Thursday, December 7, 2017


I have to admit that I'd never had a sugar plum before today. I've heard of them many times at Christmas but I honestly had no idea what they were. These are "easy" sugarplums, so I'm unsure how authentic they are but they were easy to make, tasty to eat and fairly healthy, too.

I don't know if you'll have visions of them dancing in your head, but you should give them a try... ;)

Here's all you do:

Throw some dried fruits and nuts (in about a 5:1 ratio of fruits to nuts) of your choice into your food processor.

I used a mixture of dates, figs, mixed raisins, prunes, apricots, cherry-flavored dried cranberries and almonds. You can use whatever fruits or nuts you like.

Pulse in food processor until it is very finely chopped.

Put into a bowl.

Heat a small amount of honey and mix with spices. I used cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and allspice. But you can also use fennel, cardamom, anise...

Mix into fruit and nut mixture until it is slightly more sticky.

Form into small balls, about walnut-sized. I used a small scoop, firmly packed.

Let sit on counter about 1 hour.

Then roll in granulated sugar.

Place on parchment paper and let sit out 12-24 hours before placing in container to store.  Should be eaten within a day or two.

Chicken A La King

I made this for my WW2 Christmas class today and it was fantastic! It is an authentic 1940s, ration-friendly recipe. Best served over bread, rice or noodles with a side of vegetables.

I made it the night before, chilled it and reheated it the next day in the crock pot. I may do it that way every time... :)

3 pounds of chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces

1 cup diced celery
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
3 Tablespoons butter

Saute vegetables in butter until tender and there is no longer any liquid in the pan.
Add to cooked chicken in large bowl or casserole dish.

Melt 4 Tablespoons butter or margarine (no rations on margarine) in large saucepan.
Quickly whisk in:
4 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 Tablespoons dried parsley

Then pour in 4 cups chicken broth all at once and whisk until smooth.

Cook over med-high heat, whisking constantly, until thick and bubbly.

Remove from heat and pour over chicken mixture. Stir well to mix.

Serve on top of toast, bread, noodles or rice. Top with sliced hard-boiled eggs and a bit of jarred pimentos.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Apple Friendship Bread Muffins

I finally found a variation that I like. Best one yet. 

! cup Amish Friendship Bread starter

1 cup oil

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup milk

3 eggs

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 small box of vanilla pudding & 1 butterscotch

1 small finely chopped apple tossed with 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon sugar

1/2 cup toffee bits

1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts 

Add ingredient to starter, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. 


1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
2 Tablespoons butter
Mix dry ingredients and then cut in butter.

Put into prepared muffin tins. Bake at 365.  Bake for 5 minutes, then sprinkle with streusel and continue to bake for about 15 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Monte Cristo Crepes

A Monte Cristo is one of my favorite sandwiches: ham, turkey and swiss grilled in egg battered bread, sprinkled with powered sugar and served with a side of berry jam. This week I re-created it with a non-carb crepe. The egg-y crepe is the perfect replacement for the bread. Yum!


Beat 6 eggs with 6 ounces of cream cheese, preferably softened in blender until smooth.

Let batter rest while griddle preheats to 350.

Pour 1/3 cup of batter onto the greased griddle and cook until both sides are golden.

Sit them on a plate until you have made 6 crepes.

Heat the turkey and ham lunch meats on the griddle. This doesn't take long.

Remove meat from griddle.

Place 1-2 crepes on the griddle and top with meats and grated Swiss cheese. Top with a second crepe.

Carefully flip them over and heat until cheese is melted.

Place on a plate with a side of berry jam and sprinkle with powered sugar.

Eat with a fork and knife.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Pressure Cooker Sichuan Style Pork

After spending 16 days teaching English in China this July, I was craving some of the foods I ate there. And I ate a lot of delicious food while I was there. Delicious and spicy! I was in Sichuan, after all.

This recipe has quite a few steps to it and takes much longer than most of my pressure cooker meals, but I just love the way it turned out both times I made it in the pc.

This will probably also require you to make a stop at your local Asian market to pick up some of the more authentic ingredients. Some you may not be able to find at all.


Cut up 1-2 pounds boneless pork into large chunks (use dark pork meat, not a white loin meat)

Whisk together:
2 Tablespoons sherry and soy sauce
1 Tablespoon cornstarch

Pour over pork and let marinade in fridge for 30 minutes to 2 hours.


Heat 1/8 cup oil in a small saute pan.

 1/2 Tablespoon of Sichuan peppercorns (just leave them out if you can't find them, these are what makes Sichuan food special and will not be like anything else you've ever tried)
10 dried red chilies
Saute in oil for about 15-30 seconds.
Remove from heat and let sit while you prepare the other ingredients.


Mix in small bowl:
1 Tablespoon each of minced garlic & ginger (I use jarred)
1 handful of sliced green onion

Cut up into large pieces:
1 large potato (scrub, but do not peel)
3 narrow carrots (scrub, but do not peel)
1/2 white onion
10 mushrooms


Mix in small bowl:
2 Tablespoons sushi vinegar & chili bean paste (again this will be at the Asian market)
1 1/2 Tablespoons soy sauce & sherry
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
4 teaspoons sugar


Preheat your pressure cooker on the meat setting with the lid off.
Strain your oil from the saute pan into your pressure cooker.

Add the meat and stir and cook until it is browned.

Add the garlic/ginger/green onion mixture and continue to cook a couple of minutes.

Stir in remaining veggies, 5-7 of the chilies and 12 Sichuan peppers from your oil pan, and 1/3 cup raw Spanish peanuts

Pour in sauce and 1/2 cup water. Stir well.

Put on lid and cook for 6 minutes on rice setting.

Quick release and serve with cooked white rice.

To counterbalance the heat, I served it with cucumbers marinaded in sushi vinegar and sesame seeds and lychee fruit.

Oh and a fun chunky drink like I had in China...

Friday, June 2, 2017

Pressure Cooker Frozen Potstickers

I love those frozen potstickers from Costco! And the pressure cooker steams them to absolute perfection in only 4 minutes!

Just cover the bottom of the pot with water, put in a steamer rack, place the frozen potstickers on top, put on the lid, set for 4 minutes on vegetable setting and wait.

Quick release the steam and fry in a  bit of sesame oil until lightly browned, if desired.

Serve hot with dipping sauce...

Friday, May 19, 2017

Corn & Jicama Salad

This was a pretty tasty salad and makes a great side dish for a BBQ supper. But I think it would be even yummier with chili flavored Fritos in it. Not as healthy but yummy! ;)

Mix in large bowl:

white frozen corn

drained black beans

1 chopped, seeded Roma tomato

thinly sliced red & yellow bell pepper (mini peppers work nicely)

chopped red onion

finely chopped seeded jalapeno

peeled, sliced jicama

minced garlic

Toss in bowl.  Add equal amounts of sour cream and mayonnaise until it is how you like it. We like ours drier than some people do.  Add juice of 1/2 lime, salt, pepper, chili powder to taste.

Stir well and chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Shrimp & Jicama Salad

This is a very simple and refreshing salad for a hot summer day.

Mix ingredients in bowl:

peeled & sliced jicama

thinly sliced red & yellow bell peppers (mini peppers work nicely)

chopped red onion

chopped cucumber

peeled fresh orange segments


cooked shrimp

Squeeze the juice of 1 lime over the salad and toss. Sprinkle with salt, chili pepper and paprika to taste.

Mexican Grilled Steaks

This makes a FANTASTIC steak! Tender, spicy and absolutely delicious!

Mix these ingredients in a small bowl:

1 Tablespoon salt, chili powder, garlic powder and oregano

1 teaspoon cumin and cracked black pepper

Rub into steaks and place in zipper bag.

Pour 1/3 cup vinegar into bag.

Lay flat in fridge and let marinade at least 4 hours before grilling.

Grill over hot coals.

Brush with a little bit of olive oil garlic mixture from grilled red peppers.

This is good just on a plate or as fajitas with a grilled onion.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pressure Cooker Saudi-Style Chicken & Rice

I taught a class on the history and culture of Saudi Arabia and adjusted a recipe I found for a chicken and rice for the pressure cooker. I liked it so much, I've had it three times now. It's sweet aromatic spices are delicious and different.

I served it with pita, hummus and dates as sides.

Saute 2-3 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into small pieces on the meat setting. Add 1/3 cup of chopped fresh onion. After a few minutes add 1 heaping Tablespoon of minced garlic.

Add 3/4 cup basmati rice, 3/4 cup chicken broth, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, 7 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/2 can diced tomatoes.

Stir well and cook on rice setting for 6 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes.

Stir again and pick out the cinnamon stick and cardamom. You don't want to eat those. LOL

Pressure Cooker Pork Curry

This smelled amazing while it was cooking! I cooked it in the pressure cooker stacked with a pot of brown rice. It's a bit soupy but is very good over the rice.

Preheat pot on meat setting. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of coconut oil. When melted begin to saute 1/2 cup chopped onion.

After a few minutes, add 1 Tablespoon minced garlic and 1 teaspoon minced ginger. Continue to saute for a minute.

Add 1 pound of pork shoulder roast cut into large chunks. Cook until the meat turns "white."

Add 1/2 Tablespoons of curry powder and cumin, 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and salt/pepper to taste. Stir well and continue to saute for 1-2 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup of bouillon (I use a bit of chicken and beef mixed together) and 1/2 can of diced tomatoes.

Put the steamer tray on top with a small pot of 1 cup brown rice and 10 oz water.

Cook on brown rice setting (18 minutes). Let natural release for 10 minutes.

Stir in 1/3 cup coconut milk.

Serve in bowls over the rice.

Garnish with cilantro and green onions (I used chives from my garden).