5 Recipes from my Mother’s Kitchen

With all of us celebrating Mother’s day yesterday, I’m honoring my Mom today on both of my blogs. FOLLOW THIS LINK to see a poem I wrote her in June, 2005 for her 60th birthday.

My Mom is an absolutely AMAZING cook! I’d like to think my love of cooking came from watching her work magic in the kitchen. Like my Grandmother before her, it seemed that Mom didn’t measure anything or directly follow any recipe. She could take any recipe, change amounts, or remove/change ingredients entirely and come up with a mouth watering dish. I never knew how she could do that. It’s only now, after I’ve cooked for more than 25 years, that I can begin to understand how to transform a recipe into my own creation.

This photo is from June, 2019. We made some precious memories when our parents came for my son’s High School Graduation. Here we have three generations of family cooking together. From left to right: My Mother-in-law, my son Shaun, me, my Mom.

Today, I’ve picked out 5 of my Mom’s recipes to share with all of you. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

Nachos Casserole

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp tabasco sauce
  • salt
  • 2- 1 pound cans refried beans
  • 1- 4 ounce can green chiles (rinsed, seeded, deveined, chopped)
  • 6 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese
  • 6 ounces Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 cups mild taco sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
  • 2 cups guacamole
  • 1 cup sour cream
  1. In a large skillet, brown beef/sausage and onion.
  2. Drain fat.
  3. Season with salt and tabasco sauce and set aside to cool
  4. Spread beans in a 4 quart casserole dish
  5. Spread meat on top, then chilies.
  6. Sprinkle both cheeses on top.
  7. Drizzle with taco sauce.
  8. Up til this point, recipe may be covered and refrigerated ahead of time, up to 24 hours. Return to room temp prior to cooking
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes
  10. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with scallions, and olives. Mound the guacamole in center and top with sour cream. Serve with tortilla chips.

Corn Hot Dish

  • 1 – 16 ounce can cream style corn
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp onion salt
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  1. Heat all ingredients on stovetop.
  2. Place in casserole dish.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, covered
  4. Sprinkle 1/2 cup buttered cracker crumbs over baked casserole
  5. Bake 20 more minutes, uncovered

Corn & Shrimp Chowder

  • 12 ounces bacon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 3 T finely copped green pepper
  • 1 cup finely copped carrots
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 – 13 ounce can whole kernel corn
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 pound shrimp, cooked, peeled & deveined
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 – 17 ounce can cream style corn
  1. In Dutch oven, cook bacon, crumble and set aside. Reserve 1/4 cup drippings.
  2. In bacon drippings, saute onion, garlic, celery, green pepper and carrots til tender. Blend in flour, stirring constantly for 2 minutes.
  3. Add broth and bay leaf, stirring occasionally til thickened.
  4. Add potatoes, salt, pepper and paprika. Cook 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  5. Add corn and heat thoroughly.
  6. Stir in half & half and shrimp. Heat thoroughly, but NOT boil.
  7. Remove bay leaf and taste. Re-season if necessary.
  8. Sprinkle each serving with crumbled bacon and parsley.

Sweet and Savory Meatballs

NOTE: This is a favorite in my home. My kids absolutely LOVE this one. Since I no longer use processed condensed soup, stay tuned for a healthy “remake” in a future article!
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 can golden mushroom soup
  • 1/2 cup drained chopped canned tomatoes
  • 2 T. vinegar
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 2 t. soy sauce
  • cooked rice
  1. Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, onion, egg and garlic. Shape into small meatballs. Brown meatballs in 1 tablespoon oil.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients together in a bowl and pour over meatballs in a pan.
  3. Cook in pan 20-30 minutes.
  4. Server over hot cooked rice.

Frozen Strawberry Salad

  • 1 – 8 ounce cream cheese – softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 – 10 ounce package strawberries, thawed
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 – 9 ounce cool whip (feel free to use an equal amount of homemade whip cream)
  1. Blend cream cheese and sugar until fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour into 9×13 inch pan and freeze
  4. Slightly thaw before serving.
  5. Can be kept in freezer up to 1 month.

Middle-age Memoirs~ Cooking edition: Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

My better half recently had a birthday. He requested angel food cake with my homemade frozen custard. I made him and my boys a “normal” cake with wheat flour. I’ll confess, it was from a box. He said he wanted to make things easy for me. 🤣

However, me, being gluten free, can’t eat that type of cake. I’ll share my frozen custard recipe in another post, but know that it requires 8 egg yolks. This means I had 8 egg whites left over. What do you do with them? Well, make gluten-free angel food cake of course!

I began by searching the web for an 8 egg white angel food cake recipe, which I found at Recipe Rascal. The recipe required the following ingredients:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

I used these ingredients, swapping the regular flour with an all purpose gluten free flour blend. What you use here is a matter of preference. Some suggestions would be Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s. I’ve had good success baking with both brands.

I sifted the flour and salt together 3 times (per recipe instructions) and set them aside in a small bowl.

Next, I added the egg whites to my stand mixer and blended until frothy, then added the cream of tarter. While the mixer was going, I gradually added the sugar and vanilla. I mixed this until the egg whites were stiff peaks.

How do you know if the whites are stiff enough? A good test is to hold the bowl upside down like I did here in this video:

Finally, I very carefully folded in the GF flour and poured the batter into an UNBUTTERED loaf pan (It’s VERY important that the pan is NOT greased). An angel food cake pan would work as well. I baked it at 325 for approximately 40 minutes.

When it’s removed from the oven, an angel food cake needs to be cooled properly or it will collapse. In my case, I set the loaf pan on its side. If an angel food cake pan is used, turn the pan upside down on a glass bottle, if the pan does not have “cooling feet”.

Closing thoughts

This cake was delicious and it really wasn’t that hard! My son said you couldn’t even tell it was gluten free. I will definitely be making it again. My husband also said he loved it and would have been fine with this as his birthday cake. Well, I guess I’ll know for next year. No more box angel food cakes for us!

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara

My Pioneer Cookbook Adventure: A Look Back ~ 54 Recipes from 1836 through the early 1900’s.

Before I really delve back into pioneer cooking, I decided to take a look back at what I’ve done so far. Today, I take a look back at some of the pioneer cookbook adventure articles I’ve written over that past couple of years. It is my ardent hope to, one day, make this a weekly feature. However, I fear that time is several months away. Here are links to 54 different pioneer and vintage recipes.

20 Old Fashioned Cake Recipes from

the Turn of the Century (1900’s)


15 Incredible Recipes from The Virginia Housewife Circa 1839

1903 Good Housekeeping Cookbook

Snowballs and a Failure

1903 Good Housekeeping

Boston Brown Bread

1903 Good Housekeeping

Rice Waffles

1903 Good Housekeeping

Spoon Bread

15 Recipes that Survived the Oregon Trail

Traditional English Plum Pudding

Until next time, namaste my friends!

Tamara

Middle-age Memoirs~ Cooking edition: Teaching yourself to cook…with help

I decided to start a cooking journal, to coincide with my lifestyle and fitness journal from my main site. This journal will be a log of my adventures as I teach myself more about cooking, baking and making my own recipes. I hope you’ll join me on this new venture!

Cookbooks & DVDs

Most of what I know about cooking was self taught as well as learned through observing my mother and grandmothers cook. I also learned many healthy cooking techniques at Hawthorn University. It is my dream to one day go to school to become a Natural Food Chef. However, Until then, I will continue to learn on my own.

As you can see in the photos above, I have 2 very large cookbooks, as well as a Great Courses DVD.

  • America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook -weighing in at just over 6 pounds and 2 inches thick, this book is HUGE!
  • How to Bake Everything By: Mark Bittman- not as big, but still quite large, this book weighs in at a little over 3 pounds and about an inch thick.
  • The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the lost art of cooking. This is a DVD set through Greatest Courses. I’ve had it for awhile. My son and I started the classes together a few years ago, but never finished the course. I’ll be going back to the beginning and working my way through. The courses are taught by an instructor from the Culinary Institute of America.

Online Classes

As part of this journal, I’ll try as many of these as I can over time. Some are free and some cost money. We’ll see which ones are worth the price. I’ll also let you know if I find any more.

Closing thoughts

When I started looking for online courses, I had no idea there were so many. The ones listed here are just the main ones I found.

I absolutely LOVE cooking. Any excuse to spend more time in the kitchen works for me. Making it part of my blog and future business is just icing on the cake!

How did you learn to cook? What would you like to learn? Is there anything you’d like to see me try? Let me know in the comments below

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara

Middle Age Pathway Recipes: 8 Healthy Holiday Recipes

Ahh, the holidays season is here! During this time of year, full of sugary treats and fattening snacks, it’s good to have a few healthy recipes in your box. Have no fear! I’ve got you covered. Today, I’m have 8 healthy holiday recipes, with videos and printable recipes! I hope you enjoy!

 BRIE STUFFED MUSHROOMS

From: What’s Gaby Cooking

Brie Stuffed Mushrooms

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Have a dinner or cocktail party coming up for the holiday season? These delicious, creamy bites will do the trick

Credit: whatsgabycooking.com/brie-stuffed-mushrooms/

Ingredients

  • 12 Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1 small wedge of Brie cheese
  • 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs (you can buy these gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 tbs olive oil

Directions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Clean and remove stems from mushrooms, then place in a baking dish and drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil.
  3. Place 1 tbs Brie into each mushroom
  4. Combine remaining ingredients and place a small scoop of the mixture into each mushroom.
  5. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and mushroom is tender.
  6. PHOTO CREDIT: https://whatsgabycooking.com/brie-stuffed-mushrooms/

CHRISTMAS SALAD WREATH

from: mealthy.com.

Christmas Wreath Salad

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

If you're looking for a quick and healthy side dish to your holiday dinner, this delightful recipe fits the bill.

Credit: mealthy.com/recipes/1642/christmas-wreath-salad

Ingredients

    CHRISTMAS WREATH SALAD

  • 2 heads Romaine lettuce, thinly sliced (about 6 cups)
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit, cut into supremes
  • 1 green pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 Haas avocado, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup feta cheese crumbles
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • POMEGRANATE-POPPY DRESSING

  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate juice
  • ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise or yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Directions

  1. Arrange lettuce onto a large, circular platter into a wreath shape.
  2. Arrange grapefruit supremes, pear slices, and avocado slices in groupings onto the lettuce in a decorative pattern.
  3. Sprinkle pomegranate seeds, feta, and almonds over the wreath.
  4. Blend dressing ingredients, and serve in a small bowl at the center of the wreath.

RAW CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES

FROM POPSUGAR FITNESS:

Raw Chocolate Truffles

  • Servings: 10-15
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

These tasty little morsels are bursting with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Plus, they're sweetened with dates and maple syrup, so, you'll find no processed sugar here.


Credit: PopSugar Fitness

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup soaked cashews (soak a minimum of 3 hours or overnight)
  • 1 cup raw cacao powder plus more for rolling
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • shredded coconut for rolling

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients, except shredded coconut, in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
  2. Roll into tablespoon size balls.
  3. Coat balls in either cacao or shredded coconut.
  4. Freeze for a few hours, preferably overnight.
  5. Remove from freezer and set at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to serving.

PERFECT PRIME RIB RECIPE

from Food Wishes.

Perfect Prime Rib

  • Servings: depends on size of roast
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

The prefect main dish for your holiday table. It's so elegant and delicious! You'll never believe how easy this is to prepare!

Ingredients

  • 4 to 8 pound Prime Rib of Beef, BONE-IN, fat cap removed (ask the butcher to explain)
  • kosher salt as needed
  • 1/4 cup soft butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence (this is just a dried herb blend – you can use any thing you like, or just salt and pepper)

Directions

  1. Leave prime rib on counter for at least 6 hours – preferably longer. (It must be at room temp, or the recipe won’t work.)
  2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees
  3. Mix butter, Herbes de Provence and black pepper together and spread all over prime rib.
  4. Sprinkle salt liberally over the buttered prime rib
  5. Cook the beef at 500 degrees for 5 minutes per pound. Multiply size of roast (from packaging) by 5. This is the length of time you’ll cook the beef at 500 degrees. For example, if your roast is 4 pounds multiply 4 X 5 = 20, so you’d cook the beef at 500 degrees for 20 minutes.
  6. After the allotted time, turn oven off and leave for 2 hours. DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR.
  7. Remove from the oven and serve. Bones can be removed if desired prior to serving.

PALEO CARROT CAKE COOKIES

From: Meghan Livingstone

Paleo Carrot Cake Cookies

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Now this is whole food goodness! Sweetened with dates, filled with fresh grated carrot...you don't get any better than this.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 nut butter (almond butter was used in the original recipe)
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot
  • 7-8 Medjool dates, pitted, diced into tiny pieces + soaked in warm water 10 mins, drained
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
  3. Mix all ingredients together.
  4. Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Shape into circles if desired.
  5. Bake 10 – 12 minutes, or until firm to touch.
  6. For additional sweetness, add 2 tbsp honey or maple syrup to batter. For additional flavor/crunch, add 1/4 cup chopped pecans to batter.

    Photo credit: https://www.meghanlivingstone.com/paleo-carrot-cake-cookies/


Egg nog

that’s dairy free, paleo, gluten free

From: Kayla Chandler

Homemade Eggnog (Dairy Free, Paleo, Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An old fashioned holiday classic, with a healthy modern twist.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups full fat coconut milk in the can
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • a dash of all spice
  • 4 pasture raised egg yolks – (THE USE OF PASTURE RAISED IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – due to the nature of the recipe)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions

  1. Add first 5 ingredients to a pan, bring to boil, then remove from stovetop.
  2. Mix egg yolks and syrup together.
  3. Slowly pour egg mixture into coconut milk, whisking continuously.
  4. Pour into glass container and chill for several hours.
  5. If desired, serve with whipped coconut cream.

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix

From: Cotter Crunch

Slow Cooker Paleo Pumpkin Spice Trail Mix

  • Servings: 10 to 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Whether you need a quick, healthy snack for the kids or a tasty appetizer for holiday party guests, this quick and easy recipe fits the bill.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups raw walnuts, chopped (or use halves)
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 – 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (maple syrup is fine but it will be more like clusters when cooked)
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • dash of sea salt
  • extra cinnamon if desired
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup or more of [url] dark chocolate ∞http://amzn.to/2f8VgqL[/url] and/or cacao nibs combined.
  • parchment paper

Directions

  1. Place nuts in a slow cooker, then add sugar, spices, coconut oil and salt. Combine thoroughly, until everything is well coated.
  2. Cook on high for 60 to 90 minutes (until the nuts are well cooked/roasted) – stir a few times while they are cooking
  3. Once the nuts have browned as desired, remove from cooker and spread on parchment paper.
  4. Allow to dry, then add to mixing bowl and stir together with cranberries and chocolate. – store in an airtight container.
  5. PHOTO CREDIT: https://www.cottercrunch.com/slow-cooker-paleo-pumpkin-spice-trail-mix/

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing

From: Gordon Ramsey

Green Bean Salad with Mustard Dressing

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Tired of Green Bean Casserole? Try this refreshing and tasty recipe from Gordon Ramsey


Credit: Gordon Ramsey

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 2 pounds fresh Green beans (cleaned)
  • salt
  • 2-3 tbs White wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 150 ml olive oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the garlic for the dressing in foil and roast in the oven for 20–25 minutes until soft. Remove and leave to cool.
  2. While garlic is roasting, blanch the green beans by plunging them in plenty of boiling salted water for 1½ cooked, but still crunchy. Run immediately under cold running water, then drain and leave to one side.
  3. Toast almonds in a medium-hot dry frying pan for 2–3 minutes until golden.
  4. Squeeze the flesh from the garlic heads and mash with 1 tablespoon of the white wine vinegar until a smooth paste is formed. Add the mustard and honey and mix well. Pour in the olive oil in a slow drizzle, stirring constantly to thicken. Taste and season as necessary, adding a little more vinegar if needed.
  5. Dress the green beans, toss to coat well, top with toasted almonds and serve.
  6. SOURCE: https://www.lifestylefood.com.au/recipes/18242/green-bean-salad-with-mustard-dressing


My Pioneer Cookbook Adventure: Traditional English Plum Pudding from 1903

This article is by far my favorite to write. I love old timey recipes and attempting to prepare them. But, alas, I haven’t had time to devote to this favorite past time of mine.

I wanted to share a recipe with you anyway. This recipe is on my list of things to try from the cookbook pictured below. Over the past year, I’ve been trying different recipes from this book, with different degrees of success.

The recipes are difficult to decipher at times. Words and measurements are sometimes different. There are no cooking temperatures. For me, however, that is part of the fun. I love cooking. So, attempting recipes from the days of my great grandmother is awesome. For me, it doesn’t get any better.

The following recipe is traditional to England, and, never really caught on here in the states. Perhaps it’s the dried fruit, or the fact that it’s boiled, for 5 hours, rather than baked for an hour. I really don’t know. It does intrigue me, however. And, if I do attempt this over the holidays, I will certainly let you all know how it went.

English Plum Pudding

For this recipe, you’ll need a pudding mold, such as the one below:

English Plum Pudding

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

This traditional British pudding is from the 1903 version of the Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook


Credit: Good Housekeeping Everyday Cookbook 1903

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces fine bread crumbs
  • 2 ounces each: lemon, orange and citron peel cut into fine shreds
  • 1/2 ounce mixed spices (cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg
  • 1/4 pound chopped apple
  • 1/2 tsp minced lemon rind
  • 1/2 pound sugar
  • 3/4 pound chopped raisins
  • 3/4 pound currants
  • 1 pound flour
  • 1 pound finely shredded fat (suet, lard, butter, etc)
  • 6 eggs
  • milk as needed

Directions

  1. Mix first 10 ingredients thoroughly in bowl.
  2. Then add eggs and milk, if needed, to make a stiff batter
  3. Pour into pudding mold.
  4. Boil for 5-6 hours

Until next time, namaste my friends!

Tamara