Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

The latest version of this classic honey-oatmeal muffin recipe includes blueberries and lemon zest and is absolutely delicious.Remember the honey-oatmeal muffin recipe that first appeared on this blog in January of 2011? And then the updated non-dairy recipe from May of this year? Well, today’s recipe is a new variation on our family classic.

This version came into being during a visit with my daughter in July. Blueberries were really cheap at the grocery store, so we bought quite a few. More than we could eat before they went bad. So I added them to the muffins she asked me to make. Along with some lemon zest, which made them absolutely delicious.

Below is the non-dairy version. Just switch the soured rice milk to buttermilk if you aren’t concerned about being dairy free.

Honey-Oatmeal Muffins

1 egg, beaten                            1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup honey                          1 cup soured rice milk*
1 3/4  cup whole wheat flour     1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal                           1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder        2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup ground flax seed          1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine beaten egg, oil, sour rice milk, honey, and lemon zest. Stir. Mix the dry ingredients together and add to liquid mixture. Stir by hand until dry ingredients are moistened, but batter is still lumpy. Carefully fold in blueberries.

Line muffin pan with muffin papers. Spoon batter into cups until they are ¾ full. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the edges turn golden brown. Do not over bake! Serve them warm. Or let them cool and store in gallon freezer bags. Makes one dozen.

*Sour rice milk by putting 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a 1 cup measure. Fill to 1 cup mark with rice milk and let sit at least 15 minutes before using.

The Best Peach Pie Recipe Ever

This recipe makes the best fresh peach pie recipe you will ever taste. It is dairy-free and low sugar, but can only be made during peach season.Peach season is a terrible thing to waste. To avoid that tragedy, I devoted part of last weekend to making 2 fresh peach pies using a recipe that’s been in our family for over 50 years. The Man of Steel and I will be celebrating peach season with a pie every week or so until peach season ends.

Without hesitation, I can say that this recipe makes the best peach pie ever. So good my mother-in-law from Alaska scheduled her summer visits during peach pie season.( I’m not making this up.) That’s why, even though this recipe has appeared on the website before, it’s worth being featured again today.

Good as the recipe is, it is also simple to make. I’ve only changed two ingredients over the years. First, I cut the cup of sugar in the original recipe to 1/2 or even 1/3 cup, depending on the sweetness of the peaches. Second, I use Earth Balance Buttery Vegan Stick instead of butter so the pie is dairy-free.

What are the secrets to making the best peach pie ever? First, you have to select good peaches. Where we live Missouri, Colorado, or Michigan peaches are best. California, South Carolina, and Georgia peaches have to travel too far and never work as well. Second, use lard in the crust. Now, here’s the recipe for the best peach pie you will ever eat.

Fresh Peach Pie

5 large or 7 small to medium peaches
1/3–1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter (or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Stick)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Slice three large peaches into a nine inch baked pie shell. In a sauce pan, crush two large peaches. Mix together sugar and tablespoons of cornstarch and add to crushed peaches along with water. Cook and stir constantly until mixture boils, thickens and turns clear. Add butter or Earth Balance and almond flavoring and stir. Pour hot mixture over sliced peaches in the pie shell. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Non-Dairy Shrimp Scampi


Well, I jumped straight from the family camp frying pan into the helping with the 3-monty-old grandbaby fire. Which means that while the Gravel Road kitchen remains closed, this grammy is flexing her cooking muscles on a daily basis. Especially today which is the birthday of the baby’s mommy.

The birthday mommy requested shrimp scampi for supper and cherry pie instead of birthday cake. Because all the adults at the table couldn’t eat dairy, I jimmied the original scampi recipe to make it non-dairy. Also, we didn’t have dried cranberries, so I substituted fresh sweet cherries. They were a worthy stand in, but the tang of cranberries is even better.

Non-Dairy Shrimp Scampi

1 ½ pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped parsley leaves
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh-squeezed, if possible)
¼ cup dry cooking sherry or dry white wine
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
½ cup chopped green onions
1 tablespoon chopped, sweet red pepper
1/8 cup dried cranberries

Wash shrimp and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add shrimp and cook until pink. Do not overcook. Remove from pan and place on serving platter. Sauté garlic, green onions, and sweet peppers for about a minute. Add sherry or wine and lemon juice. Cook and stir until liquid boils, scraping up any brown bits in the pan. Stir in lemon zest, cranberries and chopped parsley. Pour sauce over shrimp and serve over rice or linguini.

Healthy Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce

This dish is a meat lovers variation of a veggie noodle bowl with peanut sauce recipe I found recently. The peanut sauce is so good!The beginnings of this week’s dish can be traced to a recipe called Healthy Veggie Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce. The ingredient list for the peanut sauce made my mouth water, but I knew the Man of Steel wouldn’t go for the tofu, so I used chicken instead. Also, I couldn’t find edamame and used pea pods. Then, when I went to get the broccoli from the crisper there was none (a side effect of being 59), so kale went into the dish instead.

The end product was delicious, though as the Man of Steel said, the strong flavors mean it should only be served now and then to avoid getting tired of it. So that’s what we’ll do, which should give me time to locate a produce department with edamame and to forget whether or not there’s any broccoli in the vegetable crisper .

Healthy Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut Sauce

Sauce Ingredients:

1/2 cup natural creamy peanut butter stirred well (not stabilized peanut butter with additives)

2 – 2 1/2 tablespoons tamarii

2 1/2 teaspoons finely grated ginger

1/3 cup fresh lime juice

2 tablespoon pure maple syrup

2 – 3 tablespoons water

2 medium garlic cloves, smashed

veggie bowl Ingredients:

1 pound chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
8 oz box pad Thai brown rice noodles noodles, prepared according to package directions
1 cup pea pods, washed and cut into thirds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large bell pepper cut into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, julienned
2 cups broccoli florets or 1 bunch kale, veined and torn into pieces
1/2 cups raw peanuts

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients (except the garlic) in a jar or gravy shaker. Seal and shake until mixed. Add the smashed garlic, stir gently and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Remove garlic after it sits. The dressing thickens as it sits. Add more water and/or lime juice to thin it out if needed.
  2. Heat a large frying pan with 1 tablespoon coconut oil. Add the raw peanuts and cook until they begin to brown. Remove with slotted spoon and place on paper toweling.
  3. Add chicken to frying pan and cook until it’s cooked through and slightly browned. Place on a plate.
  4. Add remaining tablespoon of coconut oil. Add broccoli or kale and cook for 7-10 minutes for broccoli, 5-5 minutes for kale. Stir frequently until it is lightly brown. Add the peppers and pea pods. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Shake the dressing and add more water/lime juice if needed.
  6. Add chicken to the pan and toss with a few tablespoons of the dressing.
  7. Toss the noodles with about half of the dressing to coat well and then add to vegetables and chicken. Add the carrots and toss well to combine all ingredients and cook until heated through. Add more dressing as needed.
  8. Serve hot and top with peanuts.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

IMG_4529This recipe comes courtesy of my two weeks spent on a candida elimination diet. With my diet limited to twigs, bark, and leaves meat, veggies and nuts, I didn’t expect to create a new and tasty recipe. But several days in, I needed to add something new to my basic recipe or risk ending the diet early.

So, I took the carcass of the chicken the Man of Steel had smoked on the grill and boiled it down into some very tasty broth. (My original plan was to use canned broth, but one of the ingredients listed on the label was “yeast extract,” a big no-no when eliminating candida.) The broth, combined with some of the leftover chicken and what seemed like the entire contents of the vegetable crisper, created a very healthy and tasty soup. One I plan to make now and then even after the diet ends.

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked,, cubed chicken
4 Roma tomatoes, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, mashed
2 teaspoons salt
1 large onion, chopped
1 red, yellow or orange sweet bell pepper, diced
2 cups kale, ribbed and coarsely chopped
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

Bring chicken broth to a boil. Add cooked chicken, salt, crushed garlic, onion, and roma tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1/2 hour. Add bell pepper and simmer at least 15 minutes longer. 5 minutes before serving, add kale and spinach. Stir well so the greens put their bodies under water for a few minutes. Serve hot with salt and coarse ground pepper to taste. This recipe freezes well and heats up well, too.



Whole Wheat Tortillas


Today’s recipe comes from my daughter. She’s the ultimate DYI cook who makes almost everything from scratch. During our last visit, she whipped up a batch of whole wheat tortillas that were absolutely scrumptious. So yesterday, when I gave the crockpot chicken fajita recipe another whirl. Since I had proactively scribbled the recipe on the back of a sales receipt and stuffed it in my purse during our visit, I didn’t even have to call and ask her for advice.

Whole Wheat Tortillas

2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water

Mix salt and flour together in a bowl. Add oil and work it in. Mix in water until the dough holds together (add a little more water if needed).

Sprinkle a little corn meal on the counter and turn out dough. Knead a few times. Divide the dough into 12 balls. One at a time, press each ball into a pancake shape.

IMG_4517Roll out into a very thin circle. (Getting the hang of rolling them into a circle takes practice. I nailed it by the 12th tortilla!)


Place a little olive oil in skillet. Heat skillet on stove (medium to medium high heat). Put tortillas in skillet one by one. Cook for a minute or two, until the tortilla gets a bit bumpy.

whole wheat tortilla 5Then flip and cook for a minute longer.

IMG_4523These are best served fresh and warm with fajitas, tacos, or anything else that uses tortillas. They can also be stored in a Ziplock bag in the fridge for several days.

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

This recipe for Italian wedding soup comes from my sister and brother-in-law. They served it during our Thanksgiving stay with them. The Man of Steel raved about it and couldn’t get enough of it. So our hosts graciously pointed me to the recipe which they found at

They made in dairy free by not adding Parmeson cheese to the meatballs. Instead, they put the cheese on the table so diners could sprinkle some on top of each bowlful. Even with that alteration, this soup immediately received Hiram’s coveted seal of approval. And it received a second ringing endorsement when I served it recently at our house, too.

Italian Wedding Soup, Dairy Free Version

Meatball ingredients:
1 pound
extra-lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs1 teaspoon dried basil
3 tablespoons minced onion

Soup ingredients:2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
2 cups spinach – packed, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 cup seashell pasta
3/4 cup diced carrots


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs, basil and onion. Shape mixture into 3/4-inch balls and set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot heat chicken broth to boiling; stir in the spinach, pasta, carrot and meatballs. Return to boil; reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, at a slow boil for 10 minutes or until pasta is al dente, and meatballs are no longer pink inside. Serve hot with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Slow Cooker Pork and Veggies

pork and veggiesFor most of December and January, I made double batches of slow cooker meals for supper a couple times a week. The Man of Steel and I ate half the food and the other half went into the freezer for later transport to my son and daughter-in-law, who have a new baby this winter.

This recipe comes from Loving My Nest, which features all sorts of freezer meals/slow cooker meals. My version, found below, received the coveted Hiram seal of approval. He liked it so much, there was barely enough left of the double batch to freeze for the new parents!

Slow Cooker Pork and Veggies

1 pound pork roast, cut into 1/2 inch strips
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, sliced
4 medium carrots, sliced
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Combine ingredients in the crock pot. Cook on low for 6–8 hours. Serve over rice or with French bread or baguette. Feeds 6–8.

Crunchy Asian Salad

Crunchy Asian Salad

Today’s featured recipe is my version of the Asian layered salad that’s been making the rounds on Facebook. The original bigger and flashier recipe came from a website called A Spicy Perspective. My version, adjusted so the two of us wouldn’t get tired of salad before finishing it and without a tall glass bowl to show off the layers, was a hit. With baguette on the side and fresh peaches for dessert, it was the centerpiece of a perfect summer meal.

It didn’t quite win the coveted Hiram seal of approval, a fact I blame on the radishes. They gave the salad a slightly bitter taste that didn’t mesh with the other Asian flavors. So next time, I’ll replace them with sweet peppers and sprinkle some cilantro on top for good measure. Yum!

Crunchy Asian Salad

Salad ingredients:

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
1cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup miniature sweet peppers, sliced in rings
1 pound grilled chicken, chopped
3/4 cup snow peas, chopped
1/2 cup sliced onion (red if you’re going for pretty)
1/2 cup green onions
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup toasted sliced or blanched almonds
3/4 cup crispy Chinese noodles

Dressing ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon fresh, grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard


Chop and slice all the ingredients for the salad. Layer the ingredients in a large glass bowl in this order:  romaine, carrots, sweet peppers, grilled chicken, snow peas, red onion, green onion, cilantro.

Place all the dressing ingredients in a small jar or gravy shaker. Cover the jar and shake to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Serve the salad. Diners can dress their own portions and sprinkle crispy noodles and almonds on top.

Chicken and Cilantro-Peanut Pesto Stir Fry

Chicken Peanut-Cilantro Pesto Stir Fry

This time of year, all our meals revolve around what’s in the bag of fresh produce we pick up from our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). Last week’s bag contained kale, onions, tomatoes, squash, green beans, and some hot peppers.

One day, I was so engrossed in writing, I forgot to make a marinade for the thawed chicken breast. When Hiram called to say he was on his way home from work, I had to think fast. So I grabbed some frozen cilantro-peanut pesto from the freezer and thawed it in the microwave. Then I pulled out kale, green beans, onions and a hot pepper and started chopping. Here’s the recipe for the throw-together, last minute supper that was mighty tasty.

Chicken and Cilantro-Peanut Pesto Stir Fry

3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup raw peanuts
1 pound chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
2 cups kale, washed, ribbed and torn into small pieces
2 cups green beans, cut into 2 inch lengths
1 medium onion, cut into bite-size pieces
1 hot pepper, chopped fine
1/4 cup cilantro-peanut pesto

Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil in wok, frying pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add peanuts and stir fry for 1–2 minutes until they begin to brown. Place them on paer toweling and set aside.

Add beans and stir fry for 2–3 minutes. They should still be fairly crisp. Add onions and stir fry for 1–2 minutes, then add kale and hot pepper. Stir fry for 2–3 more minutes. Put the vegetables in a bowl.

Add remaining tablespoon of oil to wok or pan and heat. Add chicken and stir fry until completely cooked. Add the cooked vegetables and stir.

Heat pesto for 15 seconds in microwave so it is soft and a little runny. Add to mixture in wok and stir until meat and vegetables are coated. Sprinkle peanuts on top and serve immediately over rice.