Curried Vegetable Soup (spicy)

Hearty and warm, this soup will sustain you through a cold, wintry day.  It has 22 ingredients (give or take) and a host of options if you do not favor one of the vegetables.  Reduce the amount of the peppers if you need to tone down the spice level of this delicious soup.  I have greatly modified the original recipe… you could try your own variations if you feel adventuresome.

Indian Stew (3)

1     c lentils (any variety)
1/2 c dry millet
6     T olive oil
1     onion, chopped or 1/2 t. dried onion powder
4     celery stalks, chopped
2     large tomatoes, chopped or 1 can chopped tomatoes
4     garlic cloves, minced
10   mushrooms, chopped
7-10 baby carrots, chopped small
5     red potatoes, cubed
1     inch piece of fresh ginger grated or 1 toothpick dipped in ginger essential oil
2     t turmeric
4     t celery seed
3     fresh green chilies, diced
1/2 t black pepper
2     T curry powder
2     T coriander powder
2     t ground cumin
1/2 t cayenne pepper
3     T fresh lime juice
14   c water or vegetable broth
1     large handful fresh parsley, chopped


Indian Stew (8)
~ In large stock pot heat olive oil on medium
~ Add: onion, carrots, celery, garlic, ginger, cumin and stir fry 3-4 minutes
~ Add chilies, cayenne pepper and stir for 1 minute
~ Add all other ingredients except lime juice and parsley and bring to a boil
~ Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes
~ Stir in lime juice and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes
~ Add chopped parsley and serve warm

Indian Stew (5)
~  Follow the recipe as closely as possible the first time and then get creative thereafter.
~  Be sure to infuse the spices in the oil first as directed- it is one of the key ways to build the hearty, roasted flare to this dish.
~  Add 1 cup chopped  raw broccoli and or 1 c frozen or fresh green peas.

CREDITS: Sharon Keller


Sweet Potato Pound Cake

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Having a basket of fresh sweet potatoes in my pantry just calls for a day experimenting with new ways to eat these delicious tuber roots.  Sweet Potatoes and regular ‘ol potatoes are not even cousins, but I am a fan of both.

If you need to avoid the night shade family, sweet potatoes make a good alternative.  They are actually part of the Morning Glory family.

I know- once you add the sweetener and other ingredients, there probably isn’t a lot of rich nutrition left, yet, there is something about sweet potatoes that speaks festivity and holiday.  This cake is just begging for some friends and a cup of tea!

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1     c unsalted butter, softened
1     c granulated sugar
1     c light brown sugar, packed
4     large eggs
1     teaspoon vanilla
2     c mashed sweet potato
3     c flour (I used gluten-free)
1     teaspoon baking powder
1/2  teaspoon baking soda
1/2  teaspoon salt
3      teaspoons ground cinnamon
1      teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3   c buttermilk
1 1/2 c coarsely chopped pecans
powdered sugar for topping

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~  Bake sweet potatoes and let cool enough to peel. Mash.
~  Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt cake pan.
~  In a mixer, cream butter and sugar well; beat in eggs, one at a time.
~  Next, beat in vanilla and mashed sweet potato until blended.
~  Combine dry ingredients first if mixing by hand; you may add the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, spice all at once if using an electric mixer. Blend well.
~  Now blend in the buttermilk.
~  Fold in chopped pecans.
~  Spoon the batter into Bundt pan and bake 55-65 minutes.

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~  Cool in the cake pan for 10 minutes on a rack.
~  Gently invert on a serving dish and let cool completely
~  Sprinkle powdered sugar on the top just before serving.

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* We ate ours while still slightly warm… delicious!

CREDITS: Diana Rattray; photos, Sharon Keller

Cranberry-Orange Clafoutis

I am not certain how I made it this far in life without trying to make this French dessert.  Though I am gravitating away from sweets these days, this one was worth the wait.

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Clafoutis, sometimes spelled clafouti, is traditionally made with dark cherries, but apparently the fruit tree (or bush, or vine) is the limit.  I went a step lower on my version and stepped into the cranberry bog!  With fresh cranberries currently available, pairing this with orange was too great a temptation to pass.

I have a confession- somewhere I read that clafoutis was a pastry and trying to surprise my husband, I made this for a Saturday breakfast.  While it was in the oven I did some more reading on the subject and learned that it is actually a dessert.  So, just before it came out of the oven, I scrambled some eggs.
Yes, we had eggs and a French dessert for breakfast!

Don’t be shy… get in your kitchen and whip up this amazing dessert tonight!  Put it on the menu for your Christmas gathering.  Start a sweet tradition for your New Years’ Eve festivities.  You can buy the cranberries fresh now and freeze them for the weeks ahead.

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1  TBSP unsalted butter
1  cup sugar* divided  (white, organic, sucanat, etc.)
zest of 1 fresh orange
2  drops Wild Orange essential oil  (optional)
2 large eggs
1 cup flour  (I used gluten-free)
1  pinch salt
1 1/4 cup half-and-half  (cream or whole milk will work)
2 cups cranberries  (1 cup whole, 1 cup coarsely chopped)
whipped cream for topping

~ Place a rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
~ Grease a 9 or 10-inch tart pan or pie plate with butter and add 2 TBSP of sugar.
~ Tip the dish so that the sugar coats all of the butter on the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Set aside.
~ Chop half of your cranberries.clafouti (10) A cr
~ In a medium bowl, combine remaining sugar and orange zest.
Use the back of a spoon to work the zest into the sugar until tinted.

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~ Whisk in eggs. Combine well.

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~ Add orange oil and mix well.
~ Add flour, salt and whisk to combine.
~ Now add the half-and-half and carefully whisk to combine.
~ Put all the cranberries in the baking dish. Top with liquid mixture.
~ Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until just lightly golden brown.

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~ Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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~  Serve warm with whipped cream.
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* if using other fruit instead of cranberries, reduce your sugar to no more than 3/4 cup.
* all purpose flour will work.  My gluten free flour was a blend of rice/amaranth/sorghum.
* fresh whipped cream outshines cool-whip for this dish.
* you can buy fresh cranberries and freeze them for later. Mine partially thawed while preparing ingredients.
* Wild Orange oil really gave this a spark. You can purchase it here . (click Shop, Essential Oils, Single oils).
CREDITS: adapted from Joy the Baker, photos, Sharon Keller


Mini Pumpkin Pies

So cute and equally delicious, these little pies are easy and fun to make.  There is no dairy in the pies and if you had a mind to, you could make a gluten-free crust for those in your family with allergies.  When cooked in tiny souffle dishes, you could even make them crust-less if needed.
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Get creative; you do not have to give up all your traditional foods even with allergies!
2 3/4 cups pumpkin puree (make your own or about 1 1/2 15-ounce cans)
1/4    cup real maple syrup
1/4    cup organic brown sugar or coconut sugar
1/3    cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1        Tbsp melted coconut oil (or olive oil)
2 1/2 Tbsp arrowroot starch (or cornstarch)
1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (make your own with recipe below)
1/4    tsp sea salt
Use your favorite pie crust recipe (store-bought pre-made crusts will work in a pinch)
Fresh whipped cream, plain, or topping of your choice!
2 tsp ground cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/2 tsp ground cloves; mix well and keep in a small jar.

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add all pie filling ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth, scrape down sides if needed.  Set aside.
  3. Prepare crust. (If you are making your own, you will need enough for two traditional crusts.
  4. Roll out your dough into a circle about 1/4-inch thick. Be careful not to get it too thin.  Cut 12 circles with a bowl or cookie cutter 3 1/4-inch in diameter.
  5. Use your spatula to lift the crust, then carefully lay into muffin tins. Fold and tuck edges to accommodate the shape. Carefully form the crust with your hands without stretching the dough.  Fill all 12 tins.
  6. Spoon filling into pie crusts 3/4 full.  I gently leveled mine with a spoon.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes.  Crust should be a light golden brown and the filling will be slightly cracked on top.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving – about 2-3 hours. Serve at room temperature.
  9. If you need to make these the night before, cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the refrigerator overnight.  They will keep 2 days, but best eaten fresh!mini pies_04CREDITS: modified from Dana at Minimalist Baker; photos Sharon Keller.

Stir and Pour Bread

Up for something different?  I came across this little guy on the internet making bread and decided to try his recipe.  I think I have some work to do (I currently live in high altitude), but it was certainly edible.

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The premise is- pour everything in, mix it, let it rest, and then bake it.
Click here to link to the video

I tried it with gluten-free flour and wheat flour.  The textures were distinctly different from one another.  Here is the recipe… go try it and let me know what your results were.

4 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons yeast
2 Tablespoons sugar or honey
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (optional)
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
2 cups warm water

~ Stir all ingredients together until blended.
Cover and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Pour contents into an oiled cake pan or 2 oiled loaf pans.
Bake in a 425° oven for 20-25 minutes (cake pan) or 45-60 minutes (loaf pans) or until evenly browned.

IMG_0057 crgluten-free loaf

~ If you need to skip the egg and cream – it’s okay!
~ My gluten-free version (mostly rice flour) was more spongy than the wheat version.

CREDITS: the Cooking Guy; photography, Sharon Keller

German Apple Pancake

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While I am not a pancake fan, my husband is.  In addition, I am no longer eating wheat.  Nevertheless, I enjoy cooking for my husband… just because I love him.  🙂

It is a simple recipe, and one you should try, even if you have to tweak it for your needs.

4   TBPS butter or coconut oil
4   TBSP brown sugar or sucanat
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2    large apples peeled, cored, sliced thinly
3/4 C whole milk
3    eggs
1/2 C flour (wheat, gluten free, or whatever you have)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

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~  Preheat oven to 400 degrees
~  In a 10 inch cast iron skillet, me
lt butter/oil, 1 T. sugar, cinnamon.
~  Add apple to skillet and cook on medium heat until apples become soft and a syrup forms on the bottom of pan.
~  Spread apples evenly over the bottom of pan; remove from heat
~  In a bowl or blender combine remaining sugar, milk, eggs, salt, vanilla, and flour.  Whisk or blend well.
~  Pour batter over apples and place pan in oven.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned and puffy. (My oven took 22 minutes at high altitude.)
~  Serve warm, with maple syrup if desired.puffed pancake slice

~  Have table set and ready when pancake is finished
~  Makes 4 large servings.  Experiment with doubling or halving the recipe as needed.

CREDITS: Jill Winger, photography Sharon Keller

Esther’s Cranberry Jell-o

This delightful salad has been a tradition in our family as long as I can remember.  I have a suspicion that my Aunt did not invent the recipe, but since that is where the recipe originated in our family, we call it Esther’s Cranberry Jell-O.  I am grateful I have several women in our family who not only cook well, but pass on their delicious recipes with love.

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We love to make it around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but if you can find fresh cranberries other times of the year, you just might like to have it more often.

1   large package of red jell-o (raspberry works well)
1   c sugar
1   package of raw cranberries, chopped
1   small can crushed pineapple (do not drain)
1   whole orange, chopped
1   branch celery, chopped
1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

By using a food processor to chop the ingredients, you will get uniform pieces in this salad, however, it can be chopped by hand.
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~  Prepare the jell-o omitting 1 cup of water called for on package.
~  Add sugar to hot water and jell-o and dissolve well.
~  Add the pineapple and juice.
~  Add other ingredients and mix well.
~  Pour into jell-o mold or any bowl of your choice and chill overnight.

My dear Mother, a guest in my kitchen this year for Thanksgiving.

My dear Mother, a guest in my kitchen this year for Thanksgiving.

~ Omitting the nuts does not drastically change the taste – suit your needs.
~ Fresh whipped cream is optional, but does reduce the tartness a bit when added on top to each serving.

CREDITS: recipe, Esther Dahlstrom; photos, Sharon Keller