Saturday, January 10, 2015

Homemade Elderberry Syrup, Natural Remedy for Cold and Flu Prevention

I'm dusting off the old blog to share a this recipe for homemade elderberry syrup that I've been making for my family. Back in early September, my son suddenly had a huge lymph node on the back of his head. When we noticed that one, we started to feel around for others, and he had several -- on the back of his head, on his neck and on his collar bone. After a few days of observation with no change, I took him to the doctor. Her advice wasn't reassuring, "I know it's scary. All we can do is wait and watch. Don't obsess, but keep a close eye." Well, I couldn't live with that, so I did some research and discovered that elderberry was great for healing lymphatic inflammation, among with offering tons of other immunity and antioxidant benefits, including flu prevention. I went on a wild goose chase here in the KC area and discovered ONE place downtown that carried dried elderberries. (You can order them online, but I didn't have time for that!) I spent two hours in the car during rush hour, came home and whipped up the magic elixir immediately. I gave him his first dose the night after our doctor's appointment, and his lymph nodes had gone down significant by morning. Within the week, they were gone. Holy Batman, it worked! Since then, all of us have been taking 1 teaspoon a day as a preventative. All four of my kids like it! No complaints about the flavor at all.

Here is the recipe I used,
  • 2/3 cup dried elderberries
  • 3 1/2 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves or clove powder
  • 1/4 peeled organic green apple
  • 1 cup local raw honey
Directions -

Combine all ingredients except for honey in a large saucepan. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce to a boil. Simmer for about 45 minutes or until the liquid has reduce by half. Remove from heat and strain in to a bowl. (If you want to, you can press the excess liquids out of the strained ingredients with a potato masher.) Once the mixture has cooled, whisk in the honey. Transfer to a sterilized glass container (mason jar, jam jar, whatever.)

The standard preventive dose is 1/2 - 1 tsp for kids and 1/2 - 1 tablespoon for adults. If you start to feel symptoms of the cold or flu, you can take the standard dose before breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Raspberry and Spinach Pizza

Before you go guessing that this sounds super weird, let me assure you that it was not. It was AWESOME. I actually made 2, and my family ate all of both of them.

The original recipe I had called for pomegranate arils, but I couldn't find them out of season, so I switched it up for raspberries. Next time, I would switch out the squash for something seasonal as well. Peaches would have been amazing for a yummy summer pizza


1 store bought pizza crust (This one is from the pizza station at my grocery store.)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves of garlic
a handful of spinach
1 package of fresh mozzarella pearls
a handful of butternut squash (fall) or diced fresh peaches (summer)
1 small package of pomegranate arils (fall) raspberries (summer)

I started by melting the butter in the microwave and grinding the garlic in with a microplane. Then, brush the crust with the melted butter. Next, place a single layer of spinach over the crust and scatter the mozzarella pearls and butternut squash or peaches. Bake as directed. I put the raspberries on while the pizza was still warm, and it was perfection. If you choose to use butternut squash or peaches as I did in the picture, I would put either of those on BEFORE baking.

Easy and surprisingly yummy!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Blueberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Well heck, after posting my daughter's video yesterday, I'm feeling inspired to get my act together! So, here is a new recipe!

I know I've mentioned before that I love making homemade dressing. People really think you're a genius, and it is so NOT hard. It is also healthier and less expensive than store bought.

Several years ago, I saw Rachael Ray make a "bottom of the jar" recipe using jam, vinegar and oil. My husband and I have been obsessed with Bonne Maman preserves lately (BTW, I love shopping at Wal Mart for this type of thing. A jar of Bonne Maman is like $3,75 there vs $5.95 at our Hy Vee!), so I used the bottom of the jar to make this delicious dressing, and it IS DELICIOUS. 

Here is the recipe -

3 tablespoons of blueberry preserves
3 oz of balsamic vinegar
9 oz of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Shake and serve!

Really, this is just a formula. You can test other kinds of vinegars, jams and oils for tons of fun combinations. This is just what I had on hand today.

I served mine on a copy cat Panera salad with hearts of romaine, spinach, blueberries, pineapple, strawberries and pecans. YUM!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Evangeline and Aurelia's New Recipe and Cooking Show!

Oh you guys, it has been SO LONG since I've had a chance to update. It's been so long that my daughter has been inspired to take over!

Evangeline has been dying to start a You Tube cooking channel. This past weekend was rainy, so I filed mer "pilot!"

Please like, comment and subscribe and stay tuned for the next recipe! She will be so happy!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Pull Apart Garlic Bread

This garlic pull apart bread is super fun! I made it for our family Christmas dinner. We had really great lasagna, but the garlic bread stole the show! I was really nervous about making yeast rolls because my only previous experiment with yeast failed miserably, but it turned out just fine! Here is the recipe,

Ingredients -

16 frozen roll dough balls (I used store brand.)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 1/2 tsp garlic seasoning
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
salt and black pepper to taste

Thaw rolls for 45 minutes. While they are still cold, cut them in half and place in a bowl. Then, mix in melted butter and seasoning until each roll is coated. Carefully place the rolls in a single layer in a springform pan. Allow to rise in a warm place for approximately 2 hours or until they have double in size. Sprinkle with cheese.Make sure to place on a cookie sheet because the butter will leak out a little in the oven! Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Serve warm.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

"The Pink Stuff" Salad Dressing Recipe

This is the dressing that I have historically used on my broccoli salad, but I've branched out and started using it on just about everything because it is just DARN good. It's excellent with any kind of Italian salad. People go totally nuts for it. It's not an exact dupe of Pizza Shoppe's "Pink Stuff," but if you like "The Pink Stuff," you'll enjoy this too! The best part is that it is so easy and cheap -- way cheaper and more healthy than commercially made salad dressing. Plus, people think you're a GENIUS when you tell them your dressing is homemade!

Ingredients -

1 cup of mayo
1 cup of red wine vinegar
1 cup of sugar

(FYI, The "true" "Pink Stuff" is heavier on mayo. I also think it has some ketchup, garlic and possibly pickle juice and/or horseradish in it. If anyone wants to give some variations a shot, let me know how they turn out!)

Directions -

Combine in a mason jar or storage container and shake until the sugar is dissolved. You can also play with the recipe a bit. I've found that I like it with less mayo (which makes it healthier,) so I prefer to make it more like a creamy vinaigrette by reducing the amount of mayo I use. No matter how you make it, you will enjoy this one!

And, just for fun, here is another salad recipe to use it on,

Mixed baby greens
Dried Cranberries
Red Onion Rings
Romano or Parmesan cheese shavings
Cracked black pepper
Dressing on the side


Friday, November 22, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Pasta

I apologize for this picture. I really, really struggle with the lighting in our new house. It is the main reason most meals never get shared here anymore. It's just so tough to take a decent picture!

Anyway, I decided to give this Pioneer Woman recipe a shot after I saw it on Food Network. I was impressed by how quick and easy it was, but I was really NOT convinced that I would like it. It turned out that my entire crew loved it. It is GREAT.

Here is the recipe,

1 lb box of Rigatoni (I actually used about 20 oz, so we'd have leftovers.)
4 tbs butter
1/2 white onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar of roasted red peppers
1 cup chicken broth (I used water and buillion)
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup of milk or cream
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
Fresh basil, oregano, parsley (whatever you have)

Cook pasta as directed and strain.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a skillet. Add the onions and garlic until the onion is transparent. Then, add peppers until they are warmed through.

Carefully transfer the pepper mixture to the blender and blend (leaving some chunks.)

Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet. Pour in the pepper puree and stir in the broth, salt and pepper and cream (or milk.) Once the sauce is incorporated, drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce. Top with Parmesan and fresh herbs. YUM!