Sunday, August 7, 2016

Basil, Bacon and Bowtie Pasta Salad

I love perusing Pinterest in search of some new and tasty dinner recipe to try. I was searching for a new pasta salad recipe to test as we get in a rut sometimes, and change is good, right? Warm weather calls for cool but flavorful meals. I came across a BLT pasta salad recipe that had some possibilities, but Nature Guy and I both agreed that the lettuce would most likely end up wilted before we finished the salad. Not a huge fan of soggy lettuce, I decided to go with the bacon and tomato in the salad and come up with my own recipe, leaving out the lettuce.

We are fortunate to have an abundance of fresh Basil right now, along with fresh parsley. The squashes are starting to encumber their vines with multiple succulent fruit, so I was in luck for more fresh goodness to toss in. A nice feature of this salad is that with the pepper bacon, herbs, and dressing, there is no need for extra seasoning. This recipe is for 4 servings, which for us gives us two meals without leftovers going on forever. Enough of the blathering, here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Basil, Bacon and Bowtie Pasta Salad

1 1/2 cups bowtie pasta cooked according to package directions, drained and cooled
2 strips of thick pepper bacon, cooked until crisp, and crumbled
1/3 cup chopped purple onion
1/2 medium yellow zucchini or squash, thinly sliced (I used a mandolin)
1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup fresh cooked or frozen green peas, thawed ( you can place them in the colander and pour the hot cooked pasta over them, to help them thaw quickly)
1/2 cup real mayo (seriously, don't ruin a good thing with low or non fat mayo. If you are worried, use 1/4 each plain non fat yogurt and mayo, stirred together)
1/4 cup Ken's Steakhouse Italian dressing (we used the lite version, which only has fat reduced, no gross chemical taste) 
1/4 cup each fresh minced basil and parsley 

Cook pasta according to package directions. I usually place frozen veggies in the colander and drain my pasta into it to help thaw them. Stir together under cold water and drain. In a medium bowl combine pasta, peas, cooked, crumbled bacon, onion, tomato, squash and minced herbs, then toss gently. Stir together the mayonnaise and Italian dressing. Pour over salad and gently toss. Serves 4

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Korean Style Kimchi

We have had an interestingly wet, cool, hot, cool, warm, wet, hot, cooler, warm, summer. It has my vegetable garden growing produce in abundance. I've had several heads of napa cabbage grow to Alaska size and it's wonderfully delicious in salads or stir fries. I can't find enough ways to use it as other produce is also coming on fast so I wanted to find a way to preserve the flavors of summer for winter enjoyment.
We love spicy everything, although as we age we have toned the sizzling hot down to enjoyably spicy. Having said that there is still a place at the table for a bit of sizzle now and then. Kimchi is a great pro-biotic type of condiment that goes well with rice and any topping. This recipe is pretty spicy, so adjust to your taste. If you are worried, add less chili powder than I suggest, and taste a piece of cabbage. You will know if it's too much or not enough. Let me know if you give it a try. Enjoy!

Prep Time:


  • 1 head (about 2 pounds) napa (Chinese) cabbage
  • 1/4 cup  sea or canning salt ( pure salt with no additives is best)
  • 4-6 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 pound daikon radish or turnips, peeled and cut into thin strips
  • 1 carrot, cut into thin strips
  • 5-6 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Korean red pepper powder (gochugaru) to taste( I used 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
  • 1 teaspoon cane sugar ( helps with the curing process)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce, optional, but it gives it the characteristic umami flavor 
  • Cold water, filtered or spring 


  1. Cut the cabbage lengthwise and remove the core, then chop the remaining cabbage into one-inch strips.
  2. Place cabbage into a glass bowl and sprinkle with salt, mixing it together with clean hands.
  3. Cover salted cabbage with cold water. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature for 4-24 hours. Note: You may need to place a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it completely submerged under the brine.
  4. Drain the brine from the cabbage. Reserve brine.
  5. Place remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix together.
  6. Add cabbage to bowl and toss with clean hands.
  7. Repack cabbage into individual glass jars with lids, packing tightly and adding brine if necessary to cover. Leave about one inch of space.
  8. Close lids.
  9. Allow to ferment at room temperature for one to seven days, depending on your preference.
  10. Refrigerate once kimchi is at desired fermentation level.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blueberry Pecan Muffins

Ahhhh, the joys of summer harvest! A soft and oh so delicious muffin, chock full of luscious blueberries and pecans, and topped with cinnamon sugar, fresh from the oven. What better way to start the day? 
We are so very fortunate to be able to buy these berries in bulk at a reasonable price. I'm enjoying a lot of great produce from other sources, as well as our garden, so I will be sharing more delectable treats and recipes as the summer harvest progresses. For now, on to the muffin recipe!

Blueberry Pecan Muffins

1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 T flaxseed meal
1 T baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 egg
1 cup almond milk
2 T each canola oil and coconut oil, melted
Cinnamon sugar for topping

Turn the oven on to 375 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

Sift together all dry ingredients except for the nuts. Combine with the nuts in a medium mixing bowl. That's right, I still sift, and it does make a difference in how the muffins turn out. Whisk together all wet ingredients and gently stir into the dry ingredients. I was taught by my Home Ec teacher to only stir about 11 times, so I try to do that. I added the berries after the 11 stirs and then stirred 11 more times. The idea is to keep the muffins from turning out tough and full of air holes.

By ice cream scoopfuls add batter to the greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and then bake for 25 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Power of Prayer

We recently had an opportunity to take a long trip and visit various family members. One evening we were asked questions about religion, and what we believe. It caught us off guard, but helped us realize that we need to be better at articulating what we know to be true. It's not enough to just know, we need to be able to share when asked.
One of the topics that came up was prayer and the reason we pray. I'm afraid we somewhat fumbled in our answers, but I've had a lot of time to reflect on that conversation and in particular that question. I know some of the reasons why I pray, to express gratitude for the blessings I have, to pray for the health or situation of either myself or those I know or know of.  In James 1:5-6 we read,
 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
 Even the Savior prayed as we see in Matthew 14:23 -  23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 
 So why do some prayers seemingly go unanswered? Perhaps it's because we don't understand the purpose of prayer. More often though it's because we don't see the whole picture the way our Heavenly Father and the Savior do. We might think that we, or someone we love needs to have a certain blessing, not realizing that while our request may be a righteous one, it may not be what that person needs to grow at the moment. Perhaps we don't recognize the answer because it's not what we asked for. 
Our society has put forth the idea that life shouldn't be hard, we should never have challenges, and everyone should have the same amount of material goods in order for life to be fair, or to prove that God loves us, or that He even exists. If our prayers aren't answered, then either there really isn't a God, or He is a mean and hurtful God. For those who are parents, most realize that if we give everything to our children and never expect anything from them, most will become lazy and ungrateful, even mean and hurtful sometimes. Our Heavenly Father wants us to learn and grow, and the way we do that is by learning to make choices that will bring us the most peace and happiness. Lest anyone mistake my meaning here, it doesn't mean that we must experience everything, even those things that God has said aren't good for us. Some things we must take on faith that they aren't in our best interest to indulge in or do. 
In Moses 1:39 it states "For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." This earthly life is a test. We have a purpose for being here, and one of them is to gain a body, to have experience, and prove that we will do all we know to be right and good. Sometimes we are abused and hurt through no fault of our own, and while it is hard to watch the harm that others inflict on us or other people, Heavenly Father is mindful of our pain and suffering, and will be there to welcome us home on the other side. Some have a debilitating illness, either chronic, or deadly. How we handle what others have done to us, how we handle the lot given us in life, or whether we are willing to help those in need of help, comfort or care, determines our eternal destiny. 
Prayer, thoughtful and considerate, can give us strength to meet the challenges that beset us. Whether our challenges are with other people, financial, or physical, as we seek guidance, again asking for that wisdom, we will receive the help we need to be able to deal with each situation. Perhaps the issue will be ongoing, but the help and strength we receive as we ask for it, is immeasurable. 
Prayer can help us as we care for others. As I tended to my father-in-law as he was dying, the help I received was incredible. There were the long road trips back and forth each week that due to weather were sometimes quite dangerous. I was blessed with alertness to avoid the large semi trucks whose vans were sometimes blown about in the wind. I had several hair raising near misses as they struggled, or were just negligent in their driving and wandered all over the road. There were the many nights getting up over and over again to get a drink for or cover the feet of, or uncover the feet of, or move the legs back where they should be, or even just comfort Dad as he struggled to get through the night. He couldn't get up on his own so thankfully the nurses had a way of taking care of his bladder needs so we could all snatch a few minutes of sleep here and there. Most nights Dad and I were awake more than asleep, but the little cat naps during the day helped me be able to assist him and Mom in their daily routines. Lifting Dad off the toilet and helping him down to it should have put me down right away, but I was blessed to be able to help him until after he passed away. It was after he passed that my back went out and I spent months trying to get rid of the pain and be able to walk more that a few steps at a time. Again notice that I didn't avoid the aftermath but I was able to get back to walking again with the help of good physical therapists. The biggest surprise to me was cleaning Dad up after he had gone to the bathroom. I have the most sensitive sense of smell and I expected to gag my way through each bathroom visit, and yet, I have to say, his stuff didn't stink. It was the little things I was able to do, and with a tenderness in my heart and patience to be up all hours of the night that was a gift. Prayer, mine and those around me, helped me to be able to do all I was able to. I learned so much in the process. 
Prayer can help us when we have a disagreement or an issue with another person. When I was younger I used to pray that the other person would change, and do things or think the way I do. Now I ask that I can see a way to think about the situation differently, and I pray for the other person as well, that Heavenly Father will help us both do the right thing. 
There have been times when we as a collective body are asked to pray for rain, and I've seen the results of that collective prayer. 
I could go on but there are those much better at sharing their wisdom and thoughts than I so I will add this link to a talk by Truman G. Madsen. Souls Aflame: The Prayer Heritage of the Latter-day Saints
Please take a moment to read this if you will. Feel free to comment any time. My prayer is that prayer can be more meaningful to all of us.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Grecian Game Hens

My all time favorite recipe from my husband, and always requested for my birthday or Mother's Day. This is sooooo to die for! Keeping it simple so here's the recipe!


  (2 packages) NEAR EAST BRAND





Monday, May 2, 2016

When You Have Hens That Lay, It's Time for Egg Salad Supreme!

 We have an abundance of eggs this time of year, so I am trying to incorporate them into our diet. I started with 6 hard boiled eggs, (I will share a trick I learned about them in my next post)
 Then I diced up orange bell pepper
 and green onion, all 1/4 cup each.
 Next I added 1/4 cup each of real mayonnaise
 and plain non-fat yogurt.
 A couple of squirts of yellow mustard.

1/2 tsp each of black pepper, garlic salt and seasoning salt. 
Whaalaa! Egg Salad Supreme! It's super yummy, creamy and crunchy at the same time. We really enjoyed the egg salad on our home made multi grain bread with home grown carrots. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Not All Roses Are Red...

    the resplendent dew

on a new pink rose of mine

      glorious morning
so fresh and new
a lovely sign
of love adorning....
Adorn your wardrobe with a bouquet of roses in pink and copper. 
Available by clicking PFATT Marketplace