Holiday Rolls

Since I was a child, every Christmas Eve my mother would stay up after we went to bed prepping our morning breakfast of oooey-gooey rolls. Eventually we expanded these treats to occasionally have on Thanksgiving or New Year’s morning as well. It has now become my family’s tradition as well, and I have shared these with my in-laws who also love them and request them on holidays.

I don’t know where the recipe originates from (maybe my mom does), but it is easy. Here is what you need:

  • 1 package Rhodes frozen dinner rolls
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts work best)
  • 1/2 to 1 package butterscotch pudding (regular, but instant works in a pinch. I have also used caramel pudding when I could not find butterscotch, and I could not tell a difference in the flavor.)
  • Cinnamon
  • Bundt pan

Here is what to do:

  1. Grease bundt pan and sprinkle chopped nuts in the bottom.
  2. Later frozen dinner rolls, sprinkling with pudding and cinnamon between layers
  3. Heat butter and brown sugar until bubbling (you can do this in the microwave or on the stovetop)
  4. Pour butter/sugar mixture over rolls.
  5. Cover and refrigerate until morning.
  6. When ready to bake, let come to room temp for an hour to begin rise.
  7. Bake at 350 for 45 to 50 min until well risen and golden.
  8. Don’t eat them all yourself!

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Red Lentil Veggie Burgers 

These veggie burgers, adapted from a recipe I clipped from Sunset Magazine, are a favorite of my two very picky eaters. They are soft and delicious, and they pack a good amount of protein and nutrients, so I love feeding these to my kids.

START by cooking up 1 cup of red lentils. The original recipe called for 2 cups of pre-cooked lentils, but I have always used dry. I make them like rice, 2 cups water to 1 cup of rinsed RED lentils (Red are softer and more mild than regular lentils, of which I am not a huge fan). Simmer for 20 minutes, then set aside. These work better with the recipe when cool, so make them ahead of time, even the night before if you want. I usually just make in advance them leave to cool on the stove for an hour or two until I am ready to prep the rest of the burgers.

To prep the add ins, you’ll need about 3/4 cup of chopped spinach (I keep frozen on hand and let it thaw a little before chopping,  though it chops better when not completely thawed), 1 medium carrot, shredded, 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely diced onion or scallion (I use what I have on hand), 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (cheddar is good, but any hard cheese will work), 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (any kind, but regular crumb work better than panko), 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp each of kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic powder, and 1 egg. 

I experiment with different ways of mixing this and baking it, because my picky eaters do not like seeing any green or orange. You can mix by hand and form into patties and bake or cook in oil on the stove, but this last time I put all the ingredients in my Ninja and blended until the spinach and carrot were specks of color. I ended up having to add another 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs to get the right consistency to form into patties, but they turned out soft and tasty. I have also found that cooking in oil in my cast iron pan yields the best results. I cover and cook on medium heat for about 4 minutes per side and re-oil between batches with a brush dipped in oil. 

Here is the recipe:

  • 2 cups cooked red lentils,  cooled (or whatever yields from 1 cup dry, cooked)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup finely chopped onion or scallion
  • about 3/4 cup chopped spinach (really you can do this with any leafy green, and cooked or raw both work!)
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Mix together by hand or in a mixer, form into patties, and cook on an oiled cast iron pan, covered, about 4 minutes each side.

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Slow Cooker Tortilla Soup

I made the best tortilla soup the other day–so good that, unusually so, we ate up all the leftovers pretty fast. Here’s what I did:

  • 2 frozen chicken breasts  (didn’t plan ahead for this, so put them on water to thaw while I prepped the other stuff)
  • 1/2 vidalia onion, diced
  • Red pepper, diced
  • 2 wilted Ancho peppers seeded and diced finely
  • 2 chopped serrano chiles (red ones from our garden)
  • 2 chopped hot banana peppers from the garden
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
  • Approximately 1 TB tomato paste
  • About 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (I actually used Simply Balanced boxed black beans from Target…no bpa lined can!)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed

Threw it all in the crockpot and cooked on high 4 hours. Topped it with cilantro and tortilla chips to eat. Delicious!!!!!

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Pumpkin Bread

My helpers and I whipped up a batch of pumpkin bread this morning, the first time we have tried this. (I should clarify that this is a loaf pumpkin bread, not a pumkin bread cake for which I shared my recipe 3 years ago.) I used this recipe for Downeast Maine Pumpkin bread from All Recipes, but made some modifications. It still turned out moist and delicious!

Here is the recipe as I did it:

  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil 
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce 
  • 2/3 cup water 
  • 1 1/2 cup flour 
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves 
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease and flour 3 7 x 3 loaf pans (one of mine is 9 x 5, and I only have 2 pans, but this worked fine for 2 loaves as well. I baked the larger loaf an extra 5 minutes.
  2. Combine pumpkin, eggs, sugars, and water  and mix until well blended. I did this by hand, with a wisk.
  3. Whisk together dry ingredients. 
  4. Add pumpkin mixture to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Pour into prepared pans.
  6. Bake 50 minutes at 350.

The helpers loved it. My son said it tastes just like Starbucks’!

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Hummingbird Bundt Cake

I just had another slice of this yummy Hummingbird Bundt Cake, the recipe for which I tore out of Southern Living magazine years ago and has been living happily in my recipe binder ever since.  A few days ago, when I went to look up my go-to recipe  for banana chocolate chip muffins with whole wheat flour and coconut oil from little spice jar, I saw the magazine page with this scrumptious-looking cake staring at me. I had pretty much everything I needed to make it, so, with the help of my 4 year old, we whipped 

this up with our bananas for dessert rather than making muffins for breakfast. 

I initially thought it was too sweet, but after a night in the fridge, it tasted delicious with my morning coffee (I mean, it is basically a fancy banana bread with pineapple and cream cheese frosting.) Yum!

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Menu Planning

A few weeks ago, at the long-past suggestion of a menu-planning friend, I finally bought a cheap weekly planner from Barnes and Noble for the express purpose of planning meals. Since it’s arrival, I have planned 3 weeks in a row of dinner,  and it has helped me to expand our menu and diversify the genres we eat each week. I pull my meals from blogs, my own repertoire, and magazines like Cooking Light and Southern Living, which I get with airline miles.

Since the purpose of this blog originally was just to share my weekly menus, I thought I would share this week’s menu!
Monday: Skinny Taste’s (LOVE her recipes!) Mediterranean Quinoa Bowls

Tuesday: Honey Dijon Glazed Salmon with Zuchinni and Herbed Bulgar, pg. 25 in the September 2016 edition of Cooking Light.

Wednesday: I am makong quiche. It’s a great dish for using up miscellaneous  veggies in the fridge. I will use goat cheese and cheddar since I have no ricotta on hand and am not likely to get to the store.

Thursday: Beef and Vegetable Ragout on a bed of cauliflower polenta, from the September issue of Cooking Light  (it came the day I sat down to plan this week’s menu). Pg. 28

Friday: leftovers or pizza

Saturday: Pork Chops and couscous with tomato-caper sauce, Cooking Light, Sept. 2016, pg. 36. I will make a side of green beans.

Sunday we will do grilled chicken and roasted veggies, with rice.

Bonus: for breakfast today we made These yummy zuchinni muffins from Gimme Some Oven. Her muffin recipes are delicious! We added 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips. Very yummy!!



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Curried Coconut Crusted Hake with Blueberry-Pear Balsamic Reduction

IMG_1947 Continue reading

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Baked Cornflake Chicken Fingers

I haven’t made these in ages, but something about this almost spring-like weather made me think: Yummy, crispy, chicken-y, goodness for dinner! Plus, I’m curious if my toddler, who has quite discriminating tastes, will eat them…nonetheless, here’s a simple, healthy(ish) recipe for delicious chicken fingers!
(taken from Oven-Fried Chicken Fingers)

Gourmet  | January 2004

yield: Serves 12 children

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 45 min


  • 2 1/2 lb skinless boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 7 cups cornflakes (7 oz), coarsely crushed


Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Butter 2 large shallow (1 inch deep) baking pans.

Gently pound chicken between sheets of plastic wrap with flat side of a meat pounder or with a rolling pin until 1/3 inch thick. Cut chicken lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips.

Stir together butter, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish. Put cornflakes in another shallow dish. Working with 1 strip at a time, dip in butter, then dredge in cornflakes, pressing flakes firmly to help adhere. Transfer as coated to baking pans.

Bake, switching position of pans halfway through baking, until chicken is golden and cooked through, about 15 minutes total.

Cool chicken in pans on racks to room temperature (crust will firm up as it cools).

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Falling for Pumpkin Bread

Every year as the air turns crisp and it comes time to don cozy clothes, I crave pumpkin. Yesterday was no exception, but I did not want to make pumpkin bread using either of the recipes I have used in the past. I wanted something fast and easy, but something that would turn out soft and delicious.  This is what I came up with.


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (ground)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground allspice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Crisco shortening (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 can pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350 with rack in middle.
  2. Cream eggs, sugar, pumpkin, Crisco, and molasses.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Add creamed wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix well.
  5. Spread into lightly greased (use what’s left on the Crisco shortening wrapper) 9 x 13 baking pan.
  6. If desired, sprinkle top with chopped walnuts (for an even yummier topping, try mixing 1/2 cup walnuts with 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 TB melted butter. Spread over top of bread).
  7. Bake at 350 degrees 25-30 minutes.

Caution: this is soft, moist, and addicting. Do not eat all in one sitting!!! Enjoy the flavors of fall!

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Black Bean Enchiladas

Last night, I wanted to use up some black beans and avocados that I had laying around. I was sort of sick of burritos, which we have bi-monthly at a minimum, and haven’t made enchiladas in ages. So I scoured the web (ok, just browsed the first page of hits that came up when I googled “black bean enchiladas”) and found two recipes that sounded promising. I used the sauce recipe from Budget Bytes recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas, and I used Minimalist Baker’s Black Bean Green Chili and Manchego Enchilada Recipe as a springboard for creating my own black bean filling.

The sauce from the Budget Bytes recipe was AMAZING. I made it exactly per the instructions, only I used 1 1/2 TB of Chili Powder rather than 2, to keep the heat down (it was perfect, but 2 TB would definitely not be too much heat).

To Minamalist Baker’s recipe, I subbed out Parmesan cheese for manchego (just what I had in the fridge), and added chopped onion and tomato to the filling as well.

I rolled them up in Santa Fe Whole Wheat Tortillas from Costco (love these!), drenched them in the sauce, and baked them at 350 for about 20-25 minutes, until the sauce was bubbling.

They were delicious, but the sauce made them. I will definitely be using this recipe again! Thanks Budget Bytes!

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