Sunday, October 28, 2012

Crock Pot mashed potatoes

Who knew you could make mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. I didn't. But then I saw a recipe on Pinterest, tried it and may never make mashed potatoes the traditional way again.


5 Pounds of Russet Potatoes
1 garlic clove minced
14.5-oz. can chicken broth
1/4 cup butter, cut into small cubes chunks
6-oz. container cup plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup milk, warmed
2 ounces of light cream cheese

Chop potatoes into 1-inch cubes or smaller. (I don't peel mine, but I'm weird like that, some people may prefer to).

Place potatoes, chicken broth and butter into the slow cooker. Cover, and cook on high for about 4 hours. (If you're around, you can turn it to low after the first 2-3 hours).

Stir potatoes. This should make them fall apart as if mashed. Add the other ingredients, stir som more and enjoy!

Famous brownies

These brownies really are famous, but their fame has absolutely nothing to do with me. I'm just copy-catting the recipe.

A woman in Great Falls frequently makes these brownies and gives them to all kinds of different causes. She's dropped them off at the Tribune before. Once I was offered some at the police station (I was there for work) and they were even served during the 100-mile bike ride I did over the summer. Else where in the world, these might be known as mint brownies or perhaps grasshopper brownies. Here in Great Falls, they're known as so-and-so brownies. (I'll leave her name out of it, but she's a very nice woman who makes delicious brownies).

We've published her recipe many times in the Tribune. I've made a similar recipe before, but I wanted to try the true so-and-so brownies. I didn't stick to the recipe entirely, since I made them gluten-free, but I they turned out well sans gluten.


1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
16-ounce can chocolate syrup
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Combine sugar and butter. Add eggs and mix well. Add flour, salt, syrup, vanilla and nuts. Mix until combined. Bake in greased and floured 9- by 13-inch pan at 350° for 30 minutes. Do not overbake more than two or three extra minutes. Allow brownies to cool completely. Frost, and then glaze.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 or 3 drops green food coloring
2 tbsp. milk
Combine sugar, butter, milk, peppermint extract and food coloring. Frost cooled brownies.
1 cup chocolate chips
6 tbsp. butter
Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat. Let cool slightly, and spread over cooled, frosted brownies.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

It must be fall

I tried to keep up with this blog over the summer, but somehow I just never found time to update it.

I was still cooking, and maybe at some point I'll find the time to post some of those recipes. But rather than trying to play catchup, I'll just start where I am now.

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the changing colors, the crisp air and I especially love fall food.

Today I baked three pie pumpkins for my first attempt at making my own pumpkin puree. I have big plans for my pumpkin puree, including curry, soup and perhaps a breakfast dish. In fact I'm planning to write a food page article for the Tribune about my pumpkin experiments.

Roasted pumpkin seeds

I started playing with pumpkin early. I needed to bring dessert to a dinner party and I hadn't yet made my puree, so I bought some and tried a pumpkin dump cake. Dump cake is my all time favorite camping dutch oven dish. Dump cake really can only be made in a dutch oven (by dumping a can of pie filling, a bag of cake mix and soda or butter over the top and baking it in the fire). So I'm calling this recipe pumpkin cobbler. (See below).

The recipe calls for a small can of pumpkin, but I could only find large ones, so I saved half and used it today to make pumpkin pie filling. (I make it without the crust and cut back on sugar, so it's almost a vegetable dish that way, right?)

That put me in the mood for cranberries, which I happened to have in the freezer, saved from last winter in case I was desperate for cranberries at some point over the summer. (I just followed the recipe on the bag).

Pumpkin Cobbler

(Found on Pinterest and adapted from The Picky Apple)


1 box yellow cake mix (I used gluten free)
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
3 large eggs
1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom of 9-by-13-inch pan.

Mix pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour mixture into greased pan.

Sprinkle dry cake mix over pumpkin mixture.  Slice butter over cake mix. Bake 50-55 minutes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Peanut-y noodles

I'm so far behind on posting recipes here.

I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, much of it with my fresh veggies from the CSA farm.

This dish was my first time using bok choy. It was adapted from a recipe included in our weekly farm newsletter. The recipe was for a cold noodle salad, but I used it to make a hot pad Thai-type dish.

8 oz Pad Thai noodles
1 head/bunch of bok choy
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 medium carrots chopped
4-5 green onions sliced
1/2 cup chopped cashews
For the sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 lime, juiced and zested
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
3 tablespoons honey or molasses
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro (stems and all)
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
2-4 T water

Soak noodles as directed on the package.

In the meantime, chop up the veggies and make the sauce.

For the sauce: Put the ingredients in the blender and blend, or, just mix by hand. (Use warm water to help soften the peanut butter.)

In a large wok, stir fry the bok choy. Add the other vegetables. When the noodles are done soaking, add them to the wok. Pour the sauce into the mix and stir fry everything until the noodles are soft.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rhubarb Cake

The original recipe that inspired this cake was actually a recipe for a strawberry cake, but when I saw the picture on Pinterest, I assumed it was rhubarb.

The strawberry version, I'm sure, is delicious, but I decided to try it with rhubarb since I've got lots of that growing in my garden.

My recipe looked something like this:


1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
3 eggs
3 tablespoon lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I used a flour mixture from Williams-Sonoma)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 oz. plain yogurt
About 2 cups rhubarb, diced
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.

Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.

Toss the rhubarb with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. Gently mix into the batter.

Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Cauliflower pizza

A friend at work gave me this recipe. She said it was a great way to make an easy, gluten-free pizza crust.

I was a little skeptical when she said the crust was made from cauliflower, but it really is a good recipe. Not only does the crust contain cauliflower, but there's also cheese baked into it, which makes it gooey and delicious. I was worried about the crust holding together, put it really does -- maybe not enough to pick up a slice of pizza and eat it, but it worked just fine with a fork and knife.

I highly recommend this one:


1 cup cooked, riced cauliflower (directions below)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp garlic salt

To "Rice" the Cauliflower:

Take 1 large head of fresh cauliflower, remove stems and leaves, and chop the florets into chunks. Place in food processor and pulse until it looks like grain.

Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 8 minutes.

(One large head should produce approximately 3 cups of riced cauliflower. The remainder can be used to make additional pizza crusts immediately, or can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. I chopped up my left-over cauliflower and roasted it in the oven with some olive oil and garlic. Yum!)

To Make the Pizza Crust:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup cauliflower, egg and mozzarella. Add oregano, crushed garlic and garlic salt, stir.

Transfer to the cookie sheet, and using your hands, pat out into a 9" round.

Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven. To the crust, add sauce, toppings and cheese. Place under a broiler at high heat just until cheese is melted (approximately 3-4 minutes).

The inspiration for my toppings came from something I found on Pinterest. I skipped the poblano pepper, and instead sauteed zucchini, corn, garlic and red onion. (I didn't add the milk or egg or anything). I also added some sliced yellow pepper and topped it all with fresh dill and cheddar cheese. After the pie came out of the oven, I added some chopped tomatoes. Good stuff!

The veggies have arrived

On Friday, I picked up my second batch of farm-fresh vegetables.

This summer I signed up for a CSA share from a near-by farm. If you're not familiar with Community Supported Agriculture, the basics of it are people buy shares of a farm and then throughout the growing season receive vegetables as they come in to season.

Our first two shipments of vegetables have been mostly salad greens with some kale and chard. Last week I ate all my veggies as fresh salads, and I'll likely do the same this week.

A while back I decided to quit buying salad dressing. Basically, I was in the store, reading the ingredients on a bottle, checking for gluten, and decided store-bought dressing has way too  many ingredients in it to be healthy, plus it's expensive. I'd rather just drizzle a little oil and vinegar on my salad.

Recently though, I've started experimenting with making my own salad dressing. This week's newsletter from the farm included this salad dressing recipe, which I can promise is delicious.


3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp paprika
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch dill, chopped

Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy on salad or as a dip.

The dressing recipe came with this salad recipe, which I haven't tried yet, but look forward to:


1 large head or bag of lettuce
1 can black olives, halved
1/2 to 1cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup shredded kale
1 cup shredded chard
3-5 green onions, chopped (or a 1/2 a red onion thinly sliced)
1 can or 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans and/or
2-3 chicken breasts, marinated with Greek marinade, grilled, then sliced and placed on top of salad (optional)