You Can Make Soup Out of Anything

I adapted the following recipe and used my left-over cauliflower gratin and cheese fondue.
Both had gotten a little old. OK. Really old. And the cheese was hard. It should be called cauliflower gratin cheese fondue soup.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup
Serves 4


  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cauliflower, chopped
  • 1 cup cubed potatoes
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese


  1. In a large saucepan, combine water, cauliflower, potatoes, celery, carrots, and onion. Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or until tender. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter in separate saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat, and cook until thickened. Stir in vegetables with cooking liquid, and season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese until melted, and remove from heat.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 386 | Total Fat: 24.6g | Cholesterol: 75mg

Chocolate Cake

Once you make this you will never go back to cake mix again. But if you do use boxed cake mix, be sure to add an extra egg. It will make the cake much more moist.

Dark Chocolate Cake

Serves 12
Makes 3-9 inch round pans


  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 3 - 9 inch round cake pans. In medium bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa, and whisk until smooth. Let mixture cool! Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at time, then stir in vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the cocoa mixture. Spread batter evenly between the 3 prepared pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool (about 10-15 mins). Remove from pans. When completely cooled, frost.

Nutritional Information without frosting

Amount Per Serving Calories: 427 | Total Fat: 18.3g | Cholesterol: 111mg

The following recipe is for a 2 layer cake. One and one-half times or double the recipe for this chocolate cake.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
from Wilton

I add 1 t. butter flavor OR replace the shortening with butter flavored shortening.


  • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cocoa or three 1 oz. unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
Makes: About 3 cups of icing.


Stiff Consistency: In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add cocoa and vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use. For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.
Darker Chocolate Icing: Add an additional 1/4 cup cocoa (or one additional 1 oz. square unsweetened chocolate, melted) and 1 additional tablespoon milk to Chocolate Buttercream Icing.
For Thin (Spreading) Consistency Icing: Add 3-4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

Do You Say Brown Ketchup or Brown Catsup?

What? Yours is red? It hasn't turned brown? Lucky. I used my brown ketchup in my version of J-Dawgs sauce, a sweet southern style hot dog sauce. Sometimes I eat it without the hot dog. Or the bun. Note: the picture below is for photographic styling purposes only. It is not an actual representation of the amount of sauce that is generally used.

T-Dawgs Sauce
(copy-cat version of J-Dawgs sauce)

1 c. ketcup
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and gently boil/simmer for 3 minutes, stirring often.

This recipe is a basic one that I often vary. Most times I make it even sweeter by adding an extra 1/2 to 1 c. of brown sugar. Sometimes I find it too vinegary and reduce the vinegar.

This can be used as a no-fat dressing on salads, cottage cheese, avocados, etc. Or as a bbq sauce. Add it to baked beans as well.

Can I Throw This Away?

He says, holding a squishy brown pear.



Pear Pie
Serves 8


  • 1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
  • 2 pears - peeled, cored and cut in half
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, beaten


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Press the pie pastry into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie plate. Flute the edges. Place the pear halves cut side down in the pie crust with the small ends toward the center.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix the butter and sugar together until smooth, then beat in the eggs one at a time until light and fluffy. Stir in flour and vanilla. Pour over the top of the pears.
  4. Bake for 1 hour in the preheated oven, until pears are soft and custard is set in the center. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
Feel free to add more pears that you need to get rid of. Soft pears work best. The pears can be sliced and arranged concentrically to give it a more tart look. Sprinkle the bottom of the crust with sugar before adding pears to keep it from getting soggy. This can spill over while baking so put a cookie sheet/foil under it.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 328 | Total Fat: 14.6g | Cholesterol: 68mg

Does This Make Me Look Fat?


Peppermint Brownies

1 19.5-ounce box fudge brownie mix
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract

Peppermint Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup butter
1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar

Decorative Icing
1 can white frosting (with fine tip)
1 can red frosting (with fine tip)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, then prepare a 9x9-inch baking pan by spraying it with a light coating of non-stick spray. Cut a piece of parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil to the same width as the bottom of the pan, but make it much longer than the pan so that the left and right ends go up and out of the pan on the left and right sides. This will create a "sling" that will help you lift the brownies out of the pan after they've baked.

2. Make the brownie batter by first sifting the box of ingredients. This will remove the clumps. Add the melted butter, water, eggs and peppermint extract and mix the batter by hand just until all the dry stuff is mixed in. Pour the batter into your prepared baking pan and bake it for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean. Allow brownie to cool before frosting.

3. Make the peppermint buttercream frosting by beating together 1 cup of powdered sugar and the softened butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Mix in another 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, then add 1 tablespoon of milk, and the peppermint and vanilla extract. Mix for about 1 minute to make the frosting smooth. Add an additional 1/4 cup of powdered sugar if the frosting is too thin and light. You want a frosting that can be spread easily, yet it should be firm enough to hold up the layer of chocolate frosting that's coming next. When the brownie has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting evenly over the top. Put the brownie in the fridge to firm up the buttercream frosting.

4. Make the chocolate frosting by bringing 1/3 cup whole milk and 1/4 cup butter to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Pour the chocolate chips into a heat-safe bowl. When the milk and butter comes to a boil, pour the mixture over the chocolate chips and let it all just sit there in the bowl for a couple minutes. Add the vanilla extract to the mixture and whisk until smooth. Use an electric mixer to beat in 1 cup powdered sugar until the frosting is smooth. Spread the chocolate frosting over the white frosting on the brownie. This recipe makes a little more chocolate frosting than you need, so hold back about 1/3 to 1/4 cup.

5. To add the decorative red and white icing if you decide to go for it: First apply the white icing to the top of the cake in a sweeping motion diagonally across the top of the entire cake, then add the red icing over the white in the same sweeping motion in the same direction.

6. Stick the brownie back in the fridge for about an hour before removing it from the pan and slicing it into 9 equal portions. The leftovers will keep well for several days covered in the refrigerator.
Makes 9 brownies.

That Appetizing Applesauce Once Again Rears Its Ugly Head.

Well actually its head is more like brown dried something floating in a watery something. Apparently there are few words to describe it.

Applesauce Bread

Makes 2 loaves


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups applesauce
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sour cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F . Grease and flour two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or spray with Pam.
  2. Beat together eggs, sugar, and oil. Blend in applesauce, and then sour cream or buttermilk. Stir in raisins. Mix in flour, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon until just moistened. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 80 minutes. Cool on wire racks.
Tip: Sprinkle with 1 T. of sugar before baking.

Brown Dried Apples

I substituted some dried apples that have turned brown and people around here have turned their nose up at.
But they loved this.

Apple, Orange and Pecan Stuffing 
This is my Thanksgiving stuffing with apples, pecans and orange added to it.

2 c. butter
2 T. dried minced onion
12 apples, cored, peeled and diced
1 1/2 to 3 c. chopped pecans (depending how nutty you like it)
2 T. grated orange zest
4 t. poultry seasoning
4 t. celery salt
1 c. parsley
32 C. cubed day old bread
6 c. milk

Melt butter in saucepan. Add apples and cook for 2 min. Add onion, poultry seasoning, celery salt and parsley. Stir. Transfer to large bowl. Add bread, pecans, orange zest and toss lightly. (Or mix bread, pecans, and orange zest in large bowl and pour butter mixture over, tossing lightly). Add milk. Mix gently. Transfer to large baking dish. Bake 350 for 1 hour or until top is browned and crunchy. If you prefer moist stuffing, cover while baking. See note if baking with crown pork roast.

Here are some substitutions:

1/3 c. onion for the minced onion
1/3 c. celery plus 1/2 t. salt for the celery salt

Melt butter. Add onion and celery. Saute until onion is transparent. Add apple and cook for 2 min. Transfer to large mixing bowl. Add poultry seasoning, salt, parsley, bread, pecans and orange zest. Toss lightly. Add milk. Mix gently.

A Winter Birthday Dinner Menu

Crown Pork Roast

with Apple, Orange, and Pecan Stuffing,

Roasted Vegetables

and Mustard Cream Sauce

From Put Pork on Your Fork
Yield: Serves 14
Cooking Time: 2-3 hours (or more, see note)
Preparation Time: 60 minutes

1 single loin crown roast of Pork, about 6 lb
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Potatoes, peeled and quartered (I didn't have time to peel mine)
Sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
Parsnips, peeled halved
Carrots, peeled and halved
Rutabaga, peeled and cut into eights
Coat vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with salt before roasting.

Cooking Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 450° F (230°C). Cover exposed rib bones with foil, and stuff a ball of foil into the central cavity of roast.
In a small bowl, combine Herbes de Provence, oil, salt and pepper. Rub mixture evenly over roast.
Place roast in oven, bone tips up, and roast for about 30 minutes, or until roast starts to brown.
Reduce heat to 325° F (160°C), and place prepared stuffing in same oven. At this point, any vegetables that you may wish to roast with the pork: potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc. Continue roasting for a further 90 minutes, or until an internal temperature of 155°F is reached.

Note: It takes much longer than this! Especially if your oven is loaded up with vegetables and stuffing. We were in a hurry so I reduced the heat to 400 degrees. Even then it took about 3 hours total until the roast was done. When the meat reaches a temperature of about 150 degrees (taken on the outside), remove the foil from the cavity and insert the thermometer in the pork inside the crown roast. Cook until that meat reaches 155 degrees. It will take hours at 325 degrees.
Tent loosely with foil and allow to rest for 15 minutes.
Carve using the ribs as a guide, and serve with Apple, Orange, and Pecan Stuffing. The stuffing can be placed in the middle of the roast to serve.

Some tips: Ask your butcher at your grocery store to cut and tie the crown roast for you. You will always get a better piece of meat when you do this. They will usually put the fancy foil tips on for you. Crown pork roasts are usually on sale around Christmas.

Mustard Cream Sauce

I lost my favorite recipe for this. Basically it is mustard and cream mixed together. I can't remember if I used powdered mustard or wet mustard. Anyway this year I mix Dijon mustard and cream together to taste. Start with just a very small amount of mustard mixed in to 1 c. cream. Add more if desired. You might want to have someone else do the tasting as your tongue will become desensitized after you have tasted it a million times trying to get it right.

Here's a Little Ditty I Wrote

I call it The Pantry Song. I am just that creative.
Sung to the tune of
Blowin' in the Wind.

How many times must a man walk out
Of the pantry and say that it's gross?
Yes, 'n' how many times must that same man say,
"Why can't we just eat like most?"
Yes, 'n' how many times must the pantry reek
Before I stop buying potatoes?
The answer, my friend, is there will never be an end.
The answer is there will never be an end.

I am using up potatoes. Again.
Thank you. Thank you very much.

Baked Potato Soup
Southern Living
First let's discuss how to bake potatoes. Do not oil them or wrap them in foil. To achieve moist fluffy potatoes with slightly crunchy skins, don't do this. It only turns them into steamed mush.

To bake potatoes, preheat oven to 475 degrees.
Scrub large baking potatoes (8 to 12 oz. each) and prick with a fork twice.
Place uncovered, directly on the oven rake for 1 hour. Using oven mitts, carefully remove them from the oven. Serve immediately or let rest until cool. Store covered in the refrigerator. Can reheat in the mircrowave or use in the following recipe.

4 large baking potatoes, baked and cooled (makes about 4 cups)
2/3 c. butter
2/3 c. flour

6  c. milk (whole in recipes is best)
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper (optional or to taste)
4 green onions, chopped and divided
12 slices bacon, cooked, crumbled, and divided (can use pre-cooked)
1 1/4 c. (5 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 (8-oz) carton sour cream

Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; scoop out pulp and set aside. Discard skins.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk; cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Add potato pulp, salt, pepper, 2 T. green onion, 1/2 c. bacon, and 1 c. cheese. Cook until thoroughly heated, and stir in sour cream. Add extra milk, if necessary, for desired consistency. Or to thicken add more potato or potato flakes.   Serve with remaining green onion, bacon, and cheese. Yield: The recipe says 10 cups but I get about 7 cups. 

To make things easier sometimes I use dried minced onion in the soup and don't serve with green onion. I also just throw in all the cheese and bacon. Also instant potatoes can be used.

Note: The directions from Southern Living call for pricking the potatoes several times and baking at 400 degrees for 1 hour.

This Looks Like Fun

Flour on the counter=still good
Flour on the floor=not still good.
I do have my limits.

Happy New Year

Our favorite mixed drinks

Red Mixed Drink

Cran-raspberry juice
Ginger ale
Mix one part juice with one part ginger ale.
Use a good kind of ginger ale like Seagram's or Canada Dry. I just realized we have never tried Vernor's in this recipe.

White Mixed Drink (Mock champagne)

Welch's white grape juice (use Welch's for best results)
White soda

Mix one part juice with one part white soda.
Use Welch's for best results. White soda can be very hard to find. If it is unavailable use Sprite.


White mixed drink
Orange juice

Mix one part white mixed drink with one part orange juice.