Sunday, October 13, 2013

Autumn Soup

It's that time of year when we seem to all have a hankerin' for that delicious soup! I recall both Mom and Daddy making it. I think he's the one that found the recipe in a magazine, and made it a time or two, and she took over after that. However it went, it was DELICIOUS and we still love to have it simmering. We put it in the crockpot in the morning on Conference Sunday this year and served it up with some garlic toast. Yum, yum!

Autumn Soup

1 lb. ground beef or turkey
4 C. water or stock
1 C. onions, chopped
1 C. carrots, chopped
1 C. celery, chopped
1 C. potatoes, diced

1 lg. can stewed tomatoes (or 6 fresh)
2 t. salt
1/8 t. basil
1/4 t. pepper
1 t. kitchen bouquet or soup base
1 bay leaf (broken apart)

Brown meat and add everything else into the pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 2 hours.

Cristi's modifications:
I use less water and more tomatoes, just regular diced in the can.
I use about 1 T. of basil and several bay leaves.
I don't use kitchen bouquet because it contains MSG, so I may throw in a bit of Worcestershire sauce and paprika, or whatever I'm in the mood for.
I never measure my veggies - I just chop and toss and it always comes out great!
Shake some Parmesan cheese on top or grated Jack is good, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Easy Thai Chicken & Rice

My mom and I attended the Taste of Home Cooking School last week, and this was a dish they made that I knew I had to try right away. I am always looking for a good tasting dish that is both healthy and easy, and while what defines "healthy" is different for everyone, it is EASY to whip up in no time and SO flavorful. It is a dish that I know Grandma would love and it will definitely be a staple at our house from now on!

1 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp brown sugar, firmly packed
1 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
1 tsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 bag (16 ounce) frozen Asian-style veggies, thawed
1/2 cup peanuts, chopped

1. Prepare rice.
2. In a small bowl, combine combine coconut milk, brown sugar, curry paste, lime juice and salt. In a nonstick pan over medium heat, combine chicken and vegetables. Add curry sauce and cook until heated through.
3. Garnish with chopped peanuts and additional lime, if desired.

- I used 3 cups uncooked rice and it was the perfect amount. Quinoa would be good too! I also used the remainder of the can of the coconut milk for some of the liquid in the rice to give it additional flavor.
- I cut up two raw chicken breasts into bite size pieces and sauteed it in olive oil until browned, then added the veggies and sauce. I had a 3 lb bag of frozen veggies and used half, so you can easily add more than it calls for and there was plenty of sauce. You could easily make this a vegetarian meal and use all veggies! Because my amounts were a bit larger than what the recipe called for, our meal easily served 6.
- The curry paste I had said it was spicy, so I was wary of using a full Tbsp and only used about 1/2. It wasn't spicy at all, so I will definitely add the full amount next time.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Mo's and Clam Chowder

One thing I will always remember about Grandma Cleo was how well she cooked.  She was specifically known for her soups.  People in the ward and neighborhood would often ask her for a pot of soup, and if my memory serves me correctly, I think they sold for quite a lot Though she never taught me how to make soups, and though I certainly wouldn't consider myself a 'great cook', Jon says I make a 'mean soup', and I like to think I somehow inherited that from Grandma.

Another thing I remember is how much Grandma always raved about "Mo's Clam Chowder".  We HAD to go there every time we went to the coast, and that tradition lives on in our family.  Now that I've moved to the coast, I went on a quest for a good clam chowder recipe, and, after trying a few different recipes, I decided on this one (from  We love it, and make it for all of our out of town guests.  (Come see for yourself....)

My Best Clam Chowder Recipe


  • 3 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 2 cups cubed potatoes
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart half-and-half cream
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • ground black pepper to taste


  1. Drain juice from clams into a large skillet over the onions, celery, potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover, and cook over medium heat until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk in cream and stir constantly until thick and smooth. Stir in vegetables and clam juice. Heat through, but do not boil.
  3. Stir in clams just before serving. If they cook too much they get tough. When clams are heated through, stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy 82nd Birthday!

Daddy/Grandpa's 80th Birthday

Happy Birthday Daddy/Grandpa!

Daddy turned 82 today. He's lived longer than his dad, mom and brother. I called Daddy to wish him a happy birthday and he said that for breakfast Cynthia took him to the Original House of Pancakes and he had an Apple Pancake (we'll have to post a recipe for that another time). I haven't been there in years but have fond memories of going there when I was a little girl. I love that place! Cynthia is also making Daddy a chocolate cherry birthday cake. This is one of his favorites and I wish I could be there to celebrate and eat cake. On my most recent trip to Oregon to visit mom and daddy, I found some of mom's and daddy's recipes and sure enough, there was a recipe for chocolate cherry cake, so in honor of Daddy's birthday today, I'm posting the recipe I found in their recipe box.


1 pkg. Devils Food Cake mix
1- 21 oz. can cherry pie filling
2 eggs - beaten

Mix together and put into a greased and floured 9x13 pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 min.

1 cup sugar
5 T butter
1/3 cup milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine sugar, butter and milk in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil while stirring. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips until smooth. Pour over warm cake.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ranch Potatoes

From the time I was very young, I remember Mom (Cleo) telling the story of how, when she and Daddy were first married, she fixed a nice well-balanced dinner with vegetables, etc. Daddy sat down to the table, took one look at the food and pushed back his chair. He got up and went and fixed himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Mom was, of course, crushed. Fortunately, he learned to not only eat vegetables, but to LOVE them! They both were good examples of vegetable eaters, and we all learned to love them, too. Under our family's current circumstances, that is a very good thing!

I have a book entitled Original Fast Foods and it has some good recipes that are definitely on the healthier side. Since my husband has been ill and we're making a lot of dietary changes to help with his wellness, I have gotten myself reacquainted with some of my healthier lifestyle publications. Right now he's only eating vegetables, some nuts (almonds and cashews) and seeds, fermented soy, and low sugar fruits (berries). It's been challenging to find interesting things that are tasty and diverse. Last night at the end of Family Home Evening, we each took one of the healthy cookbooks and found a couple of recipes that would work or could be adapted easily enough. We came across some pretty yummy sounding things!

{click to enlarge}

The recipe I made tonight, Ranch Potatoes, was something I fixed a number of weeks ago when he had already stopped eating meat but was still eating potatoes. We loved it, but now he cannot have potatoes other than sweet potatoes or yams. So I decided to try it again with that substitution. It was so colorful when I finished adding the greens that I just had to snap a photo. Does that not look like a pan just stuffed full of vitamins??? Wow!

We also made our own version of Vegan Ranch Dressing to put on it (trying to copy the stuff we adore from Ginger's Cafe in Springville). Oh, yum! The recipe says to cook up everything with the dressing poured in, but we just put the dressing on individually at the table.

This qualifies as comfort food for us now. It is delicious and nutritious and easy to make. It requires a lot of chopping, but that's okay. It's worth it!

Ranch Potatoes

2 lg. potatoes (Yukon Golds or yams), cubed into 1/2" chunks
1 lg. onion, diced
2 C. carrots, sliced
1 zucchini, sliced into small pieces (I used yellow squash this time)
1 sweet bell pepper, diced
1 tomato, diced
4 C. greens (I've used baby spinach, kale, chard; you could also use bok choy, napa cabbage, etc.)
1 - 2 C. Almond Ranch or Vegan Ranch dressing

Add all ingredients to pan except for greens. Stir well in dressing and cook until tender. Add sliced leafy greens and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.
My notes:
I used some olive oil because I don't cook with non-stick cookware.
I like to let the potatoes, onions, and carrots cook a little first before adding the more tender vegetables.

Serve and enjoy!

Almond Ranch Dressing
2 C. almond milk*
3 T. ranch dressing seasoning
3 T. Ultra Gel

*Almond Milk
1 C. almonds (soak in water overnight, drain and rinse)
3 - 4 cups pure water
1 - 2 T. raw maple syrup (optional)

Place almonds in blender. Add water and blend for 3 to 4 minutes at high speed. Strain through muslin, nylon, linen, or cheesecloth. Add maple syrup if desired. Shake well before serving.

Vegan Ranch Dressing (our own adaptation of Ginger's and an online recipe)
1/2 C. soy sour cream
1/2 C. Vegenaise (we like the grapeseed kind)
1/4 C. soy, almond, or rice milk
1 1/2 t, apple cider vinegar
2 rounded t. fresh parsley, chopped
1 rounded T. chopped leeks
1 T. chopped chives
1 clove crushed garlic (or 1/2 t. garlic powder)
1/4 - 1/2 t. Real Salt
1/2 t. fresh ground pepper

Put all in a blender and blend until smooth. We liked a few bits of the herbs unblended. Yummy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

National Pancake Day

You might be asking yourself "What do pictures of the cabin have to do with National Pancake Day?" Well, I'll be happy to tell you. My first memory of Daddy's famous buttermilk pancakes were cooked on that woodstove in the cabin. I have such great memories of awaking in the morning to the sound of Devil's Creek and the smell of bacon and buttermilk pancakes.

The love of those buttermilk pancakes has been passed on to my children. They became very familiar with them while staying at Grandma and Grandpa's. Now, whenever we take vacations together, they always ask if we can have Grandpa's pancakes for breakfast. So, in honor of National Pancake Day and my daddy who made them many times in "Cleo's Kitchen", I'm posting Daddy's/Grandpa's famous buttermilk pancakes recipe.

Buttermilk Pancakes

6 eggs
1 quart buttermilk
2 T baking soda
2 T sugar
1 t salt
4 cups flour
2 T baking powder
1 T yeast
1/4 c. of warm water
1/4 c oil or melted butter

Dissolve yeast in water. Beat eggs and set aside. Mix together buttermilk, soda, and salt. Whisk together flour and baking powder. Add this to buttermilk mixture. Add yeast and sugar, then fold in the eggs. Let set overnight in the fridge. In the morning, add milk and melted butter to thin the batter.
Cook on griddle

Friday, February 25, 2011

Summer chicken salad

Because I didn't live near Cleo year-round, most of my memories with her involve the SUMMER, when we would come stay with her for months at a time. One of my favorite things to do was to go on picnics with she and grandpa - along the Columbia River Gorge, at the Rose Gardens or just down the street at Willamette Park. Cleo knew how to pack the perfect picnic. Chicken salad sandwiches were a regular part of her picnic ensemble. While she didn't ever have an actual recipe, this is my own recipe I've created after making it with her many times.

Summer Chicken Salad


  • 2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup grapes, halved
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 croissants, split


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Spoon about 1/2 cup into each croissant. Approximately 4 servings.
On snowy days like today, when it feels like winter will never, ever end, I can't help but think of summer and all of the fresh, yummy food that comes with it. So what better way to lighten up a dreary winter day than with some summertime food, and maybe the warm weather will decide to make an appearance too!