Thursday, February 27, 2014


Okay, so this is not exactly a food recipe.  Although, technically, everything in it is edible.  But not tasty.

I have a bit of a sweating problem and I thought it was just something I was going to have to live with because no deodorant in the store does anything to take care of it.  But then, my friend told me she has the same problem and she told me she makes her own deodorant from coconut oil and that it has solved her woes.

And then her husband piped up from the background that this stuff really works.

And I was sold.

Coconut Oil Deodorant

1/3 C. coconut oil
1/4 C. baking soda
1/4 C. arrowroot powder
4 T cornstarch
Essential oils, optional

Mix all dry ingredients together.  Use a pastry blender, or a fork to incorporate the coconut oil.  I used regular coconut oil which is solid at room temperature, so I had to soften mine a bit in the microwave first.  Apparently, my friend uses extra virgin coconut oil and I think that's a little softer.  Then add in a few drops of essential oil, if you want and mix in.  I used Citrus Bliss.

So, now my underarms smell like an orange julius.

I put mine in a small mason jar, but we keep it in our bathroom which is the coldest place in our house (if you want to know more on this, ask Blake.  He loves to explain to me why this is so.), and so the mixture is really firm.  Pretty much like the consistency of normal deodorant.

So, in hindsight, I wish I'd just emptied out an old deodorant container and put this in it.  I'll do that next time.  Which will probably be in about a year because a little of this stuff goes a long way.  In the meantime, I scrape it off with my pinky nail, soften it between my fingers, and then spread it on.  I'm pretty sure the ladies in the locker room at the gym think I'm quite strange.

I don't care.  At least I am no longer smelly.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fish and Beets and Lentils and Spinach

This turned out to be way more amazing than I anticipated.  Seriously, Weston dined at a fine restaurant tonight, called "Megan's Kitchen".  It was so good.  Here's the link:

Here's the copy/paste version:

Salmon with Beets and Lentils

If you make the lentils and beets ahead of time, this dish is easy to assemble.


  • 3 fresh small beets, (about 10 ounces), trimmed and scrubbed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 cup Homemade Chicken Stock, or canned low-sodium chicken broth, skimmed of fat
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 fresh sprigs thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 six-ounce salmon fillets, skin on
  • 1 large shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, washed and stemmed
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray


  1. STEP 1

    In a saucepan of cold water, bring the beets and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel beets, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces; set aside.
  2. STEP 2

    Combine 1 cup water, lentils, stock, garlic, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain; remove thyme stems and garlic. Add oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper; toss, and keep warm. (If preparing in advance, warm over low heat before assembling dish).
  3. STEP 3

    Heat oven to 375 degrees. Combine coriander and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; rub over salmon flesh. Spray a cast-iron skillet with vegetable-oil spray, and place over medium heat. When heated, add salmon, flesh side down, and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn fillets, add shallots, and place skillet in oven. Cook about 4 minutes, or until cooked through.
  4. STEP 4

    Meanwhile, place spinach in a metal steamer basket over boiling water; season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cover, and steam until just wilted. Remove and discard salmon skin; keep salmon warm. Place skillet over medium-high heat, and add wine, scraping pan with a wooden spoon. Reduce by half, and add orange juice, mustard, and remaining tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Add beets, and cook until heated through. Adjust seasoning, if desired. Arrange lentils and spinach on plates; place a salmon fillet on top. Spoon beets and sauce over, and serve.
Martha Stewart Living, November 1995

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

We (Mom) made this risotto recipe while she was at our house helping us empty out our freezer.  It was pretty tasty.

Sausage and Mushroom Risotto

3 C. chicken stock
3 C. beef stock
8 oz. shitake mushrooms (we did half shitake, half button)
1/2 tsp. thyme
1 lb. Italian sausage links, chopped
2 T. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced (Mom probably did more, because I always add extra garlic to everything)
2 C. Arborio rice
1/2 C. white wine
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, grated
1 T. Butter
1 dash salt and pepper

Combine the chicken and beef stocks in a sauce pan.  Warm over low heat.

In a separate skillet, saute mushrooms and the thyme together over medium heat.  Sprinkle mushrooms with salt and pepper and once they are lightly browned, remove from heat and set aside.
In a skillet, brown the sausage.  Once it's browned, remove the skillet from the heat, discard the fat, and set aside.

In a large skillet heat 2 T. of olive oil over medium heat  Add onion and garlic.  Saute until translucent, about 5 min.  Add the rice and coat well with the oil.  Lightly toast the rice about 2 min.  Stir in wine, and cook until it is almost evaporated.  Ladle about 1 C. of the warm stock into the rice and stir.  Once it is mostly absorbed add in more stock (1 ladle full each time).  Continue this process until the rice is cooked through and nice and creamy, only adding an additional ladle of stock when the prior one is almost absorbed.  You might have a little left over, but not much.

Once cooked through, add mushrooms and sausage to the pan and heat through.  Stir in cheese and butter.  Top with additional cheese, if desired.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Quite Possibly The Best Recipe In Existence

That is a pretty big claim to make, I realize.  However, it has a host of qualities that make it invaluable in my recipe book:

  • Requires a total of 8 ingredients, most (if not all) of which you should already have on hand
  • It takes about 5 minutes to prepare
  • It only dirties one, maybe two dishes
  • It smells delightful
  • It tastes SO delicious
  • Everyone in my entire family likes it.  And given the short list (which pretty much involves chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and mac n' cheese)--this is nothing short of a miracle.
2 T melted butter
1 package (or about 6) chicken thighs (bone-in, skin on--if you are afraid of leaving skin on the chicken, don't bother making this recipe.  That's right, go big or go home when it comes to roasted chicken).
1/4 C. white wine
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, or 1/2-1 tsp. dried
2 sprigs fresh thyme, or 1/2 tsp. dried
1 T coarse salt
1 T freshly ground pepper
1/4 C. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 450.
Coat the bottom of a cast iron (oven proof) skillet with butter.  Coat all sides of the chicken with melted butter.  Nestle the chicken pieces in the pan.  Pour the wine over the chicken.  Top with rosemary and thyme, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roast for 40 min.  Change the oven to broil and broil 5 more minutes.
Remove from oven and spritz with lemon juice
Let rest 5 min.

*A note about chicken with the skin on--I know some people think this is unhealthy.  I won't get on my soap box about the "low fat diet" fallacies (unless you want me too!), but I will say that if you are afraid of leaving the skin on, don't bother making this recipe.  I've never taken the skin off, but I am certain it would just be a waste of otherwise good chicken and perfectly good butter.  Dining on the skin is not necessary, as it will have done its job by the time you take the deliciousness out of the oven.  When it comes to roasted chicken, go big or go home.  

Oh, and I get 'Just BARE' brand chicken thighs.  We once made it with ho-hum brand chicken thighs and it just wasn't the same.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Cheryl's Chocolate Chip Cookies


A few friends have recently asked for this recipe, so I thought I'd better add my most recent improvements to the recipe (salt and size of cookies, for those who already have the original) since the last time I posted it.  It's even better than before.

1 C. butter, softened
1 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Generous 1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
Large splash of vanilla
1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding
2 1/2 C. flour
Chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer, beat it for a couple minutes to let it get really nice and fluffy.  Add sugars, salt, and baking soda and beat again for several minutes--you want all of the ingredients to get cozy with one another and be evenly incorporated.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  Beat in dry pudding mix and as much of the flour as you can with the mixer.  Stir in any remaining flour and chocolate chips.

And then you really have to refrigerate the dough for at least three hours.  More if you have the patience.

Form golfball-size globs of dough on your cookie sheet (I've tried all kinds of different pans and even baking stones, but I think those baked on an AirBake pan turn out the best).  It is important to make the cookies this large.  It allows them to be wonderfully crispy on the outer edges, but still chewy and fabulous in the center.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until nicely browned on top.  But, don't let them get too brown--then you'll miss the chewy fabulousness in the center.

The extra vanilla and the pudding and the salt are what make all the difference.  Don't be afraid of them!  I love this recipe and kind of feel that they are the best cookies, but am open to alterations, so if you have anything that you do for your cookies that makes them extra special--please share!

Also, I recommend doubling this recipe.  I freeze half (if it makes it that far) and then I have ready dough for those times when we have unexpected company, or a friend just really needs some homemade cookies.  Sometimes I'm that friend.