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I buy my oats in bulk, at 50 cents a pound. I split a big bag with my friend Tabatha, which still left me with 25 pounds of oats.  I make homemade instant oatmeal, using fruit I dehydrated myself, and use oats in cookies, as a binder in meatloaf, and in bread, as I grind my own oat flour. Oats are also used in granola bars and protein bites.

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I just said a sad goodbye to the last of my holiday company. I had family come and go for 18 days straight. While I didn’t cook a big breakfast every day, I wanted to greet my guests a couple of mornings with a hot breakfast. I had experimented with many recipes in the past, but couldn’t seem to make one I loved. My quest was to make an egg casserole with no bread or potatoes, to offset the carb count of fruit salad, and fruit butters/jams I also served with biscuits. I’m finally happy with a recipe for egg and sausage casserole that’s light tasting, yet substantial. This casserole is fluffy, moist, and full of flavor. It’s a winner.

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My whole family has something I do not – – a sweet tooth. Walking through the bakery aisle, it’s “Oh mom, look at this,” as they lustfully gaze at muffins and quick breads. Because I don’t crave sweets, I have little compassion for their pleas. That’s not to say I don’t like the taste, or I never have ice cream or chocolate covered nuts, but in general I just can’t relate. When my children beg for bakery treats, a few things run through my mind:

A.) These baked goods are overpriced.

B.) They are full of preservatives and junk.

C.) Homemade is so much better.

D.) Why do people like sweets so much?

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There is something fun about making your own mixes at home. I guess it’s like a little science experiment. The benefits of concocting your own mixes include a product with no preservatives, it’s more economical, and you can suit mixes to your family’s tastes.  Also, we often already have the ingredients in our pantry, so why not rotate your pantry staples instead of buying prepared mixes?

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Freezer Bag with Ground Pork Sausage Crumbles

Sausage, even a little sausage, in a dish adds tons of flavor. The problem is, I do not trust what is in store-bought sausage. I’ve bought it sparingly for years because I like it, but I try not to think about what parts I could be eating, especially when a bite seems suspect. Then I got my Kitchen Aid meat grinding attachment for Christmas. We now eat sausage without a care, because I grind it myself using pork butt and add my own seasonings.

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