Adventures in the kitchen, part 2

In addition to French onion soup, I spent a little time in the kitchen last weekend trying to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, which is a family favorite. But I depleted my stash of frozen rhubarb a couple summers ago and I’m not sure I’ll be able to harvest any this year, since we transplanted our rhubarb over the summer and I’m just hoping it’ll come back.

But then one day as I was wandering the aisles of my local grocery store, I happened upon a can of strawberry rhubarb pie filling. I’d never seen such a thing before! Naturally, I had to buy a can to find out what it was like.

I dug a box of pie crust out of my deep freeze and set it on the counter to thaw while I got dinner going. Once the dinner dishes were done, I set out to make my pie, with a little help from Bubbles.

Apparently, though, I should have…

Adventures in the kitchen

So what do you do when you can’t go out and do the normal things you would do on a Friday night? Well I don’t know about all of you, but I tried out a new recipe, and boy, are my feet sore!

(Tile floors + thin slippers with no support + a long night = very sore feet.)

I absolutely adore Panera’s French onion soup, and there was recently a recipe for said soup included in one of the¬†New York Times newsletters I receive. I bought most of the ingredients earlier in the week, but I didn’t get a chance to try it out until last night.

The recipe…is behind the cut!

Edible improv?

We’ve been in a food rut lately, so the other night we decided to improvise an old favorite. Cheeseburger pie is one of my – and my family’s – favorite recipes, yet we hadn’t had it in a very long time, probably because it takes somewhat longer than Hamburger Helper, another family favorite.

The way I fix it is already an improvisation of the original recipe, which comes from the cookbook created by my seventh grade class some twenty years ago (Thanks, Mrs. Dunham!) as part of a semester-long enrichment class. The original recipe calls for a flour crust but, try as I might, I was never able to get the crust to come out well. Instead of being tasty and delicious, it was always solid as a rock and just about as flavorful, so I switched to using a Peter Pan pizza crust mix (which is probably literally the same as just making a flour crust, except for the part where it turns out to be edible when I fix it). I also add way more cheese than the recipe calls for, because there’s nothing better than a great big cheesy cheeseburger, am I right?

Of course I’m right. ūüėÄ

The original recipe:

Photo 365 #282

I spent yesterday afternoon picking, washing, and chopping rhubarb. ¬†I picked so much rhubarb, in fact, that I didn’t even come close to chopping it all, but I did manage a fine pot of strawberry rhubarb sauce for supper, so there’s that.

Today, I thought I’d share my recipe. ¬†I even remembered to take pictures last night while I worked! ¬†FYI, those are the prettiest strawberries I’ve seen in ages. ¬†Yum.

Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce

6 qts. rhubarb, washed and chopped
2 lbs. strawberries, chopped
3 c. sugar

Wash and chop fruit.  Combine in large pot.  Add sugar and mix well.  Let simmer on medium low heat till fruit reaches desired tenderness; let cool.  Serve alone or over ice cream.

Note: I started with two¬†cups of sugar, but added a third later. ¬†If you have more strawberries, that adds to the sweetness, so then you might not need as much sugar. ¬†I let my sauce simmer around two hours, and pulled it off the heat when it started to froth. ¬†You can run it through a blender if you like it smooth, but I like mine chunky, so I didn’t. ¬†Once cooled, this makes a thicker sauce, which my family likes. ¬†Adding water thins it out.

(c) 2015.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #131

It’s hard to beat a sweet treat every now and then:


One of my favorite treats as a kid was sliced bananas with sugar (or sprinkles – sprinkles are always good, too), so when Seymour brought home a couple of green bunches last week, I couldn’t wait to dig in. ¬†But then, of course, we headed out to the hospital before they’d ripened, and before I knew it they were starting to spot.

So this morning, I dug in. ¬†And they tasted every bit as sweet as I could have hoped. ¬†You slice up the bananas into a bowl, sprinkle a quantity of sugar over them, then stir it all up. ¬†The sugar and the banana secretions (for lack of a better word) combine to form a syrup, and it’s a little bowl of heaven.

What are some of your favorite childhood treats?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #78: Recipe time!

The other night I whipped out one of my mom’s old recipes for supper. ¬†I hadn’t made it in ages, and it just sounded good. ¬†Something about this time of year makes me long for childhood classics: hearty soups, savory casseroles, and the like.

The title on the top of the recipe card is “Help for Hamburger,” but growing up, we never called it that. ¬†We called it what it was – Hamburger and Rice.

I can hear it now – what’s so comforting about something so bland?

Well, dear readers, this dish is anything BUT bland.  Check it out:

hamburgerriceHelp for Hamburger (aka Hamburger and Rice)

1 lb. ground beef
2 Tbs. onion flakes
2 1/2 c. minute rice
3 1/3 c. water
1/4 c. soy sauce
Salt to taste

Brown hamburger together with onion flakes; drain.  Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil together 10-15 minutes.

It’s simple, warm, filling, and delicious. ¬†I doubled the recipe and ended up with lots of leftovers, but that’s okay with me. ūüôā

What are some of your favorite childhood recipes?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.



*blink blink*

*chugs two gallons of strong coffee*

Wow! ¬†Well, that’s a little better. ¬†After yesterday, I’m exhausted. ¬†It seems like every time I have a day or two off of work, I need a day or two to recover. ¬†Vacation can be exhausting, but this summer, I haven’t been able to go on vacation, and it’s been equally exhausting.

IMG_20140805_150429Yesterday I froze corn, something I’ve only attempted as an adult once up to now. ¬†It was bad. ¬†I found my grandma’s recipe, then promptly misread it, and the results were terrible. ¬†But we received a boatload of fresh sweet corn over the weekend and had to do something with it, so yesterday I tracked down my grandma’s recipe again, determined to have better results this time.

I’m happy to say I got what I wanted. ¬†I’m even happier to say that I’m done freezing corn (for a while, anyway).

I posted a few shots of my progress on Instagram throughout the day yesterday, but it was after 11:00 p.m. last night before we were finally finished – it would have been much later without the help of my wonderful family. ¬† When I was a kid, my mom’s family always used to freeze corn together – we shucked and cut the corn outside (this keeps the mess down, and I really wish I’d done the same thing yesterday), then cooked it inside. ¬†It was always a big day – Grandpa always had a truckload of corn to freeze. ¬†One of my favorite corn-freezing stories involved my great-grandma. ¬†I have no idea if I was present at the time this particular incident occurred (she died when I was four), but I get a kick out of the story regardless. ¬† Anyway, it was corn-freezing day…

Lemon delight


So the other night, I tried a new recipe. I don’t normally care for a lot of lemon things, but the rest of my family ADORE all things lemon. I thought this lemon bread would be a hit for supper (we wanted to keep it light that night), and I couldn’t have been more right. As a matter of fact, it was an even bigger hit the next day.

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Happy food!

downloadSo for the Writing 101 Day Ten post, I’m supposed to write about my favorite food, and do it in my own voice. But everything I write is in my own voice, so what does that even mean? ¬†I mean, I have different voices, obviously – there’s the voice I use with my kids, the voice I use with my kids when they’re in trouble, the voice I use when I’m talking to other adults, the voice I write novels in (and that changes depending on the story), the voice I write blog posts in, the voice I write my diary in…

I guess I’m just going to have to pick one, aren’t I? ūüėÄ

Alrighty, then. ¬†I have about as many favorite foods as I have voices (apparently I have a lot of those), but the one that immediately comes to mind is pork chops and rice. ¬†I usually replace the pork chops with chicken breasts, though, which is also fantastic (maybe even better than the pork chops), and my dad would often substitute steaks. ¬†My mom used to make this dish, and I adored it. ¬†Couldn’t get enough.

But the rice is the best part.   The recipe:

Time to slip into something more comfortable…



…like this delicious casserole I fixed for supper last night. ¬†We’re in a rut food-wise, so I decided to try a little something different. ¬†Seymour sometimes gets a little nervous when I start experimenting in the kitchen (and after the lasagna casserole incident, I suppose I can’t blame him, but I still say my pepperoni, green onion, and parsley pizza rocks), but this recipe – which I made up as I went along – was a bona fide crowd-pleaser (Bubbles cheered when I told him I wrote down what I did so I could duplicate the results).

So, without further ado, my recipe for Comfort Casserole (so called because it just felt comfort foody):