In honor of my Seahawks playing in the Superbowl this weekend, I'm sharing my dad's recipe for bacon flavored popcorn.

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tbsp. bacon grease (preferably from bacon cooked that morning)
1/3 cup popping corn kernels

1. Toss oil and grease into kettle / pot and warm over medium heat. You can test temperature by tossing a couple of vanguard kernels in to make sure they pop.

2. Add the remaining kernels, cover, and shake to coat the kernels with oil until you hear popping sounds. You might be able to find a specialty kettle with a handle for stirring the kernels to make life easier.

3. Cook until the popping stops. Should only take a few minutes.

Here's another, this time a Christmas cookie handed down through the family for ages. I likely won't be able to cook it for a couple years. So I expect one of you to do so. For the candied fruit, buy it after Christmas when it goes on sale and dunk it in bourbon; just let it soak  for the rest of the year until you use it.

Baseler Liebkuchen
·         1 pint honey
·         3 Cups sugar
·         2 Cups chopped walnuts
·         1 lbs Candied mixed fruit chopped finely and seasoned with bourbon at least 3 months
·         2 Tablespoons nutmeg
·         2 Tablespoon baking soda
·         1/2 cup + cinnamon
·         1/2 Tablespoon cloves
·         1/2 cup dry wine (don't need if candied fruit well seasoned)
·         1/2 cup water
·         Grated rind of 2 lemons
·         Lots of flour
In large bowel bring honey and sugar to low boil to melt sugar.
Mix in nuts.
Remove from heat and mix in candied fruit, spices and other ingredients.
Let cool (optional).
Dissolve baking soda in small amount of water and mix in (you may see some foaming).
Add flour and mix, add more flour and mix, etc., scoop out a ball and kneed in more flour
On floured surface roll out and cut.
Lay on cloth overnight.
Bake next day on greased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 10 minutes (do not over bake)

For icing, squeeze those lemons out and then keep adding powdered sugar to the lemon juice until it can take no more. Brush onto the cookies and let harden/dry.

A few years ago, when money was really really tight, my husband picked up some books re: frugal cooking from the library. I copied a few of the ones that sounded appealing to me.

In the past, I have taken the idea of the following recipe and just changed some things up a bit. As witnessed from the previous recipe I shared, we're big on garlic, so I went for a garlic/onion/parmesan mix before.

But just yesterday, I made this up according to recipe... and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised how the spices worked so well together. My husband inhaled it, citing it as "excessively delicious". The only alteration I had to make was dry chopped onion for the raw, as we did not have one in the house that wasn't green...

Spuds & Carrot Bash
-- 3 large potatoes & 3 large carrots, copped and/or cubed
-- 1/4 cup olive oil
-- 1/2 tsp each: cumin, paprika, basil
-- 1/4 cup chopped raw sweet onion
-- splash of soy sauce

1. Boil carrots and potatoes until tender (if using softer spuds, cook the carrots a little before adding the potatoes).
2. Drain, then mash your cooked roots.
3. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

Serve immediately.

(Filed as "Other" since it's a good side to a meat and salad dinner)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies

my personal recipe

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
12 tbsp butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1-1/2 cups of chocolate chips/chunks

Mix all ingredients into a bowl (avoid electronic assistance, if possible). When well mixed, ball cookie dough into portions on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When full, place baking sheet into 'fridge for 1 hour. After the hour, break each ball in half and reassemble with the broken edges facing upward. Bake at 325°F in a preheated oven for 10-20 minutes, depending on your oven.

Keep a watchful eye on your cookies. Let them cool in between two cooking sessions of 8 minutes each, if needed. They should, at no time, stick to the parchment paper or cookie sheet.

The cookies featured in the photo have the super big semi-sweet chocolate chips. I baked these tonight.

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During my residence in Germany fifteen years ago, I became a little homesick and wanted my grandma's lemon bars for comfort food. I wrote her a letter, asking for the recipe. In response, she shipped me all her recipes with a letter explaining that she was getting on in years and wanted me to have them all. Many of these are recipes she'd gotten from her mother, aunts, and grandmother, and so on with them.

I was deeply honored by the gift, even before doing the genealogy and realizing just how old some of these recipes are.

My ex-husband, an abusive villain with next to no redeeming qualities, vindictively destroyed them along with many other personal, meaningful belongings when I took my three year-old son (now 18) and my pregnant self (middle son is now 14) away from him and into safety.

Thankfully, once I make something, drive somewhere, or do something, I remember how to do it. So, I have kept grandma's recipes in my head for all these years. They are very casual and unprofessional up there, lounging around with a number of assumptions and "season to taste" frivolty.

I've tried to clean them up a little so they look presentable to others now that my kids are wanting to increase their cooking skills. My daughter is especially interested in family recipes. I hope this will do.

Here's grandma's banana bread.

Banana Bread
3-4 bananas
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1 ts vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
pinch of salt

Preheat at 350°F
Mix all ingredients
Bake in greased loaf pan for 60 minutes.

Included: Pictures of each step with some additional commentary/explanation and the baked result of 200+ years of french family.

Bon appétit!
12 Photos - View album

Its been a while since I saw anything posted. So I thought I'd provide a pretty simple recipe that works great for a family breakfast.

Sausage Casserole
·         English Bread or French bread w/o crust
·         About 8 eggs whipped / beaten
·         4 cup milk
·         Mustard
·         Cheddar
·         Sausage (Jimmy Dean)
Layer as bread, eggs mixed w/ milk, mustard, sausage, then cheese. Put together and let stand in refrigerator overnight.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Actual baking time varies depending on the dish you used. If its too runny, put it back in.

You can easily vary the size, but keep the 2 eggs to 1 cup of milk ratio.

If you want to prep a gravy, get a can of mushroom soup and mix in a cup or so of sherry.

Basic Risotto

It's easy, it's cheap, it's out of almost all shelf stable ingredients, it's delicious, and it sounds a little sophisticated. It takes a bit of time, but mostly it's stirring. We actually have a bar stool whose express purpose is for sitting at the stove while stirring risotto.

Get about 3 cups of broth to boiling. A can, a carton, bouillon and water, Better Than Bouillon and water (our standard), it all works. Lower the heat to simmering.

chop: a shallot OR a clove of elephant garlic OR about 1/4 cup onion and a couple cloves of garlic.

Saute that in about a T of olive oil. Add 3/4 cup arborio rice, stir to coat, and let it cook a little bit. About a minute; not long enough to brown. Add about 1/2c white wine. (We get the little 4 packs to cook with. Holland House cooking wine is shelf stable, but you do need to adjust the salt balance--use low sodium broth.) 

Stir until nearly all the liquid is incorporated. Add a ladle of broth. Repeat until broth is all used or rice is tender. If you run out of broth, use water.

Turn the heat off. Stir in a T of butter and grated Parmesan to taste. Dust with dried or chopped parsley.

Simple and healthy meal

Quinoa w/ spinach and chicken - serves 2

1/2 c quinoa
1 c water or chicken broth
1-2 tsp minced garlic (to taste)

Combine quinoa with water/broth and bring to boil.
Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 15 min (until water is absorbed and center of granules is no longer white).

Mix in 2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach, loosely packed
along with a dash of lemon juice.

Cook up about 1lb chicken as desired (we cook up chicken tenders in a ceramic frying pan, not needing any flavor added).

To serve, plate the quinoa/spinach mixture, top with grated parmesan cheese, and add the chicken.

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Salads aren't all pasta or leafy, right? I'm categorizing as salad, though it can be a meal in itself.

Rosemary Potato Tuna Salad

This comes together pretty easily, and can be a little fancy or not, depending on what you add to it. I am not good with exact measurements, but it's very forgiving, except for the essential oil, if you use it.

1 large russet potato, 1/2 sweet onion--chop and microwave 5 minutes, then put in oil in a sizzling hot skillet. Cast iron, if you have it. Toss it, cover it, turn the heat off (but don't take the pan off) after about 3 minutes.

Mix in a bowl: 1 6oz can tuna, drained. A splash (an ounce? I usually do a 3 second pour) of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. One drop of rosemary essential oil. (You can use fresh or dried herb instead, chopped/crushed as finely as you can.) A little blob of dijon, a teaspoon to a tablespoon of ponzu. Salt and pepper to taste.

Your potatoes and onions should be cooked with a bit of a crust. Cook them longer if they are still too firm in the middle. Add them to the bowl.

Add ins: A handful of fresh parsley. Fresh tomatoes. Thinly sliced radishes. Pickles, especially if it's not salty enough yet.

Kale Avocado Salad — Serves 2 (main dish) to 4 (side salad)

• One large bunch organic kale
• One large ripe avocado, guacamole-ready (organic not necessary)
• Salt
• Juice of 1/2 lemon
• 3 medium-sized organic tomatoes (I prefer heirloom, but choose your favorite)
• Your favorite salad toppings

Several hours before mealtime, wash the kale and remove the leaves from the stems. Dry leaves in a salad spinner. Let the kale sit and continue to dry for at least 5hrs—the shorter the dry time, the more moisture is trapped in the kale and the squishier the final salad will be.

Several minutes before mealtime, slice the avocado and tomatoes into cubes, and juice half a lemon. place the kale, avocado, and lemon juice into a large bowl and lightly salt. Knead the salad until the kale is generously covered in avocado, 2–4 minutes. Taste a leaf of kale, if still tough to chew, add more salt and knead for another minute or two.

Add cubed tomatoes and other toppings and serve.

A note about the salt: it is to help break down the fibrous kale when kneading to make it easier to chew and digest. Don't skimp!
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