Sweet Potato Pie – Old Fashioned Comfort Food

sweet potato pieEvery year at Thanksgiving I like to try something new to add to our Thanksgiving dinner menu.  If we like it then it becomes a permanent addition to our traditional meal.

This year my grandson Dion and I decided to try our had at a Southern Thanksgiving meal staple, Sweet Potato Pie.  I’ve never actually had Sweet Potato Pie, but Dion loves it.  He says it’s his favorite pie, specially the way his grandmother from Atlanta makes it.

Sweet Potato Pie is a Southern specialty that can be served instead of or beside the traditional Pumpkin Pie which graces just about everyone’s Thanksgiving dessert table.

So we searched online for a Sweet Potato Pie recipe; we found hundreds!  Each one touting that it was the best of course.  Well we experimented with a couple of different recipes and relied on Dion’s recollections of watching his Southern grandma make her pies.  In the end by tweaking and patching several recipes together we ended up with our own version which turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.

We’ll share our version of Sweet Potato Pie below, but before we do here are a few things we learned along the way.  It might help you out and save you from making the same mistakes we made.

  1.  Use fresh yams!  Not canned yams preserved in sweet syrup!  Don’t get me started on this, just ask yourself, would your granny use canned yams?  I doubt it!
  2. Use Large RED Yams.  Not white yams, or purple yams, or Okinawan sweet potato.  Just plain old Red Yams!  And before you ask, yes there are many varieties of yams and sweet potatoes in the markets.  So don’t get fancy, keep it simple, RED Yams.
  3. Bake your yams DO NOT boil them!  This saves you from peeling and chopping raw yams.  BTW have you ever tried peeling and chopping raw yams or sweet potatoes?  No?  Well let me tell you peeling and chopping wood might just be easier!  Most importantly baked yams make a better pie filling, it’s not mushy or watery like boiled yams can be.  And you can bake yams for your Sweet Potato Pie up to a week before you actually make your pie.  Still not convinced or it sounds too tedious?  Remember even though it takes an hour to bake the yams it’s actually a hands off hour so you can do something else like making applesauce, doing laundry, or relaxing in the tub.
  4. Baking yams – Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you’re ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.
  5. Just like Pumpkin and pecan pies, a Sweet Potato Pie is considered a custard pie; hence it must have some form of milk or cream.  There are recipes out there that call for milk, cream, or half-and-half; but since it’s a truly Southern specialty you should use canned evaporated milk.  That’s what they used in the Southern states.  Trust me on this you’ll end up with a creamier and smoother Sweet Potato Pie when you use canned evaporated milk.
  6. When you bake your pie pay close attention to the timer.  Test pie before removing from oven.  First nudge the pie – the center of the pie should be slightly softer than the rest of the pie so that it jiggles a bit when nudged.  Then insert a knife or a toothpick at the center – it should come out clean but moist.
  7. Let baked pie stand for about 30 minutes before cutting it.  This will firm it up so sliced don’t fall apart.  Better yet refrigerate the pie overnight then remove from fridge about 30 minutes before serving so it warms up to room temperature.  I like my custard pies cool I feel it brings out the sweetness.

Having said that here’s our recipe:


3 Large Red Yams – Baked & Mashed to yield 2 cups (see tips for baking instructions)

1/2 Cup butter – softened

2 Cups Sugar

1 Can Evaporated Milk 12oz.

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

3 eggs – beaten

1 1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon

2 Unbaked deep dish pie shells – homemade or frozen


Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.

Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.

Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.

Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.

Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.


Sweet Potato Pie
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Sweet Potato Pie
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  1. Mix together first 4 ingredients until well blended.
  2. Stir in Vanilla, Eggs, and Cinnamon.
  3. Pour filling into unbaked pie shells.
  4. Bake in a 350° oven for 1 hour or until filling is set and/or tester comes out clean but moist.
  5. Let stand at least 30 minutes before slicing.
  6. Garnish and serve with whipped cream if desired.
Recipe Notes

Baking yams - Place 3 large yams (you wash them first of course) on a parchment covered baking sheet and pop them in a 375° oven.  Bake for 1 hour then remove from oven.  If you are using it to make Sweet Potato Pie right away peel off the skin and mash the yams to make 2 cups of mashed yams then follow the rest of the recipe to make the pie.  If you baked the yams in advance you can either mash it then store the mashed yams in the fridge in an airtight container or place the whole unpeeled yams in a ziplock and refrigerate until you're ready to mash them for your Sweet Potato Pie.

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Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Brown Paper Bag Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving foodMany years ago as a newlywed I was faced with making my very first Thanksgiving meal for myself and my new husband.  This of course entailed roasting a turkey.  I was clueless!

Seriously, in my single life Thanksgiving meals were prepared by mom, grandmas, and aunties; I think they took turns hosting the family for Thanksgiving each year.  Whatever the case may be I just popped in to where ever it was served and stuffed myself with all the yummy stuff they made.

Alas that year it was not to be.  Mom had moved back to New York where all the relatives were and I was alone in Hawaii, yup, just me and new hubby left to fend for ourselves on Thanksgiving. These days it probably wouldn’t have been a problem, one can just order a Thanksgiving meal for the entire family from one of the local restaurants or supermarket.  But back then this wasn’t an option.  So if I wanted a Thanksgiving meal I would have to figure out how to make it myself, starting with the turkey. (Yes that meant I had to stick my hand into the bird’s cavities and pull out its innards, seriously gross!)

Luckily I had a neighbor who showed me how to roast a turkey using a brown paper bag.  I was hesitant at first thinking the bag would catch fire, burn the house down, and we would be homeless on Thanksgiving day.  After all it was me roasting this bad bird and I could barely make toast unsupervised at that time!

Well my kitchen disaster never happened and I’ve been using this method to roast turkey ever since.  The only issues I’ve run into in recent years is finding large brown bags!

Years ago groceries were packed in large brown bags, perfect size for this roasting method.  The emergence of plastic grocery bags made it nearly impossible to find the paper ones.  Never one to give up I used brown craft paper when I can not locate large brown paper bags. Recently our state outlawed the use of plastic grocery bags and most supermarkets have started selling us large paper bags when we don’t bring our own grocery bags.  Umm that would be me, I always forget to bring the bags I have in my trunk into the stores so I end up purchasing even more bags.

I should mention however that I’ve only ever cooked using electric ovens, I’m told you can still use this method in a gas oven, just be sure to keep paper away from the flame.  I haven’t had the opportunity to try this so I would advise caution if you are going to try it in a gas oven.

Here’s how I do this using 2 large brown paper grocery bags or a very large shopping bag:

1.  Clean and wash turkey.  Be sure to remove the neck and giblets from the cavity.  Refrigerate giblets if you will be using them in your gravy.

2.  Salt the turkey cavity with about 2 tbls of salt

3.  Place a whole peeled onion in the back of the cavity.

4. Rub butter on top of the thighs, wing tips, and the breast; anywhere the turkey may come in contact with the paper bag.

5. If you will not be stuffing your turkey then place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

If you will be stuffing your turkey then loosely place stuffing in both cavities.  Do not pack in stuffing.  Stuffing expands during cooking and you will have a big mess in the over and no stuffing.
Truss turkey using lacers and twine.  Place it on the rack inside the roasting pan.

6.  Insert one end of the roasting pan into the first brown bag.*

7.  Work the second brown bag onto the roasting pan.  Make sure the bag overlaps with the first bag.*

Brown bag
8.  Place the whole package in the oven using the chart below from allrecipes.com.

Bag in oven

9.  30 minutes before the turkey is done carefully tear off bags and remove.  Don’t jiggle the pan too much, you don’t want the drippings to spill, you will need the drippings for gravy.  Leave turkey uncovered to brown.

10.  When turkey is done remove from the oven and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes.  Do not transfer turkey on to serving tray immediately after cooking, it will fall apart.  Using turkey lifters makes transferring the turkey easier.

11.  If your stuffing is in the bird scoop it out onto a serving bowl before carving the turkey, it’s just neater than having everyone spoon stuffing directly out of the bird.

These times are based on placing the whole turkey on a rack in a roasting pan, and into a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C ) oven.


 Weight  of Bird

 Roasting Time (Unstuffed)  Roasting Time 
10 to 18 pounds 3 to 3-1/2 hours   3-3/4 to 4-1/2 hours
18 to 22 pounds 3-1/2 to 4 hours   4-1/2 to 5 hours
22 to 24 pounds 4 to 4-1/2 hours   5 to 5-1/2 hours
  24 to 29 pounds 4-1/2 to 5 hours 5-1/2 to 6-1/4 hours

The only true test for doneness is the temperature of the meat, not the color of the skin.

  • The turkey is done when the thigh meat reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. To get an accurate reading, be sure that your thermometer is not touching the bone.
  • If your turkey has been stuffed, it is important to check the temperature of the dressing; it should be 165 degrees F (75 degrees C).
  • When the turkey is done, remove from the oven and allow to stand for 20-30 minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat, and makes for easier carving.

* If you can not get large brown bags you can use brown craft paper.  You can buy a roll at Walmart or any discount store.  Wrap the paper around the whole roasting pan.  Staple shut on both ends and on the top.

My Turkey

This is my turkey cooked using the brown bag method. This bird weighed 24 pounds.

Jaime's Turkey

My daughter in Colorado uses my method to make her Thanksgiving turkey. This is a small turkey weighing about 15 pounds.

Kids’ Thanksgiving  Craft Table

Kids’ Thanksgiving Craft Table


Whenever we have a large family get together with lots of kids we like to set up a special table Kids’ Table.  Not only does it frees up room on the dining table it makes them feel special, and keeps the kids entertained during the meal.

This works great on Thanksgiving!  Set up a kids’ Thanksgiving craft table within view of adults so you can keep an eye on them.  Keep them busy coloring their own place mat before the meal.  A cute pilgrim hat crayon holder on each place setting keeps crayons hopefully on the table and not the floor!  The table can convert into a craft table after the meal to keep kids busy while adults clean-up, watch the game, or just visit.


Remember it doesn’t have to be fancy, just FUN!

Here are some cute ideas from Fiskars to help you set up your own Thanksgiving Kids’ Table.  For cheap craft ideas click here!  For fun treat ideas click here!

Make each child a table card with his or her name using a brown paper bag,  cardstock, and foam letters.  Trim the bag with pinking edgers, push the pointy corners in, fill with newspaper or better yet a popcorn ball and form into shape.  Insert bone cut out from cardstock and staple close.  Glue foam letters on.
Set sail with this “Mayflower” cup.  Cut out a circle of blue cardstock for the coaster.  Cut out the sails from thin foam, punch holes on the top and bottom, thread in straws and plop in to brown paper cups.
Pilgrim Hat crayon holder using paper cups, cardstock, and construction paper.  Cut out the bottom of a black paper cup with a craft knife.  Glue it on upside down to a circle cut from black cardstock, glue on construction paper band and buckle.
Thankful Tree made from cardstock as your centerpiece.  Cut out a tree shape from brown cardstock.  Fold each in half lengthwise.  Glue folds together to make tree stand up.  Cut out leaves from construction paper.  Glue leaves to tree.


Prefer a Turkey crayon holder?  Make these pinecone turkeys from Amanda’s Parties to go.

Instructions and printables here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


Or just cover the entire table with brown paper, you can buy them in rolls, and have the kids go at it!  That’s what The Frugal Homemaker did![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]



This idea from Rusty and Rosy turns juice boxes into turkeys.

Instructions here![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]


A popcorn filled paper bag turkey doubles as a centerpiece and a snack.  Great idea from One Charming Party.

Instructions here!

The Best Homemade Applesauce

The Best Homemade Applesauce

ApplesauceThanksgiving is next week.  I started my annual holiday cooking routine last this week.  From now until the New Year yummy aromas will be coming from my kitchen!  The annual game of cat and mouse will begin; family members sneaking tastes of pies, cookies, and candies while I try to keep them hidden.  Last year my son and husband went thru a couple of pecan pies a couple of days before Thanksgiving, luckily I made 6 pies!

The first thing I make every year is my homemade applesauce which we use instead of cranberry sauce.  It goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Christmas.  Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.

Over the years I’ve tried different types of apples to make my sauce.  You never quite realize just how many types of apples there are until you start shopping for them.  I’ve used Fuji, Mackintosh, Delicious, Gala, and Granny Smith apples just to name a few I’ve tried.  I’ve discovered that the best applesauce is made by using different types of apples.  Yes each apple variety has its own unique flavor and texture so mixing them up makes for a  tastier and more robust sauce.

My family will only eat my homemade applesauce, no store bought sauce for them.  Even my grandson, Dion, who absolutely will not touch store bought sauce, even as an infant, loves my sauce.  It’s sweet and laced with lots of cinnamon.  Dion says he likes it because it has a nice texture, not the strained baby food like texture the ones from the store have.  It’s a bit chunky, but not too chunky, even the twins, Harper and Sadi, love it!  By the way the cinnamon can be optional!  My grandson Devon has recently declared that he dislikes cinnamon (this declaration boggles my mind as he still loves cinnamon rolls) so before I add the cinnamon I set aside a small portion just for him.

The applesauce is easy to make, just a bit time consuming.  That’s why I make it well ahead of time.
This allows it to chill, we feel applesauce should be served cold.  Here’s my recipe, it will make 2 pint size jars or 1 quart size jar.


2 Red Delicious Apples

2 Golden Delicious Apples

2 Gala or Mackintosh Apples

2 Granny Smith Apples

2 cups sugar (add more if you want it sweeter or less if you don’t want it so sweet)

6+ Cups Water

1 tbls. ground cinnamon (you can adjust this to suit your taste)


1.  Fill a large pot about half way with water.

2.  Wash and peel apples, then cut into bite size chunks about 1/2″ big

3.  Place apple pieces in pot of water.  Add more water if needed to cover the apples.  The top layer will float a bit.

4.  Add sugar and stir.

5.  Cook on stove over medium heat until water has been absorbed.  Stir occasionally to keep bottom from burning.  As it cooks and softens you can mash the chunks a bit with the spoon used to stir.  The sauce will start turning brownish.  If it starts to bubble reduce heat.  This process takes about 2-3 hours.

6.  When the apples have all liquified and water evaporated remove pot from heat.

7.  Stir in cinnamon.

8.  Seal in mason jars according to canning instructions or allow to cool then transfer to sealed containers and store in refrigerator.  Even If you seal it in jars you should store it in the fridge so it will be cool when served.

You can serve this as a snack, or with roast turkey or beef, and pork chops.  It’s really yummy!

The Best Homemade Applesauce
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Homemade applesauce goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
The Best Homemade Applesauce
Print Recipe
Homemade applesauce goes great with roast turkey and the Prime Rib roast we make for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sealed in mason jars or even just stored in the fridge and the sauce will last thru the holidays.
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Servings Prep Time
2 Pints 30 Minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
2 - 3 Hours 2 - 3 Hours
Servings: Pints
  1. Fill a large pot about half way with water. This is why I put 6+ cups of water in the ingredients. You can adjust it to fill your pot.
  2. Wash and peel apples, then cut into bite size chunks about 1/2" big
  3. Place apple pieces in pot of water. Add more water if needed to cover the apples. The top layer will float a bit.
  4. Add sugar and stir.
  5. Cook on stove over medium heat until water has been absorbed. Stir occasionally to keep bottom from burning. As it cooks and softens you can mash the chunks a bit with the spoon used to stir. The sauce will start turning brownish. If it starts to bubble reduce heat. This process takes about 2-3 hours.
  6. When the apples have all liquified and water evaporated remove pot from heat.
  7. Stir in cinnamon.
  8. Seal in mason jars according to canning instructions or allow to cool then transfer to sealed containers and store in refrigerator. Even If you seal it in jars you should store it in the fridge so it will be cool when served.
Recipe Notes

You can also make this applesauce in a crockpot.  Just dump all the ingredients, except the cinnamon, into the pot.  Cook for about 6 hours, add cinnamon, and place in storage containers.

If you do make it in the crockpot don't leave it much longer than 6 hours, overcooking will turn it into apple butter.  That's good too!

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Juicy pork tenderloin served with a creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce that’s SO GOOD it will take serious self control not to the lick the plate! This is one of those recipes that is easy enough for midweek but fancy enough for company. Cooking the pork tenderloin whole keeps this lean healthy cut of pork lovely and juicy!

So basically, this sauce is like gravy on steroids. Good steroids, that is. Not the kind that naughty athletes use.

Have you ever had Marsala Sauce before? Or made anything with Marsala? Marsala is a fortified wine, so it’s thicker and sweeter than normal wine. It has many layers of flavors in it which makes it a fantastic secret weapon in the kitchen, one that chefs in posh restaurants use regularly.

It holds true for alcohol generally. A splash of wine, sherry, marsala or even brandy to deglaze a skillet after cooking Pork tenderloin a piece of protein = instant sauce. (PS “Deglaze” simply means simmering a liquid in a skillet to get the flavor of the brown stuck-on bits into the sauce. Fancy word, simple in reality!)

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Try this Pork tenderloin with creamy marsala sauce recipe. Enjoy!



1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb / 500g pork tenderloin (Note 1)
Creamy Marsala Sauce
2 tbsp butter (salted or unsalted)
5 oz / 150g mushrooms , sliced (I used Swiss Brown)
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots or onion
1 garlic clove , minced
1 1/2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup / 125 ml marsala (Note 2)
2 cups / 500 ml chicken broth , low sodium
5 tarragon leaves (optional) (thyme is also lovely) (Note 3)
1/4 cup / 65 ml cream


1. Preheat oven to 200C/390F.
2. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
3. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Sear on all sides until nicely browned.
4. Place in the oven for 15 minutes for the faintest blush of pink (pictured) or 18 to 20 minutes for no pink. See Note 4 for internal cook temperatures.
5. Remove pork from skillet onto a plate, cover with foil and set aside in a warm place while you make the sauce.
6. Creamy Marsala Sauce
7. Melt 1 tbsp butter in the same skillet over high heat. Cook mushrooms until browned, then remove.
8. Reduce heat to medium high, melt 1 tbsp butter,. Add onion and garlic, cook for 2 minutes or until onion is softened. Add flour and mix.
9. Add marsala, cook until mostly evaporated (about 1 minute). Add tarragon and chicken broth, whisk until dissolved. Bring to simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by half – 3 to 5 minutes.
10. Add cream and mix, then return the mushrooms and pork into the skillet as well as juices pooled on the plate. Simmer for 1 – 2 minutes until the sauce thickens into a thin gravy consistency (it will thicken more as you serve).
11.Transfer to serving platter with the gravy on the side or poured over the top. Serve with mashed potatoes of course!! (Here is my Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes recipe)

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Smoked Salmon Pinwheels

Smoked Salmon Pinwheels


These elegant smoked salmon pinwheels are perfect if you want to enjoy lox without the bagels for a low-carb, keto appetizer.

I love smoked salmon, especially Nova Lox with cream cheese so this appetizer has my name all over it! This recipe is from the Everyday Ketogenic Cookbook by Carolyn Ketchum. A fabulous cookbook and a great resource for anyone wanting to live a Ketogenic lifestyle.

This recipe Smoked Salmon Pinwheels is perfect to make ahead for a party, keep them refrigerated until ready to serve as they hold up best when chilled. You can make them a day ahead, I think they would also be wonderful with fresh dill.


Try this Smoked Salmon Pinwheel Recipe. Enjoy!

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8 ounces thinly sliced cold smoked salmon (I like Nova Lox)

4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese

1/4 medium cucumber, cut into matchsticks

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

2 tablespoons capers, drained

1/2 lemon, sliced thin


  1. Lay a large piece of plastic wrap on a work surface.
  2. Arrange the slices of salmon in an overlapping fashion to create a rectangle about 6 inches wide by 12 inches long, with one of the longest sides facing you.
  3. Gently spread the cream cheese over the salmon trying not to dislodge any of the pieces. Lay the cucumber along one side of the rectangle about 1/2 inch from the edge.
  4. Using the plastic wrap to guide you, roll the salmon up tightly around the cucumber sticks. Refrigerate until firm at least 30 minutes.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut the roll into 16 1/2-inch thick slices.
  6. Sprinkle with red onion and capers and serve with lemon slices.


Smoked Salmon Pinwheels
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Nordic Grouse Soup

If you like a good chicken soup, you will love this ruffed grouse soup, made with a rich grouse broth, root vegetables, rye or barley and peas. It is full of ingredients common in Scandinavian cuisine, so I decided to call it Nordic Grouse Soup; it is not a riff off any traditional recipe.

Ruffed grouse have a funky aroma and taste that is gamey, but in a good way. The meat is the color of a chicken thigh and the flavor is striking — when you eat it you really do get the sense that this is a woodland chicken.

If you don’t have grouse around, this soup will be just fine with pheasant, chukar or other partridge, turkey or even a regular ole’ domestic chicken. Use only chicken legs and thighs if you do this, though.

I made this recipe with rye berries, which are available at health food stores, but regular pearled barley would be just as good and just as Nordic.


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Click here for recipe Nordic Grouse Soup

While the ingredients are Scandinavian, the method I use is closer to the way the Japanese make soup: You gently cook whole grouse in water until each part is perfectly tender, removing them as you go. And you also cook the starch — rye berries, in this case — separately and add them to each bowl as you serve. This keeps the grain from overcooking.
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Scandinavian
Serves: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
2 whole grouse or pheasants, or 6 chicken thighs
3 quarts water
12-15 juniper berries, crushed
12-15 allspice berries, crushed
inch A 1- piece of ginger, chopped
1 tablespoons dried lovage (or parsley)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1/2 ounce other dried mushrooms
1 cup rye berries or pearl barley
1 medium yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
2 tablespoons butter
1 large carrot, peeled and sliced into thin discs
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1-2 teaspoons smoked salt
1-2 radishes, sliced paper thin
2-3 tablespoons chopped parsley
To make the broth, pour the water into a stockpot and add about a tablespoon of salt and both grouse. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Once the water simmers, turn the heat down below a simmer. You want it steaming, but not bubbling.

Let the grouse cook for 30 minutes, then pull them out. Strip off all the breast meat and set aside. Return the rest of the grouse to the pot and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Pull the birds out again and strip off all the remaining meat. Set aside all the grouse meat into a container and return the bones to the pot. Cook for another hour or two.

Add the remaining broth ingredients and bring everything to a simmer again. Simmer this gently — the water should just barely be bubbling — for another hour. Turn off the heat. Set up a fine-meshed sieve over another large pot or bowl and put a piece of paper towel into it. Pour the broth through the paper towel-lined sieve into the other container. You might need to stop and switch paper towels if it gets too gunked up. This broth can be stored for up to a week in the fridge.

To make the soup, cover the rye berries with enough water to submerge them by 2 inches. Add a healthy pinch of salt and boil until tender. Meanwhile, set a large pot over medium-high heat and add the butter. Once the butter is good and hot, add the sliced onion and saute until it is translucent but not browned, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Pour the broth over the onions and add the sliced carrots. Heat the broth to the steaming point. By the time the rye or barley is cooked, the carrots in the broth should be, too. Add the peas and the reserved grouse meat to the broth and cook for another three or four minutes. Add the smoked salt to taste.

To serve the soup, drain the rye berries and divide them among individual bowls. Ladle the soup over the grain. Garnish with paper thin slices of radish and chopped parsley.

The broth can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge.


Nordic Grouse Soup
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Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole

tuscan chickenWe’ve recently started eating healthier again, that’s after a summer of long vacations that at times made healthy eating difficult.  It’s so easy to slip back into bad eating habits like fast food burgers and fries, easy to grab bags of chips, and other junk food.

But at our age and with our recent test results and recently diagnosed conditions we really must stop eating like teenagers!  I mean I love my burgers and fries, pizza, sodas, candies, and other sweets, but they don’t seem to love me as much as they used to.  I had always bragged that I could eat everything I loved without gaining an ounce of weight.  This may have been true 10 or more years ago, but not any more.  Besides now I have to deal with Eczema and other issues, my “normal” diet was just not going to cut it.  My husband is in the same boat.  So we’re each trying different changes to deal with our specific issues.

Right now my husband has been following a Keto Diet.  For him it’s really not too much of a hardship.  He’s pretty disciplined and usually does low carb diets when he needs to drop a few pounds.  So I’ve been modifying some old favorites to be keto friendly.  Remember Keto diets are low carb, medium protein, and high fat.  (I don’t follow this diet as I’m dealing with other issues and too much fat is not something I can tolerate.)

Anyway one of the challenges when someone in the family is on some sort of a special diet is to make meals that everyone can eat.  In short I am not a short order cook who will make a different meal for each family member.  This has actually proven to be somewhat simple, specially when I’m modifying family favorites.  One of my biggest successes is this Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole.

My Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole is very Keto Friendly, low in carb (1 gram per 1/2 cup serving), good protein, and high in fat.  Not to mention it is divine!  Everyone loves it!  The kids and anyone not on a keto diet eats it with pasta, my husband has it with a small salad.

Here’s the recipe:


2 Pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cubed

1/4 Cup Butter

1 Tbs. Minced Garlic

1 Tbs. Italian Seasoning

1 Cup Heavy Cream or Half & Half

1 Cup Cream Cheese, room temp

1 Cup Sour Cream

2 Cups Fresh Spinach leaves

1 Cup Sun Dried Tomato Strips in Olive Oil

1/2 Cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese


Melt Butter in an oven safe frying pan – cast iron pans work great

Sauté garlic

Add chicken cubes & Italian Seasoning and cook until done, stir constantly

Add milk and cream cheese, stir until all the cream cheese has melted and the sauce looks creamy – stir constantly to avoid burning the sauce

Add spinach and cook until leaves have wilted, stir constantly

Add sun dried tomato strips and the oil it’s soaked in, stir to combine well

Remove from heat and stir in sour cream

Sprinkle with shredded cheese

Bake in 350° oven for 15 minutes or until cheese melts

Serve hot with salad or over pasta




Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole
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Keto Friendly Creamy Tuscan Chicken Casserole
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Keeping Your Kitchen in Tip Top Shape

Keeping Your Kitchen in Tip Top Shape

A beautiful kitchen is the centerpiece of a loving home. Kitchens are magnets for friends, family and loved ones, bringing the occupants of a home together with culinary delights and sumptuous treats. A kitchen is decked out with a range of appliances and systems designed to keep us stocked up on all the right nutrients. From an aesthetic perspective, kitchens can add tremendous value to a home. Kitchen appliances and systems, notably high-end ranges, refrigerators and freezers, dishwashers et al cost a pretty penny. The decor dovetails with these electromechanical components to create precisely the right setting for a warm and loving home.

Over time, regular use of kitchen systems and appliances takes its toll. It comes as no surprise that the functional components of ranges, refrigerators, and dishwashers result in significant wear-and-tear. As a homeowner, it’s no joke replacing or repairing these expensive systems, making it all the more important to properly maintain them. There are many ways to prolong the lifespan of standard kitchen systems and appliances, without resorting to expensive replacements.

Keeping Your Refrigerator Cool and in Working Order

One of the best ways to check that a refrigerator is correctly sealed and maintaining the right temperature within is the dollar bill test. This requires the placement of a dollar bill between the door and the gasket at multiple spots. If there is tension on the dollar bill when the door closes, it indicates that the refrigerator is sealing correctly. Equally important is to check behind the door bins, and the shelves for any cracks within the refrigerator.

Refrigerators also have condenser coils. With pets in the house, these condenser coils can often get clogged up with dander, fur, dust and hair. It’s a good idea to periodically remove the back panel of the refrigerator to keep these condenser coils clean. If there are any strange sounds coming from the condenser fan, this may be an indication that problems are afoot. Air leaks are a big problem with refrigerators, since this is the quickest way to food loss, contamination, and inefficient refrigerator functionality. Condenser coils must always be free from dust to guarantee the right airflow with the fan. All refrigerator doors should be correctly aligned with the refrigerator unit and the seals should not allow any cool air from within to escape.

Expensive Ranges That May Need to Be Replaced

Ovens and ranges are high-end items in a home. At the low end, they can cost several hundred dollars, but at the high end these can cost several thousand dollars. Many problems typically crop up with ranges, such as burnt food on the stovetop. This presents as a problem for many homeowners, since typical cleaning products don’t seem to do a good job of removing food remains from the counter.

Experts recommend using stovetop cleaners and razor blades for this purpose. Baking soda is a great ingredient to use (in combination with water) to create a paste which can be highly effective at cleaning ranges. The inside of an oven often requires significant effort to keep clean. The baking soda/water mix is an effective cleaning solution to use. It should be wiped around the inside of an oven and left to sit for around 12 hours before being removed with a water spray bottle and a sponge.

Once expensive kitchen appliances stop working – perhaps at the end of their lifespan – it may be time to consider the options available to you. Recall that manufacturers’ warranties are typically good for the first year of an appliance’s life. After that, it is difficult to make the case of a defunct appliance to a manufacturer. Rather than allow these expensive investments to fall by the wayside, it is better to plan ahead with cost-effective solutions designed to mitigate potential out-of-pocket expenses. Proper care and ongoing maintenance go a long way towards prolonging the lifespan of expensive systems and appliances.

Preventative measures are an important safeguard to consider, such as home warranties. This is especially important with high-end ranges, and one company in particular Old Republic covers ovens. The benefit of using a home warranty provider as opposed to a standard technician or repair person is crystal clear: a low monthly fee provides extensive coverage for all home systems and appliances, and the only out-of-pocket expense is a callout fee for the technician. It doesn’t matter if the appliance is new or old, a reputable home warranty provider will take care of these systems with maximum coverage and protection.

Keeping Dishwashers in Proper Functioning Order

Maintaining dishwashers is equally important since these use a combination of electro-mechanical and water components. Any time an appliance uses water supply, it needs to be functioning optimally to avoid water leakage, and damage. Much like a refrigerator, dishwashers should properly seal at all times. This can be achieved through a correctly aligned dishwasher door with dishwasher unit.

Most of the problems that occur with improperly functioning dishwashers are a result of human error. People invariably place the wrong items in the way of the dishwasher spray arms. If items fall through the trays at the bottom or the top unit, these can interfere with the proper functioning of the dishwasher, and cause breakages at the same time. Beneath the dish rack in the dishwasher is a filter. This routinely gets clogged and should be rinsed out to ensure that it is functioning optimally. If not, this can adversely affect the wash cycle.

Homeowners can play it safe with comprehensive warranty coverage, or break the bank and simply repair or replace expensive systems and appliances.

Quick and Delicious Cheeseburgers

Quick and Delicious Cheeseburgers

Cheeseburgers are probably my most favorite foods on earth.  I love a tasty and juicy cheeseburger and am always in search for the perfect one.

Okay I’ve found a lot of truly magnificent cheeseburgers around the country, but in my humble opinion the best cheeseburgers are those that we make at home.

My son make the BEST ever cheeseburgers you will ever taste.  Seriously it’s to die for!  But his burgers are an overnight project.  You start out mixing his seasoned butter the night before and freezing it at least overnight.  Lot’s of work, but the end result is definitely worth it.

As much as I love his cheeseburgers I don’t always have the time nor inclination to make them.  So there has to be an easier way right?  Ok I’ll settle for a good burger at home verses an excellent one.

Recently I made these cheeseburgers for lunch.  I didn’t have to leave home to make them, I had all the ingredients in my kitchen.  It didn’t take all day and all night to make them and they turned out pretty good.  My grandsons loved them.

These burgers are tender, juicy, and tasty.  All this using store bought frozen ingredients.  Best of all it’s cooked in less than 15 minutes.  Perfect for quick lunches or dinners.  Actually it’s the perfect dinner on Halloween when you need to get the kids to eat before rushing out the door to trick or treat.

These burgers are so easy they don’t even require a recipe, just quick instructions.  And here they are!



Frozen beef patties – thawed in fridge or microwave

Frozen Garlic Bread Slices or Texas Toast

Cheddar Cheese slices

Condiments – Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo, Lettuce, Tomato, Onions, etc.


Fry thawed burgers in frying pan over medium-high heat

Cook until desired doneness – don’t over cook as they will become tough and dry

Meanwhile place frozen garlic bread in a separate frying pan or panini maker and cook on high

Remove from pan when done and set aside – be careful not to burn your bread – you want it cooked with a bit of crunch on the outside but not over cooked

When burgers are just about cooked place a slice of cheese on top of each patty

Place another slice of cheese on one slice of bread

Place hot burger on top of cheese and cover with another slice of bread

Serve hot with condiments – if desired you can place a couple of strips of cooked crisp bacon on top of the patty