Simple & Healthy Ingredients Make For Delicious Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing

So, welcome 2015! 

Like many people who make new year resolutions, eating healthier options of the things I like always tops my list.  I’m always optimistic coming out of the gate but somewhere along the line I start lose my momentum, fall off the wagon, and resort to my old (not so wise) eating habits.  I vow every year that “this year is going to be different”.   And in the end, I’ve only fooled myself into believing that I could forgo delicious sweets, homemade bread, second helpings of my favorite dish of macaroni and cheese, and of course the great wines found here in the Finger Lakes Region and abroad. 

But… In a good faith effort to try try again, I’m sharing a recipe I found at The Pioneer Woman’s blog for a healthy and delicious homemade salad dressing she has named Aunt Trish’s Salad Dressing.  I made a couple adaptations to the original recipe.

I decided that Aunt Trish’s dressing has a Mediterranean taste to it – which I love.  It tastes so fresh and healthy, and the fact that there are no preservatives makes it all the better.  I do have to warn you that this recipe makes a considerably small batch.  My suggestion is to double or triple the recipe because I’m sure it will keep well in the fridge for a week or two – if it lasts that long!  At some point you may want to remove the garlic if you don’t want garlic overkill.

Mediterranean Style Salad Dressing ( This recipe is adapted from The Pioneer Woman)

3/4 c. olive oil

Juice of 2 lemons

4 tbsp. of freshly grated parmesan cheese

Pinch of salt & pepper

Dash of paprika

1/2 tsp. honey

2 whole cloves of garlic (peeled and cut in half)

Put all ingredients together in a jar or dressing shaker and shake until mixed.  Refrigerate for 24 hours before serving.

 

Have you made any new year resolutions?  If so, what are they?  Do you think you’ll stick to them?

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Homemade Raised Yeast Doughnuts

I’ve got to tell you that I’ve never met a doughnut that I didn’t like.  So, I decided to try my hand at making homemade doughnuts. But my little doughnut making endeavor started out as a complete failure. I followed a recipe that I found on Pinterest for baked yeast doughnuts.  While I was a bit reluctant to bake raised yeast doughnuts, the photos looked good so I thought the recipe would be too –  WRONG! To put it (not so) nicely –  the recipe for the baked doughnuts – sucked…  I wasted my ingredients and time to get what turned out to be a cross between a rock and a burnt bagel.  Don’t believe me?  I ended up breaking the failures into pieces and feeding them to our chickens. At least someone was happy with them. Refusing to accept failure, I decided to make another batch.  This time I turned to McCall’s Home-Baked Breads (vintage) cookbook for a recipe.  I also decided  that raised yeast doughnuts were not meant to be baked and I dug out the shortening, thermometer, and big cooking pot. Fortunately, I had success with the second recipe.  The doughnuts were light and airy and tasted delicious just like doughnuts should.  This is the first time I’ve ever made raised doughnuts so I was considerably happy with the way they turned out.

What’s your favorite doughnut?

For a great picture tutorial (and a similar recipe) on doughnut making check out  this post at The Pioneer Woman’s site.

Peanut Butter Fudge and Bah Humbug?

Bah humbug?

So far, I haven’t won a single pair of (the most beautiful) cowboy boots (that I’ve ever seen) that The Pioneer Woman is giving away this holiday season. The last winner hasn’t been announced yet but I’m fairly certain as my luck runs, it won’t be my name that’s picked from that Oklahoman’s hat. 

Like a lot of other hard working folks in this country, we are feeling it’s economic collapse.  So no, there won’t be a sleigh full of presents parked under our tree come Christmas morning.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, I forgot to add the butter to the one and only (favorite) batch of frosted sugar cookies I made for the holidays.  Please don’t ask…

As I sat sipping my nice warm cup of coffee and writing this post  the picture became very clear.  Sometimes we need a few bah humbugs to remind us that a good life is not  just about pretty boots, money, and perfect cookies – it’s about so much more than that.

If you know of someone who is having a bah humbug holiday make them a batch of this fudge to help sweeten their day.

Peanut Butter Fudge

1/2 c. margarine

2 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. milk

1 c. peanut butter (I prefer crunchy)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3 c. powdered sugar

Lightly spray a 8×8 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Line bottom of pan with parchment paper.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt margarine; stir in brown sugar and milk.  Bring to full boil for 2 minutes – stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in peanut butter and vanilla.  Once completely mixed, add powdered sugar one cup at a time.  Beat with electric mixer until smooth.  Pour into prepared pan.  Refrigerate until firm.  Cut and serve.

Wishing everyone a joyful holiday!

A casserole you won’t forget

I’ve been stopping by The Pioneer Woman’s website from time to time.   I’m sure you’re familiar with her.  If you aren’t, then I suspect you’ve been living (under a rock?)   I’m drawn to her recipes, stories,  photographs, and photographing tips.   Without question, she is a very talented and creative person.  I know she  doesn’t need a small time blogger like myself  promoting her, she does well enough all on her own.  But…..

Yesterday,  she posted a recipe for a Creamy Chicken Spaghetti Casserole.  The moment I saw the ingredients and her mouth-watering photo’s I knew I was going to be making it for dinner.   

I did make a few adaptations to the recipe.  I used a lighter margarine, not butter, used parmesan cheese from the jar,  and added 2 small garlic cloves of crushed garlic to the mushrooms as they were browning.  I also bought a store roasted chicken to save time, I used vermicelli instead of thin spaghetti,  and  I used skim milk instead of whole.  The biggest change I made was cutting the amount of spaghetti (vermicelli) the recipe called for in half, and increasing the chicken by 1 extra cup. I think if I had used more vermicelli the casserole wouldn’t have been creamy enough.  Remember I used light margarine, and skim milk.  

This casserole is a keeper!  It’s so delicious that I’m adding it to my tried-and true recipes.  Talk about comfort food – oh man!