; green salad- lettuce 0.99 cents, cucumber 0.35 cents, tomato 0.33 cents, match stix carrots 0.50, green onions 0.29 cents.  Homemade French bread 0.42 cents, 2 cans green beans $1.00.
Serves 10 adults
Total cost- $12.45

Dinner- Meat loaf with green salad, steamed asparagus and fresh pineapple for dessert
2 pounds diet lean hamburger $4.94, 2 eggs 0.16, 1 bun 0.25, and spices.  Green salad green salad- lettuce 0.99 cents, cucumber 0.35 cents, tomato 0.33 cents, match stix carrots 0.50, green onions 0.29 cents and fresh pineapple $3.76.
Serves 8 adults
Total cost- $11.57

Saturday, April 6, 2013

What to do with extra buns? Cream Cheese Apple Strata

Today for breakfast I'm creating a Cream Cheese Apple Strata.  Why? To use up the buns I bought a few days ago for the BBQ beef sandwiches.  The cost for the strata is's delicious...and it is something special for the beginning of conference weekend!

Cream Cheese Apple Strata

Cream Cheese Apple Strata
4 buns
1 large apple, peeled, cored and sliced to 1/8 of an inch
1-8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, sliced into 1/8 inch pieces
12 eggs
4 cups milk
Sugar to taste, I like about 1 1/2 cups
Cinnamon to taste, I like about 2 tablespoons
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Directions- Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking dish.  Tear up 2 buns into bite sized pieces and cover bottom of baking dish.  Cover bun pieces with apple slices then cream cheese.  Whisk liquid ingredients together and pour over bread.  Lightly smoosh down mixture with back of a spoon.  I don't think "smoosh" is a word; but, you know what I mean.  Top with chopped almonds.  Cover and let rest for at least one hour or over night in refrigerator.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Servings- 12

Total Cost for 12 servings $6.07!- Buns $1.00, 1 dozen eggs 0.88, 1-8 ounce package cream cheese 0.99 cents, 1 large apple 0.33 cents,  Milk 0.87 cents, Sugar and cinnamon maybe 0.50 cents, and almonds $1.50.

For lunch I will be taking my Sweetheart out to eat between conference sessions.  Trent enjoys Thai food and this place in Syracuse offers a buffet on the first Saturday of each month.  Hope he likes it.

Dinner will be something quick and easy since the men will be heading off to Priesthood session.  I am thinking BBQ blue cheese burgers with caramelized onions, homemade fries and Strawberry Frappes. 

Total Cost for 4 servings - $9.34!  Diet lean hamburger $2.47/pound.  Buns $1.00 for four.  Onions 0.29 cents/pound, blue cheese $1.99 6 ounces, fries made from 2 pounds of potatoes 0.27 cents (I bought 15 pounds of number one potatoes for $1.99) tomatoes 0.66 cents, lettuce 0.25cents, 1 pound strawberries $1.50, 2 lemons 0.66 cents and sugar about 0.25 cents.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A manly picnic and an emergency meal for a neighbor

I was cleaning up after making Spicy Breakfast Crepes Trent asked if I would like to go fishing.  I love to fish!  I jumped at the chance.  Trent told me to get ready and he would make us a picnic. 
We went fishing and had a wonderful time being outdoors.  Trent's picnic consisted of a peanut butter and honey sandwich, Doritos and an apple.  I haven't had a peanut butter and honey sandwich since I was a kid.  It brought back memories and touched my heart knowing that my sweetheart made it for us.

Around 3:30 I needed to make an emergency dinner for a neighbor.  I hopped in the car and drove to the grocery store leaving Trent to fish until 6:00.  Luck was with me because when I got to the store I found many manager specials and reduced items to make a lovely dinner.  I found 20 ounce Buitoni 3 Cheese Tortellini for $4.99 (reduced from $8.99) and fresh grated parmesan cheese for $3.49 for 6 ounces.  Lettuce was 0.99 a head, tomatoes 0.99/pound, and cucumbers were 0.59/ea.
Another woman was going to make dinner rolls, which was a big relief, with no time for dough to rise. For dessert I made Nutella Cookies. They turned out delicious!  A keeper for sure.
Number of servings - 5 adult portions
Total Cost- $10.83 (This doesn't include the price of making the rolls)

Nutella Cookies

Nutella Cookie Recipe
1 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons Nutella
2 eggs
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped hazelnuts

Directions- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter and sugars, add vanilla, Nutella, and eggs. Mix well adding dry ingredients.  When mixed add chocolate chips and scoop onto parchment paper.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Allow cookies to rest for 5 minutes then transfer from cookie sheet to cooling rack.
Makes 36 cookies.

What do I do with a recipe that makes 36 crepes?

Crepe batter can be stored in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Just stir it up and cook.  You can also freeze crepes.  Simply, cook, cool and separate crepes with waxed paper or parchment and store in an air tight container.  Make sure crepes are completely thawed before separating.  I have had my keep for over 3 months before picking up the freezer taste.  Or you just might like to make what the Snow Family had for breakfast this fine rainy day.

Spicy Breakfast Crepes

Spicy Breakfast Crepes

5 eggs, whisked
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 pound spicy sausage, cooked
Salsa to taste
Garnish: Cilantro
6 crepes, cooked

In a 12 inch pan cook sausage.  Place cooked sausage in a bowl.  Wipe out pan with a paper towel.  Mix eggs and cottage cheese together in pan and cook.  Add cooked sausage.  Place in center of crepe and fold.  Top with salsa and cilantro.

Serving size: This feeds our family of four with the men eating two and my daughter and I eating one each.

Loss leader info-  Today my 5 eggs at 0.07 cents each is 0.35 cents.  The cottage cheese was $1.99 for 24 oz., I only needed 4 ounces for that is 0.44 cents in cottage cheese.  The sausage was $1.99 a pound for Jimmy Dean Spicy Sausage and I used half a pound, that makes the cost $1.00.  Salsa was on sale for 0.98 cents a jar; I used 1/4 of a jar so that makes the cost for salsa 0.25 cents.  And cilantro was 0.69 a bunch, I clipped maybe an 1/8 of the bunch; this makes the cilantro cost 0.9 cents.  My crepes were free because I charge my budget for them yesterday.

Cost for 6 breakfast crepes: $2.13
(We also had milk to drink so the cost for the entire meal came to $3.01 for 4 people!)

Left overs:  3 eggs, most of the cottage cheese, salsa, cilantro, and 1/2 a pound of sausage.  Oh, and more crepes!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

People have been asking...

Over the last week, I have had four people ask if I would post my daily menu and recipes.  I asked why they wanted my menu plan and they each said they would like to shop using lost leaders.  Well, the problem with their request is even grocery store chains have different advertised specials based on geographical regions i.e. A Davis County Fresh Market will have a different weekly ad than a Fresh Market in Utah County.
So here is my compromise, I will post my menu and ingredient prices for the week and some of my favorite recipes that could not be included in my published books, due to page count limitations.

Breakfast- Crepes filled with Nutella and Banana slices or Sweetened Cream and Strawberries
Strawberries were $1.88 a carton, large eggs 0.88 cents a dozen, whipping cream 0.69 cents, bananas 0.59/pound, and Nutella was $3.99 a jar.

Never Fail Crepes with Sweetened Cream and Strawberries

Never Fail Crepes
(I love this recipe because you do not have to let it rest for an hour before using)
4 eggs
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:  Place in blender and blend until smooth.  Heat Teflon coated 12 inch pan on medium heat, once heated, pour 1/4 cup crepe batter in pan.  Swirl until pan bottom is evenly coated.  Cook about 15 seconds.  Flip using a plastic spatula and cook for about 5 more seconds.  Fill as desired. 
Serving Size- Makes about 35 crepes.  Each of us at 2 crepes for a total of 8 crepes.
Total cost- $2.57
Left overs: I have 1/2 the strawberries left over, most of the crepe batter, 8 eggs, 1/2 the whipping cream and 3/4 of the Nutella jar for another day.

Lunch- BBQ sandwiches from left over roast that I bought for $2.99 a pound.  Buns 12 count for $2.99.  Cole Slaw with mandarin oranges, strawberries and pineapple.  Cabbage 0.29/pound, mandarin oranges 0.65 a can, fresh pineapple $0.79/pound, green onions 0.69 a bunch, match stix carrots $1.29 a bag, dressing $2.99 a bottle and the left over strawberries $1.00.

Dinner- No dinner needed due to attending an Appreciation Dinner.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Weigh in

Everywhere I go people are asking how much weight I have lost.  For week one I have lost 3 pounds.  Not bad considering I am only cutting back on portion sizes and eliminating unhealthy snacking.  I am still eating larger portions than I need too.  I am guessing that I will be where I want to be, in terms of portion size, by next week.  Remember, I don't like to be hungry, so I gradually cut back.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

When I am sick I crave these two things

When I was young I developed pneumonia and my Grandma Garbett told me to drink the following recipe; it cuts the mucus and soothes the throat. 

Here's Grandma Garbett's hot drink recipe:
1 cup hot water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon of honey
a good pinch of cayenne pepper

I was told by my good friend Connie that I should add fresh ginger to it.  I like ginger so when I have some ginger root I bruise it and throw it into my cup to steep.  Even tastier and better for you!

I also crave my Spicy Chicken and Navy Bean Soup bag meal found on page 79.
If you don't have my book or can't find it at your library here's the recipe-

2-8 oz. cans tomato sauce
1-16oz can navy beans, drained and rinsed
1-13oz can chicken, drained or 1 pint home canned chicken
4 cups water
1-6.5 can sliced mushrooms

Re-closable bag:
3 TBL. dried onion
1 teas. garlic powder
1/4 cup dried bell pepper
1/2 teas. dried oregano
1/2 teas. dried parsley
1/2 teas. dried basil
1/4 teas. crushed red pepper flakes

Mix all ingredients together in a medium pot and simmer for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Well, I'm off to bed with a mug full of hot drink, a mug of soup and a good book.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book review

Here's a review of my latest book-

Need Stucco Repair?

Our home had stucco damage and required some patch work; our realtor told us about Kevin Berube.
Kevin came out and gave us a bid.  Two days later he was here to do the repairs.  The repairs look good and the color match is excellent on the stucco but the lower cement/stucco is a little off.  He warned us before he started that the lower section near the soil would be the hardest to match due to sun, soil and weathering.  Fair enough.

We had about 6 areas that were fixed with the largest being a 1' x 2" section.  He even found some other repairs and didn't increase his bid. Total cost $100.00!  If you need a stucco repair and live in Davis or Weber County, Utah you should call Kevin for a bid;  801-603-5929 we're glad we did.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

3rd Day Was Not Stellar :(

Yesterday started out well.  I increased my sit ups, torso twists and kitchen counter push ups to 30 of each.
My diet was good as were my portions. Here's what I ate.
Breakfast- 1/2 cup Steel cut oats, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 cup milk
Morning snack- 1/2 cup fresh fruit slices (strawberries and blueberries)
Lunch- The last 1C. of left-over pasta chorizo and 1 cup green salad
Afternoon snack- 1 medium kohlrabi
Dinner- Grilled ahi tuna, 8 steamed asparagus spears, and 1/2 cup Arizona potato salad

A little hungrier today and had two snacks but that's okay; however, I got an unexpected call and guess who emerged?  Dun, dun, dun, dah...The STRESS EATER.

At 10:00 p.m. I ate 1 sugar cookie and 3 handfuls of Jalapeno cheddar Cheetos.  And could have downed a quart of ice cream in a blink of an eye  IF I had it in the freezer.  Glad I didn't buy any at the grocery store today for the "Kids".  Yeah, right...the "kids".  Well, there's always tomorrow.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Day Two: Will power holding

Last time I wowed it took a bit for my sugar cravings to pass.  This time it's the same story.  Last night we got together with some friends and after our date they kept talking about ice cream.  I LOVE ice cream!  I held strong and didn't indulge, instead we brought them to our house and served cheese cake; something I can easily refuse.
Yesterday was exercise/therapy day for my ankle:
1 hour on the bike with no tension; heel lifts; stork standing
Breakfast- 1/2 cup steel cut oats, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 cup milk
Lunch- 1 cup Pasta with Beef Chorizo; 1 small pink grapefruit
Snack- 1 handful fresh blueberries
Dinner- BBQ Brick Chicken leg quarter, 1 cup green salad, 1/2 cup Arizona 4th of July Potato Salad (P.137 Loss Leaders)

My goals for this week are:
  1. Reduce sugar in my diet
  2. Eliminate fast food
  3. Control my portions.  This was difficult yesterday because I love my Arizona potato salad. 
  4. Get some form of exercise each day that is within my medical restrictions.  Not as easy as one might think.  Being less active is a struggle for me.  I actually have dreams of skiing, jogging, and riding Sebastian.

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm Fat Again!

Many of you may not be aware of the fact that I once had severe digestive problems and was very fat.  I developed a diet using the dietary doctrines of the world's leading religions.  I lost weight quickly, felt amazing and my digestive problems went away.  I wrote the WOW Diet book.  Here's a picture of it-
In December I had surgery which resulted in 10 weeks of bed rest.  Friends brought many delicious desserts and treats and complete meals.  I ate it ALL!  No exercise, eating anything and everything has made me fat again and I am constipated just like before. I am also addicted to sugar, fast food and large portions of red meat again.  I feel sick and miserable.  I am up to 176 pounds.  My muscles are flabby and I am out of breath.  Time to WOW again.  I began yesterday. 

Breakfast-I ate 1/2 cup raisin bran and 1 cup of milk
Lunch- 1 cup of lettuce, 1/2 cup ground beef with taco seasoning, 2 tablespoons taco cheese, 1 tablespoon green onions, 1/4 cup tomatoes, 2 tablespoons ranch dressing
Snack- 2 handfuls of fresh blueberries
Dinner 3/4 cup green salad, 1 cup Pasta with Beef Chorizo (Page 95 of Loss Leader Book)

Since I no longer live in Kaysville and am not released to ride Sebastian my lifestyle has been significantly altered.  Come June hopefully I will be able to live my life as I once did.  Something to look foreword to I guess.

Exercise- Sad to say I could only do the following:
25 sit-ups
25 torso twists
25 kitchen counter push ups.
6 times up and down my basement stairs, before my ankle began to hurt, so I stopped.  My Achilles is where I had surgery.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

I have been a busy gal lately!

First of all, I want to thank all of you that stopped by and said "Hi" at the Barnes and Noble Authorpalooza book signing.  It was so much FUN!

In case you missed my Baked Corned Beef segment on Good Things Utah. Here's a link:

Baked Corned Beef

And here's my Blue Ribbon Cheese Cake segment on Daily Dish Here's the link:

Blue Ribbon Cheese Cake
If you have any questions about either recipe, let me know.  Oh, here's another little tip for you, I use the same glaze, that I use on my baked corned beef, on my baked hams. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Sort of Italian Cream Cake; but definitely made with love!

The dessert I made for valentine's Day was a special creation for Trent.  He loves the Italian Cream Cake served at Olive Garden.  So I thought I would set out and make one.  Well, it didn't turn out like Olive Garden's but it is a keeper.  So much so that after Trent finished his Valentine's Day Sort of Italian Cream Cake he asked me make a second when we had friends over.

Here's my recipe for Sort of Italian Cream Cake
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
8 oz. cream cheese
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Butter a spring form pan.  Combine all ingredients.  Pour into a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 65-75 minutes.
When cake has cooled to room temperature place in refrigerator and chill for a couple hours.  Slice cake into three layers and fill with the filling below.  Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar and you're done.
1/2 pint whipping cream
1/2 cup powder sugar
2 heaping teaspoons lemon curd
6 ounces cream cheese, softened.
Beat the cream and sugar together until it forms peaks; but not to the butter stage.  Add the remaining ingredients.  Chill.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Valentine's dinner at the Snow's

Our son Adam loves Spaghetti and meatballs so for his Valentine's Day meal, you guessed it he got spaghetti and meatballs. 

Here's the recipe

2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon marjoram
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs

Mix in a large bowl.  Roll into 1- 1 1/2 inch balls.  Fry in a little bit of oil until browned on all sides.  Bake for 15- 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Any left over meat balls get made into meatball sandwiches later in the week.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Anyone for French Apple Custard Cake?

The cake was such a hit that Trent ate half of it while I was gone to Cub Scouts!  Here's the recipe

Michelle's French Apple Custard Cake
Grease a spring form pan with butter.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Toss the following ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
5 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced to 1/8th thickness (I used a mix of Jonathan and Granny Smith)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/2 Tbl. cinnamon
In another bowl combine the following dry ingredients and set aside.
1 cup flour
1 cup white sugar
1 Tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
In food processor combine the following ingredients
1/2 cup melted butter
1-8 oz. package cream cheese
1 C. milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix cream cheese mixture and dry ingredients to form a batter.
Remove 1 cup of batter and set aside.
Add 2 large egg yolks to remaining batter.  Stir in apple mixture and spoon into prepared spring form pan.
Add 2 Tbl. flour to 1 cup reserved batter and pour on top of apple mixture.
Bake for 75 minutes.
Cool at room temperature and then refrigerate.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Day of Creativity

Today started out like most, until I dropped a bag of apples from the top shelf of my fridge.  I knew I had to make something right  away or the apples would be wasted.  I decided I would try to reinvent the French apple cake with more of an apple custard base and a cakier top.  It's in the oven right now and if it's delicious I will post the recipe tomorrow.

Have a great day! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Pancakes

The typical evening routine at the Snow household includes Momma Snow asking what her men want for breakfast in the morning.  Last night Adam asked if I would make some chocolate chip pancakes.  I knew a traditional pancake would not have the body to support chocolate chips; but perhaps a sour cream pancake would, especially if I used mini chocolate chips.  The recipe was a hit.  I made half of the batch with mini chocolate chips and the other half plain for the rest of the family. 

Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Pancakes

2 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg
2 cups milk

Optional: Mini chocolate chips

Directions: Combine all ingredients, except chocolate chips into a medium bowl and stir until smooth.  Ladle batter onto a greased hot griddle. I use a 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. Sprinkle with chocolate chips, if desired.  Flip pancakes when edges are golden brown.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A birthday breakfast recipe

One of Adam's favorite places for dinner!

Today is Adam's birthday and he choose for breakfast Julie's waffles with homemade buttermilk syrup, sausage and eggs.  I really like these waffles; they are light, crispy and hold up to even a hot blackberry compote without going soggy.
Here's the recipe:

Julie’s Waffles
(Serves 6)
1 ¾ cup flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 egg white
1 ¾ cup milk
½ cup oil
Directions: In a tall narrow bowl beat egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.  (Be careful not to over beat or waffles will be crumbly and grainy.  This advice holds true for any recipe that calls for beaten egg whites.)  In another bowl combine remaining ingredients.  Fold in egg whites 1/3 at a time.  Cook in a lightly greased waffle iron. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shrimp Salad Sandwich

Today for lunch I am going to have a Shrimp Salad Sandwich and a bowl of homemade tomato basil soup.  If you care to join me, here's the recipe-

1/2 pound salad shrimp
1/3 of an orange or yellow bell pepper
1/2 tomato, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. chopped green onion
2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise
1/2 tsp. Old Bay Seasoning
dill rye bread, toasted

Directions-  Mix all ingredients and spoon onto toasted dill rye bread.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Food Contests!

If you like to enter food contests here's a few to enter
Hidden Valley Ranch Sweepstakes
Pillsbury Bake Off
Taste of Home (They have 5 contests listed this year)
And if you are interested in a clearing house site for cooking contests you might be interested in Cooking Contest Central.  They charge a membership fee of $25.00 a year.  I have never been a member so I couldn't tell you how encompassing their list of contests is.

If you win, be sure to let me know!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I received an email from a reader who had many questions about my frozen crepe post.

  • You can freeze crepes up to 4 months; however, you MUST remove all of the air in the bag or the crepes will pick up a "freezer" taste.
  • If you are going to freeze crepes, separate each individual crepe with parchment paper or wax paper and store them in a gallon freezer bag.  I remove all of the air with a straw.
  • I then place the bag in a plastic container to protect the edges from getting banged up and broken.
  • Frozen crepes must be completely thawed before separating, even if you have separated them with parchment paper or they tend to break.
  • NEVER, EVER, freeze filled crepes!  They become soggy.
Hope this helps clarify my earlier post.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Free pancakes on Feb. 5th!

In honor of national pancake day, IHOP restaurants in Utah and Southeastern Idaho will be giving away free pancakes from 7-10 am! 

Yes, you read correctly, free buttermilk pancakes! 

In turn, IHOP is asking patrons to voluntarily donate to the Primary Children's Hospital.  100% of proceeds will be given to the hospital.

For more information please visit:

Merci Beaucoup for Beef Short Ribs!

Trent told me that if I wasn't recovering from my surgery he would have taken me to Paris.  I laughed and said," ...more like Paris, Idaho!"  Hence, my beret. 

Even though we didn't travel to Paris, France or even Paris, Idaho, we did travel to our kitchen and had a marvelous time.  I sat at the kitchen bar with my leg propped up and Trent cooked and wrote the recipe down as we went along.  It was a bit of challenge, because I don't measure with traditional measuring tools; I use my hands and fingers.  A pinch of this a handful of that.  And as it is every time I write a cook book or someone in the family wants a recipe that is in my head or someone asks me to create a new recipe, I have to measure it out with my fingers or hand and then transfer it into a teaspoon or measure cup.

Trent patiently and diligently recorded the recipe.  As a result of his labors, we now have a recorded short rib recipe. 

Anniversary Beef Short Ribs



Serves 4 people

 1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp crushed garlic

2 lbs of Beef-Short Ribs (about 3”x3” cubes)

1 small yellow onion (finely chopped)

2 bay leaves

1tsp Marjoram powder

1 cup of 100% red grape juice

½ tsp ground black pepper

3 Cups beef stock

1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce

1 tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 325 F. Place the butter, oil, and garlic in a large baking pot. Melt together on high heat on the stove top. Add the meat and sear/brown the meat exterior on all sides.  Remove browned meat from pot and set aside.

 Add the chopped onion and bay leafs to remaining sauces in the pot and sate on medium heat; when onions are slightly soft stir in the Marjoram powder. Next add the grape juice, black pepper, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce and salt. Bring the liquid to a full boil. Place the beef into the pot and cover with a lid.  Bake at 325 degrees F for 2-2.5 hours or until the meat is very tender.

To make gravy:

Remove the meat and set aside. Skim the fat/oils off the top of the remaining sauce/drippings in the pot.  In 1/4 cup of cool water, dissolve 1 Tbsp of corn starch. Place the drippings pot on the stove top on medium heat. Drizzle the starch solution into the drippings and stir continuously until it thickens into gravy.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mexican Baked Ice

Michelle's Mexican Baked Ice Cream

I was asked by to create a unique recipe using potato chips.  A short while later, Mexican Baked Ice Cream was born.  Ta-ta-dah-dah!

Mexican Baked Ice Cream is much quicker and easier than tradition Mexican Deep Fried Ice Cream and yes, it is made with Lay's Potato Chips!

You can access Will Budiaman's novel article at :

Along with my recipe at

My Anniversary Menu!

This is my favorite wedding picture.

Trent and I will be celebrating our anniversary this weekend.  Picture me sitting at the kitchen bar with my leg propped up and giving my sweetheart instructions on how to make the following:

Trent and Michelle's Anniversary Menu

Braised short ribs
Blue cheese polenta
Ginger carrots and parsnips
Green salad
Flourless chocolate torte

Makes your mouth water, doesn't it!
I don't know about you; but, if I were you I would be saying, "Okay, the menu is fine but where's a recipe?"  I thought I would share my recipe for Flourless Chocolate Torte.  Literally, this recipe took me over a year to develop. 
Flourless Chocolate Torte
Flourless Chocolate Torte Recipe
(16 Servings)
Cocoa for dusting spring form pan

Butter for greasing spring form pan
2 1/3 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1¼ cups butter
6 eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
Optional garnish- Whipped cream and strawberries or raspberries
Directions: Preheat oven to 300°F.  Place a pie pan on the bottom rack of the oven. Grease a spring form pan and dust with cocoa.  Place butter in a large bowl and microwave until melted.  Add mini chocolate chips and cover with a plate.  Allow to rest for 5-10 minutes.  Stir butter and chocolate chip mixture until smooth.  This eliminates the need for a double boiler pan to melt the chocolate chips.
In another large bowl mix with an electric mixer egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and salt until egg mixture is light yellow and thick.  This takes about 3 minutes on medium high speed.  Pour in chocolate mixture and cocoa and mix until smooth and well mixed.
In another bowl beat egg whites and cream of tartar until medium firm peaks form.  Fold egg whites into chocolate batter ½ at a time.  Remember to fold not mix!  Pour batter into prepared pan and place in oven.  Pour one cup boiling water into pie pan quickly closing oven door.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out moist but not liquid.
Remove torte from oven and cool on a wire rack.  When torte has cooled to room temperature refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

 You will find my Ginger carrots and parsnips on page 135 of my latest cook book, Quality Cooking at a fraction of the cost: Mastering the art of loss leader menu planning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Are you feeling the freeze?

Tip #1-  Brown sugar stored in the freezer doesn't clump over time.
Tip #2-  Cloves become stronger in taste if they are frozen.

Tip #3-  Do not freeze filled crepes; they become soggy.  Unfilled crepes freeze well for 3-4 weeks.

Tip #4-  If you want a pitcher of lemonade that doesn't dilute over time, make your ice cubes out of lemonade!

Monday, January 28, 2013

No Bun Burgers

I'm in bed with my leg elevated and poor Trent comes to me and says, "What are we going to have for dinner? All we have is some burger and no buns."  This sounded like a challenge and so with some effort I was soon up to the kitchen bar.  Here's the recipe:

No Bun Burgers

Slice two onions and saute in butter until caramelized.  Once caramelized add a pinch of salt.
Sour dough bread- Brown both sides in butter and fresh garlic.  Once toasted brush with Balsamic vinegar.
Cook hamburger patties, we patted ours out so they would be thicker than normal, about 1/2 inch.
Garnish- Blue cheese crumbles, fresh tomatoes and avocado slices.

Plating- 1 slice of toasted bread, burger, onions, garnish...Very easy and very tasty!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mr. Mower comes through and is FULL of surprises!

A few weeks ago, Utah was hit hard with a blizzard.  We tried to crank up our snow blower but all it did was leak gas out of the top.  We knew exactly who to call...MR. MOWER!  Remember the man who fixed our lawn mower after the wind storm?

Mr. Mower's service includes pick up so all we had to do was dial the phone.  Within a few hours of picking up the snow blower he called with a quote.  Mr. Mower told us it would be ready in 4 days, the cost would be $175.00 and would include a new carburetor among a list of other things.

Four days later, our snow blower was repaired and was purring like a kitten and retaining it's gasoline.  When it was time to pay the bill I thought there had been a mistake; the bill was only $105.00!  I pointed out the billing mistake and he reassured me that my bill was correct because once he got into it he found he could rebuild it and saved us some money.

You can imagine my surprise or perhaps shock would be a more appropriate word.  Fair pricing, quick service, and quality work, that's what we have experienced by calling Mr. Mower.

If you need any small engine repair consider Mr. Mower 801-678-0303. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Watercress Salad

Better days when we could cook together
Being on bed rest is bad enough but not being able to cook can make a girl down right sad!  My beloved Trent made me a wonderful salad for lunch that tasted like a little bit of spring in every bite.

Watercress Salad

1 bunch water crest, washed and trimmed
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 6 oz. can Mandarin oranges, drained
1/2 cup fresh sliced strawberries

     Drizzle with a light poppy seed dressing.
                                                          Watercress is a wonderful veggie.  It contains vitamin A, C, iron, calcium, folic acid, and iodine!  In fact, watercress has so much vitamin C that English sailors would eat it on long voyages in an effort to prevent scurvy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Michelle's Cherry Almond Cupcakes

A lot of friends have been calling and saying they are feeling a little blue.  I can't say I blame them with the dreary gray skies and the horrible inversion we are experiencing here in Utah.  It got me thinking about foods that are cheerful.  Immediately, I thought of a recipe I developed, a few months ago just as my latest book, Quality Cooking At A Fraction Of The Cost: Mastering The Art of Loss Leader Menu Planning was going to press.  Unfortunately, we were over page count and so it couldn't be added.

Hope you enjoy this yummy recipe; but, more importantly I hope you have a bright and "cherry" day!

Cherry Almond Cupcakes

2 c. cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar

2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. almond extract
2 tbsp. Maraschino cherry juice (From bottle of cherries)

2/3 c. milk
½ c. chopped almonds

½ c. chopped maraschino cherries

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and eggs.  Add extracts, juice and milk.  Add dry ingredients.  Next add cherries and nuts.  Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.  Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.


1 c. softened butter
3 cups powder sugar
1 tbsp.  Milk

1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients, mixing until smooth.
Tip:  To make these delightful cupcakes even more attractive, I frost, sprinkle with chopped almonds, and top with a maraschino cherry. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

SPYING 101 for Children

Spying 101
June 12th
Your children will learn how to:
  • make invisible ink
  • make a secret book
  • make a personal cipher
  • make a secret message egg
  • Civil War secret message facts
Whitmore library
2197 Fort Union Blvd., SLC, UT
Phone:(801) 943-4636 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What removes hairspray from bathroom walls?

I received an email from a reader who struggles with removing hair spray from her shower door, bathroom door and wall.  Haven't we all struggled with getting over spray off ? 

I use plain rubbing alcohol and a cloth.  The hairspray dissolves instantly!

Why is hairspray easily removed with rubbing alcohol? If you think back to your high school chemistry class you will remember that likes dissolve likes.  Hairspray contains alcohols.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

I want you to win $1,000,000!

It's time for the 65th Annual Pillsbury Bake Off!
Go to to enter
while you are there, be sure to register for their free coupons and other great deal
Here's a recipe I entered many many years ago.  
I make this dish from left-over Easter dinner ham.
Delicious, quick, and economical!
Ham Cream Cheese Rolls
1 small onion                                                                  1 (8oz.) can water chestnuts, chopped
2 celery stalks, sliced                                                      1 1/2 cup ham, chopped
1 Tbsp. oil                                                                       2 (8-count) tubes cresent toll dough
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese
Directions:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a skillet, cook onion and celery in oil until tender.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Once cooled, add cream cheese, water chestnuts, and ham.  Stir until mixed.  Place a heaping spoonful of ham mixture on the wide end of the cresent toll dough triangle and roll up.  Bake for 15-20 minutes on a greased cookie sheet.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Mark your calendars for the South Towne Mall
10180 S. State Street Sandy, UT
March 2nd  from 1 pm - 4 pm
Hope to see you there!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

In this book you will learn:
  • What loss leaders are
  • Why grocery stores use loss leaders
  • How to make loss leaders work to your advantage
  • Eighteen must know grocery shopping rules
  • How to build a weekly menu using loss leaders
  • How to create an all inclusive, menu driven grocery list
  • How to create meals from leftover ingredients and meals
  • Many delicious and simple recipes made from comon ingredients!
How would you like to serve your family King crab legs, shrimp, and mussels in the half shell for only $19.49!  That's $19.49 for four adult servings and have enough shrimp left over for another meal!
 I can't tell you the joy I experience when I  serve my family a gourmet meal for the cost of 4- number ones at McDonalds.
Would you believe that by using loss leader menu planning I was able to serve my family a Christmas dinner consisting of 5 slices of 1 inch thick prime rib, baked potato, green salad and an Italian pinenut torta for only $33.98. 
It's true!  I also used the 5th slice of prime rib to make 4 gigantic servings of Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup!  Cost of the soup $4.29 for the entire family.
If you would like to eat like a king and save money, you need to learn how to shop and cook the loss leader way!