These are two of the most popular appetizers I bring to “dish to pass” occasions.  The 7 layer bean dip is pretty routine but I add a few touches to make it special.  It is always a crowd pleaser.  I like to serve it with the Tortilla Lime chips.


The other appetizer is my creation:  a pesto, sundried tomato and goat cheese terrine.  It is very easy to make and everyone wants the recipe.  Exact qantities aren’t that important.  I always have a jar of sundried tomatoes in the fridge and pesto in the freezer.  And since I often also have goat cheese on hand I can make this up easily.  It does need a day or so to set but could come together right away in a pinch.  








  • 2 -16-oz. can refried beans (spicy or regular)
  • 1 ½  cups sour cream
  • ½ -1/4 oz. pkg. taco seasoning mix
  • 2 avocados, pitted, peeled and mashed
  • 2 TBS salsa
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar or Mexican blend  cheese
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black olives, sliced
  • 1 tomato, diced or ½ can petite diced tomatoes (thoroughly drained of liquid)
  • tortilla chips




1.     Spread beans in the bottom of a 13"x9"  (or similar sized oblong) clear glass dish, add  ½ cup of shredded cheese and cook in microwave just until  cheese is melted, then stir in the cheese and set aside.

2.    .Mix avocados, lime  juice, salsa, garlic, and salt to taste; layer over beans

3.     Combine sour cream and seasoning mix; spread over avocado.

4.     Sprinkle with cheese; top with onions, olives and tomato.

5.    Serve with tortilla chips.








·         ½ cup sundried tomatoes

·         4 oz. cream cheese

·         5 ounces goat cheese, room temperature

·         2.5 ounces pesto (66 grams)

·         3 ounces goat cheese


1.    Line a small loaf pan (6"x3") with plastic wrap

2.    Mix together sundried tomatoes and cream cheese in food processor until well incorporated.

3.    Fill lit into the bottom of the plastic lined terrine, making sure it is evenly distributed into the loaf plan and making sure it is pushed into the corners. Smooth the top and stick into the fridge for a few hours or into the freezer for 30 minutes or until firmed up enough to take another layer.

4.    Smooth the room temperature goat cheese over the tomato layer.  Soften the goat cheese in the microwave for a few seconds if it isn’t spreading easily.  Put the terrine back into the fridge or freezer to firm up.

5.     Mix together the pesto and 3 ounces of goat cheese  in the food processor until fully incorporated and spread evenly over the firm goat cheese layer.

6.    Fold the plastic wrap over the top and refrigerate over night until firm. 

7.    Unmold carefully onto a platter and serve with crackers.

Note:  you can make this replacing the goat cheese entirely with cream cheese or vice versa.  



It’s time for strawberry picking.  Listed below are some area strawberry growers.   Call ahead to get the latest news on picking.


Grisamore Farms:  Ready for picking June 20th
Who: Mary Ann Grisamore
Where: Goose Street Road, Locke
Phone: 315-497-1347
Web site:
Cobblestone Valley Farms:  Probably JUNE 20th
Where: 2023 Preble Road, Preble
Phone: 749-4032
Web site:
Church Street Produce:  OPEN now 8-12  Longer hours later
Who: Val and Jerry Carocci
Where: 4045 Church Street, Burdett
Phone: 546-2557
Silver Queen Farm:  OPEN NOW FOR PICKING
Who: Gordy & Liz Gallup
Where: 5286 Stillwell Road, Trumansburg
Phone: 387-6502
Iron Kettle Farm:  Not Good picking this year
Where: South of village, Route 96, Candor
Phone: 659-7707

Indian Creek Farm:  Light picking has begun
Who: Alan Leornard and Stephen Cummins
Where: 1408 Trumansburg Road (1/2 mile past hospital
Phone: 273-9544, 592-2801 and 227-6147


Carrot Apple Muffins from The Pleasures of Cooking Magazine





We just cleared out a section of our attic and found old cooking magazines.  I have been making my way through Gourmet and  The Pleasures of Cooking magazines dating back to the 70s.  Some of the recipes are outdated,  and some are packed with so much cream, butter and sugar (usually together) that I pass right by them. But I’ve also found some great recipes and have slowly been trying them.


This,  for example,  is a recipe adapted from the May/June 1987 issue of The Pleasures of Cooking which was published by Cuisinart.  I used to love this magazine and now I remember why.  It has been out of print for many years but luckily I had the wherewithal to save them.  This recipe was originally called "Meal-In-A-Muffin" . It was shared by a reader named Catherine Ojalvo and had won a contest in her local town.  It is a perfect muffin:  healthy with the right combination of sweet, crunchy, spicy flavor and moist texture.  I adapted it just a little because I can’t seem to ever follow a recipe exactly. Among other minor changes  I added some maple syrup and changed the white sugar to brown sugar.  I also sweetened it just a little which is quite unusual for me since I’m usually cutting down on overly sweet recipes.

Catherine explained that she keeps them in the freezer and pops them in the toaster oven for breakfast.  They last several days so I haven’t had the chance to try this because we eat them up so quickly.


Carrot Apple Muffins
Makes about 12 muffins

Adapted from recipe published in The Pleasures of Cooking Volume IX  No 6 May/June 1987


 1 medium carrot (about 3 ounces) peeled

1 large apple (about 6 ounces) peeled, quartered and cored

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 TBS maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (about 1  1/2  ounces)

1/3 cup yellow raisins

1/2 cup pecans or walnuts chopped in big pieces

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

3 TBS wheat germ (optional)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2  teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt or to taste

  1.  Preheat oven to 375°
  2.   Shred the carrot and apple with the medium shredding disc of a food processor and set aside in large bowl.
  3.   To that bowl add:  raisins, coconut.
  4.  Change the processor to a metal blade and process the nuts quickly if they need to be chopped into big pieces.  Do not over chop. Add them to the bowl with carrots, apples, raisins and coconut.
  5. Process the oil, eggs, sugar, maple syrup and vanilla until blended.
  6.   In a bowl, mix together the flours, wheat germ,  oats, baking powder, baking soda , spices and salt
  7.  Add them to the food processor and mix in with a spoon and then pulse quickly until just blended.
  8.   Add the contents of the bowl containing all the rest of the ingredients and mix by hand.  Do not over mix
  9.   Divide the batter into 12 muffin cups that are placed in a muffin tin.
  10.   Bake in preheated oven or 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.








The Garden is exploding with produce ready to be eaten.  It’s totally overwhelming trying to keep up with it.  We have been busy harvesting our blueberries, elderberries, cucumbers and tomatoes and just finished with a great crop of beans. 



It has been fun trying to figure out what to do with it all.  I’ve retrieved some of my old recipes and found some new ones online.  This is what I’ve been up to the past week:


This was a great year for most berries including our elderberries. We made our usual elderberry jelly which is one of my favorites.  Added to plain Greek Yogurt and you have a combination fitting for breakfast or an elegant dinner dessert.


I found an amazing blueberry muffin recipe online from allrecipes which needed only a few minor adjustments.  I added lemon peel and vanilla and replaced milk with buttermilk .  I also made 9 muffins with this batch.


This recipe also works great for cake.  I make it in a 9 inch square cake pan.


Blueberry Muffins, ADAPTED from




1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk

Grated rind from one organic lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/2 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon



Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.


Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough butter milk to fill the cup and add the lemon and vanilla. Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Divide filling between 9 muffin cups, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.


To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.


Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.




I started with the bread and butter pickle recipe from Recipe Girl and made a few adjustments. I made it less sweet so adjust the sugar as you like.  These are pickles that aren’t processed so you need to refrigerate them.  My experience is if you process them by boiling for 10 minutes the pickles get mushy.  This way they stay nice and crisp.

 They were good to eat a few hours later.


Bread and Butter pickles, adapted from Recipe Girl

Yield: 2 quarts


 2-3 pounds sliced (1/4-1/2 inch) unpeeled and washed cucumbers
2  Tablespoons kosher or pickling salt
1 cup thinly sliced sweet onion
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 cup white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup light brown sugar (packed)
2  teaspoons mustard seeds
1 teaspoon celery seeds
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric


1. Dissolve  1 TBS salt and cold water in large bowl and add sliced cucumbers. Let sit for an hour or two. Move cucumbers into a colander and check for saltiness. If too salty, and rinse under cold water. Drain well, and return cucumbers to bowl. Add onion to the bowl.

2. Combine sugar, remaining 1 TBS salt and remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cucumber and onion mixture and bring back to boil. Pour into canning jars and let sit on the counter for a few hours.  Cover and refrigerate . Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


Bolstered by my success with the bread and butter pickles, I searched online for a dill pickle recipe and found one on Epicurious which I adapted only slightly.


Fast Favorite Garlic Dill Pickles, adapted from Epicurious 

Makes  3 quart jars

Often called kosher-style dill pickles, these are quick to make. Use either small whole cucumbers or cut larger ones into quarters or slices. For an additional interesting flavor, tuck a small dried hot red pepper into each jar or some red pepper flakes but not too much.  I like them pretty vinegary so I cut down on the water.



  8-10 small pickling cucumbers or sliced larger pickles (about 3pounds/1.5kg)

·      4  cups (1 liter) white vinegar

·         3 cups (750 mL) water

·         2 tablespoons (25 mL) pickling or kosher salt

·        3 heads fresh dill  

·        6 small cloves garlic or slice several large garlic cloves and add to each jar


1. If using larger pickles slice into ¼-1/2 inch slices or for medium sized, cut into quarters lengthwise and place in large bowl

2. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon of the salt and massage it in to the cucumbers. Wait for 1-3 hours and then drain the water.  Taste a slice and if it’s not too salty don’t rinse them.  Otherwise, rinse them with water.

3. When they have been brined,  combine vinegar, water, and remaining 1 TBS. salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

4.  Add cucumbers and bring back to boil

5.. Place 1 or two sprigs of fresh dill and  1 or more  cloves of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers. Pour boiling vinegar mixture over cucumbers.


I do not process the cucumbers or they get mushy, so they need to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few weeks.  It will take a few days before they mellow out and are at their peak of flavor.





Corn and Cucumbers.  Both ready for harvest and both are the main ingredients for these two great soups.  The hot chowder is great as the main meal with only a salad and crusty bread to complete the feast.  And the cold green gazpacho is a an usual combination of ingredients that is much more than the sum of it’s parts.  No one has yet guessed the two mystery ingredients to this refreshing soup.



Green Gazpacho


For this soup you will need a really strong blender such as a vita-mix.  The quantities are just approximate.  This is a “taste and adjust” recipe since there are many factors at play.  You will need to let it rest in the fridge for a day and then taste and further adjust the vinegar, salt and olive oil.


2 cups (about a pound) cucumbers (which only need peeling if the peels are thick and  only needs seeding if the seeds are big)

1 cup,(about ½ pound)  seedless grapes green or red

1 cup raw almonds

1 shallot

1 medium garlic clove or more to taste

1 TBS chopped dill

1 cup water

1 TBS sherry vinegar (or other wine vinegar)

¼  buttery olive oil

salt and pepper to taste


Blend together in vita-mix or other very strong blender until totally smooth.  Taste and adjust for seasoning and then refrigerate overnight and taste and adjust seasoning before serving.  Serve with a swirl of olive oil and a little chopped dill in each bowl.





Thai Corn and Crawfish Chowder


4 ears corn shucked

1 TBS butter

Olive oil

1 large onion, chopped into small cubes

4 cups chicken broth, seafood broth or lobster broth

1 can coconut milk (14 ounce)

1 TBS Thai red curry paste

1 pound cooked crawfish tail meat (comes frozen) or shrimp, crab or lobster

Salt to taste


1.       Fry the corn kernels over high heat in a frying pan with no oil and after 3 minutes add butter and when melted continue to cook for another 2 minutes of high heat before setting the corn aside.

2.      Fry the onions in olive oil until soft and beginning to caramelize and then set aside

3.      Defrost the crawfish and fry over high heat with some butter and olive oil in two batches for 5-6 minutes each and set aside.  IF using other seafood skip this step if the seafood is already cooked.

4.      Place the shucked corn cobs in the broth and boil together for 20 minutes to infuse the broth with the corn flavor.  Then remove the cobs and discard.

5.      Mix the red curry with 1 TBS of the coconut milk until thoroughly combined.  Then add to broth along with the rest of the coconut milk and bring to simmer.  Add the onion, corn and crawfish and bring to simmer again.  Simmer for 10 minutes and taste for seasoning.

This chowder can be eaten immediately or refrigerated for the next day.  If using lobster or shrimp do not add the seafood until right before serving and then add it to the simmering broth and simmer until warmed through.  It is important not to overcook the seafood.








                                                                                      strawberry rhubarb tapioca pudding




 This is a quick and easy way to enjoy strawberries and rhubarb without having the fuss of making a pie. 

1 quart strawberries cut in half or quarters

1 lb. Rhubarb cut into 1/2 inch slices

1/4 cup small pearl tapioca

1 cup apple juice or other juice

3/4 -1 cup sugar depending on how sweet you like it

1.  Mix the tapioca and 1/2 cup juice in fridge and leave overnight

2. Add 1/2 cup juice, put the tapioca and juice in saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally so the tapioca doesn’t stick to bottom of pan. Add more juice or water if the mixture gets too thick.

3. After 15 minutes of gentle boiling add the rhubarb and sugar.  Cook together uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has broken down and is no longer distinct pieces:  about 15 minutes.

4.  Add strawberries, stir them in and bring to boil.  Then turn off the heat.  This keeps the strawberries bright red and in distinct pieces.  Serve warm or cool to a thicker consistency.  This is wonderful served with vanilla ice-cream.









Years ago I entered a recipe contest through Fine Cooking Magazine where we were instructed to use certain ingredients to create our own recipe.  This is what I came up with and though I didn’t win, I did get a phone call from the judges asking for more clarification so that was pretty close to winning, right? 


My concept was to blend the best ingredients of French beef stew with the great Chinese stew ingredients:  wine, garlic, bacon, oyster sauce,  and of course ginger. The other flavor booster I work into this recipe is to layer the ingredients so that you have garlic and ginger cooking slowly and flavoring the broth.  But I also add these ingredients the last minute to enhance the ginger and garlic flavors.This is a recipe I go back to time and again.  My grown up son asked for the recipe and said it came out great.  Feel free to modify as you wish.  For instance, he used regular mushrooms rather than shiitake. If you don’t have the rosemary, don’t worry.  You can add a little thyme, a bay leaf some herbs de province or leave out the spices.








3 slices bacon

Olive oil as needed

2 lbs stew beef, cut in 2×2 inch pieces (a marbled, fatty cut works best for stew such as chuck.  And if you use organic meat it may take less time since organic meat tends to be less fatty)

Salt and pepper

1 ½ cups shallots, coarsely chopped (about ½ lb)

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs. fresh ginger, finely minced

¼ cup flour

2 cups dry red wine (such as Shiraz or Merlot)

1 can chicken broth (10.5 oz)

¼ cup oyster sauce

2 Tbs. sugar

1 sprig fresh rosemary

½ lb. shiitake mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed and cut in slices.

2 (more) cloves garlic, finely minced

1 Tbs. (or more) fresh ginger, finely minced

1 tsp. sesame oil

3-4 green onions finely minced


1.  Heat a medium size heavy pot over medium heat and cook bacon until crispy.  Remove and set aside to drain on paper towel.  Chop into small pieces.


2. Season meat with salt and pepper.  Increase heat to high, add oil to bacon fat to coat bottom of pot and when oil shimmers add meat in three batches, browning each batch and setting aside. Add more oil if necessary to coat bottom of pan after each batch.


3. Turn the heat to medium and add shallots, browning while stirring for about 5 minutes.  Add ginger and garlic and cook, stirring for two more minutes or until aromatic.  Add flour and mix together while cooking for another 2 minutes.


4.  Add wine while stirring quickly to mix in the flour.  Add broth, oyster sauce, sugar, rosemary, and reserved bacon and beef. Stir well and heat to simmer.

5. Cook for 30 minutes and remove rosemary.  Continue to cook stew over low heat for 30- 60 minutes more hours stirring every 30 minutes and adding more water or stock if necessary.  Depending on the cut of meat and size of the chunks this may take more or less time.  Take a piece out and see if it is tender.


6.  While the stew is cooking, fry the mushrooms in two batches over medium heat in frying pan coated with oil for 3 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms to the stew for the last 30 minutes of cooking.


7. For best flavor refrigerate the stew overnight and reheat the next day, adjusting seasoning as desired. 


8.  15 minutes before serving add the two cloves of mashed garlic and 1 Tbs. of ginger to the simmering stew.


9. Just before serving, stir in the sesame oil and sprinkle with spring onions.


Serve over mashed potatoes, with peas on the side.



Preparation time is 30-45 minutes and cooking time is 2 hours.








Madeleines and Williamsburg Orange Cake


This is probably my most used appliance though my toaster oven may be coming quickly into first place since I have been using my  new Breville Smart oven to bake small pizzas and cakes  It cooks more evenly than my oven, and toasts bread and bagels better than any previous toaster oven.

My food processor is used for bread crumbs, grating cheese, pesto, and many of my cake and cookie batters.  Here are my two new favorite recipes each of which is made entirely in the food processor.





                                      Williamsburg Orange Cake:  Serves: 8


2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 stick softened butter
1 cups sugar (divided)

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 orange carefully cleaned and organic if possible:  Using a knife cut of the peel and put in food processor with 1/2 cup sugar to chop finely
1 cup buttermilk
3 TBS  cup orange juice mixed with 1/2 cup sugar  (I don’t use all of this glaze)


1.   Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir raisins and nuts and grated orange/sugar mixture into the dry ingredients and set aside.

 3.  In a food processor, cream the butter and blend in 1/2  cup of the sugar.

4. Beat the eggs into the  creamed butter mixture.

5. Add vanilla and buttermilk  and mix well.

6. Add the flour/orange mixture and pulse 3 or 4 times until just mixed.

7.  Pour batter into a greased 9-inch square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or when a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs..

8. While the cake is baking, combine the orange juice with the remaining cup of sugar.

9. Spread this glaze over the top of the hot cake and immediately return it to the oven for about 5 minutes, until the glaze bubbles and the cake tests done when you insert a toothpick or wooden skewer near the center.

Let the cake cool in the pan before turning it out onto a serving plate.







Madeleines (Makes about 16)


2 large eggs

2/3   cups sugar (divided)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 lemon using only the peel

1 cup all purpose flour

pinch of salt

1 ½ sticks of butter, melted and cooled slightly so as not to cook the eggs

Powdered sugar

1.     Preheat oven to 375°

2.     Use madeleines mold with teflon coating sprayed with oil or greased with butter

3.     In the food process process the peel of one lemon mixed with 1/3 cup of the sugar until lemon peel is finely incorporated into the sugar

4.     Add eggs and the final 1/3 cup sugar and process together along with vanilla.

5.     Add flour and pulse a few times until just blended

6.     Gradually add the cooled butter processing until just blended

7.     Let the batter stand at room temperature for at least two hours or refrigerate overnight or even for a couple of days.

8.     Spoon about 1 TBS into each mold filling about ¾ of the mold

9.     Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are beginning to brown

10.Turn them out while still hot onto a rack. 

11.  Sprinkle the top with powdered sugar.

    12.These are best eaten warm but also keep for a few days in a tin. 






Vita Mix:  Kale Banana Almond Smoothie

Juicer:  Fruit juice mix and Vegi mix

Actifry:  Mini potatoes with onions and sausage

Slow Cooker:  Applesauce and Multigrain cereal with fruit

Panini Maker:  Reuben sandwiches with corned beef or Susie’s Seiten

Pressure Cooker:  Bean soup and Wild rice and Barley mushroom casserole

Bread Maker:  Sourdough Rye Bread

Apple Peeler and Dehydrator:  Dried apples and dried bananas

Food Processor and Madeleine mold:  Madeleines and Williamsburg Orange Cake (on next post)


This vacation I’ve busied myself cooking and baking using my great collection of cool appliances  and gadgets.  I use my  "toys" to concoct the  quickest and tastiest feasts.  Over the past week I’ve counted a dozen of them that have come out of the closet and into the kitchen to do their magic.  Most of them are listed below with the great foods that were prepared.


Each day starts with the juicer or the vitamix which are both privileged to  live on the counter.  The juicer is a Hamilton Beach, the cheapest juicer on the market and one that works very well and cleans up easily and quickly.  I’ll make myself a fruit or vegi juice first thing in the morning or to bring to work for later in the morning.  The juicer gets apples, oranges, pineapple, and pears with a carrot thrown in for good measure and great color.  The vegi juice is  some combination of raw beets, carrots, celery cucumber, ginger, garlic or onion. 

Or I’ll make my green slime in my  Vita Mix:  raw kale, almond milk, almond butter, banana and a touch of maple syrup. Ice is thrown in since the colder the better.   The almond milk is made by soaking almonds in water overnight and the next morning mixing it up in the Vita mix.  Slowly the rest of the family has grown to like this drink which tastes particularly good for being so healthy. I was fortunate enough to attend a juicing class iwth Joe Romano at Greenstar, our local organic food coop and also attended a raw foods class with Rebecca Robbins who introduced me to the healthy and delicious world of raw foods.

So that’s two appliances. Now, it gets less healthy I’m afraid.   For breakfast I’ve been trying out my newest gadget:  an Actifry.  It’s advertised as a low fat fryer alternative.  So this morning the little pee wee potatoes went in with some sliced onions, whole garlic cloves and a few pieces of sausage.  No more oil since the sausages provide more than enough.  They were cooked in about 20 minutes.   It really is overpriced for what it is.  But I’m still working on some menus ideas.  I tried the chicken wings and drumsticks which both came out great and tend to be more moist than when baked .



APPLESAUCE;  One of my favorite uses for the slow cooker is apple sauce.  The entire house fills up with the wonderful scent  of cooking apples, one of the homiest aroma’s I can think of.  Quite simply I add cored whole organic apples or cored and peeled non-organic apples that I’ve cut into large pieces.  For a large apple cut it into eighths and then each piece cut in half or thirds.  And for smaller apples just quarter them and then cut each quarter in half. You really don’t need liquid unless they are really old dried up apples, then add 1/2 cup water or apple cider. I add some honey and some cinnamon and then cook it on low until they are mushy and obviously cooked.  Then put them through a food mill (another indispensible gadget.) Add more honey or cinnamon if you want.

 MULTIGRAIN CEREAL WITH FRUIT  This is adapted from a recently acquired cookbook called, "The Healthy Slow Cooker".  It has plenty of health and cooking tips in the margins.  This adapted recipe was great and kept for several days in the fridge, easily reheated in the microwave.

1/2 cup brown rice

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup wheat berries

2 medium apples, peeled cored and cubed

1 cup apple juice or cider

3 cups water

Add together into crock pot (slow cooker), add salt to taste and cook on low for 6 hours or until cooked.  Add :

Chopped pitted dates

Sprinkle with wheat germ (optional)

and serve with maple syrup.(optional)



Rye bread, thousand island dressing, saurkraut, swiss cheese and corned beef (or turkey or Susie’s portabella mushroom seiten).


BEAN SOUP:  In preparation for the winter storm I made my obligatory soup.  The essential comfort food for cold snowy weather.  I bought the package of Hurst 15 beans, threw out the ham flavor packet and put half of the beans aside in hot water to soak for a few hours.  They then got drained and thrown into my pressure cooker (appliance 5 on this list).  I then added broth, a can of diced tomatoes with the juice and extra water if needed to amply cover the beans.  They were brought up to pressure and cooked for 10 minutes .  After depressurizing I checked  the beans and if the biggest ones were almost done,  I added  diced   onions, cabbage,  celery, carrots, parsnips, leeks, and winter squash (butternut this time) that I had quickly fried over high heat in some olive oil while stirring to lightly brown.  I added  some salt Some browned cubes of boneless beef ribs as well. I then brought it back up to pressure and cooked for 5 more minutes and  again depressurized and checked to see if everything was done.  This soup lasted several days through the snow storm and just gets more flavorful with each reheating.  I serve my bean soups drizzled with great olive oil and good grated parmesan.


1 medium onion, chopped

4 TBS butter

¾cup wild rice

¾cup barlely (not quick cooking)

½cup dry sherry

1 ½ cups stock

1 ¼cups water

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

salt and pepper to taste

1.     Fry one chopped sweet onion in butter until softened and set aside. 

2.      Fry mushrooms and set aside.

3.  In Pressure Cooker add  rice and barley, sherry, broth and water and salt to taste.

4.     Cover pressure cooker, bring to pressure and cook for 20 minutes.

5.      Release pressure and check to make sure the rice and barley are cooked.  The rice should be split open and tender but not mushy.  Cook longer if necessary.

6.    Add mushrooms and onions to rice mixture.

7.    Taste for  salt and pepper..



¾ cup sour dough starter

½ cup water

2 TBS molasses

1 TBS olive oil

1 ½ tsp salt

1 TBS toasted caraway seeds

2 ¼ cups Bread flour

¾ cup rye flour

1 ½tsp yeast

Combine in bread maker and check to make sure the consistency is correct.  If you poke it with your finger you should have a tiny bit of stickiness but mostly it needs to be dry and in a ball. You may need to add more flour or water to adjust.

1.      Let  the bread maker do the kneading and first rise,

2.       Remove the dough and put it into a bowl lined with parchment paper.

3.       Let it rise again until double: one to two hours.

4.       Half an hour before preheat oven to 450° .Place empty large enamel pot  with cover (Le Creuset works great) that will just hold the bread in the oven to heat as well.

5.      Slit the top of the bread and carefully place in the enamel pot.  Don’t burn yourself lifting the lid (spoken from multiple experiences).  Cover the pot and cook the bread for 30 minutes.

6.      Remove the pot from the oven.  Carefully remove the bread and unless it is already evenly browned, place it as is, without parchment, in the oven and bake a few more minutes, checking regularly, until uniformly brown and crisp. Remove and cool.  Serve with butter and the bean soup!

DEHYDRATOR AND APPLES PEELER:  Dried apples and Dried bananas.

One of the least known gadgets and a really cheap and helpful one is the apple peeler.  But it doesn’t just peel the apples.  It also slices and cores the apple.  So in a few seconds you have an apple ready for your pie or for the dehydrator.  Check out the video which shoes you just how it works.  And it’s around $20!    APPLE PEELER VIDEO

The dehydrator I use is the cheap one made by Nesco American Harvester.  You can spend lots of money on these guys but I really don’t have any problem with this one except that it is  really noisy.  So you need to put it in another room and not forget it.


The apples get sliced and laid out in the dehydrator and if you want, sprinkled with cinnamon.  Cook it until the apples are to your liking, chewy or crisp.  They do continue to crisp up a bit after  you turn it off.  The a bananas get sliced and same thing,  check after 12 hours and see what you think.





 I got home from work just before 6 tonight.  I took  one pound of  stew beef out of  the freezer and got right to work. 

1. Defrosted the beef in the microwave and cut it up into small chunks

2. Fried the beef in olive oil until just browned

3. Peeled and cut up 2 carrots, 2 celery and  1 cleaned leek and threw them into the pressure cooker 

4.  Added the beef and one can of diced tomatoes, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and 36 ounces of chicken broth.

5.Cleaned half a pound of lentils and added them to the pot.

6.  Deglazed the frying pan with 1 cup of water and added that to the pressure cooker.

7.  Heated up my stove top pressure cooker to pressure and then cooked for 8 minutes.

8.  Meanwhile chopped up and fried a large sweet onion.

9.  Brought the pressure down in my cooker under cold water, opened it, and added the onions.  Tasted for seasoning and checked how tender the beef was.

10.  Closed up the pot, brought it back to pressure and cooked 3 more minutes.  

AND VOILA,!  An excellent meal with some crusty bread and salad.  And the leftover lentil soup will be even better tomorrow!