Category Archives: Diane

I’ll toast to that

This was fabulous. Had a lovely bottle at Muzzaluna






I totally judge a book by its cover, especially cookbooks. This looks fab.


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Chocolate Chip Cookies Part Deux


I know Corbett has already brought the age old favorite to the blog…but we all know one can never have too many chocolate chip cookies.

Sweet A wanted to try her hand at making cookies when we were stuck home watching a blizzard rage outside.  She searched the internet for a recipe and, I will admit, I steered her to my favorite and most reliable site.

I was her assistant, answering questions, helping retrieve ingredients, and handling the oven.  After testing the first batch, the only game time adjustment I made was to add just a pinch more kosher salt.  That was the ticket.


We had smiles all around.  And there’s not much better than a Sweet A smile.  Just like Corbett braved the below zero temperatures for his cookie delight, I would have gone out in the 50 mph winds for this one.


Valentine’s day coffee



My Valentine’s Day was spent in Sioux Falls, SD.

I treated myself to a cappuccino at a fabulous local coffee shop called Coffea…and my thanks to the barista for making me smile.



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Cauliflower soup


Today I bought the random head of cauliflower at the grocery store. I’m in a bit of a vegetable rut, so I pondered what to do with the thing. It’s getting colder by the minute today, it’s supposed to drop to 15 degrees below zero (yes, below zero) tonight. So it seemed like the perfect night for soup.

I found this recipe on the googles, and figured I’d give it a try. It didn’t call for cream as a thickener (sad, I know…), so I opted in.

I doubled the garlic because I live the by the motto “there is no such thing as too much garlic.” Well, I was wrong. It was a little strong on the garlic…not a bad strong, but a stick-to-the-recipe-next-time kind of strong. I used parmesan instead of the cheddar because that’s what I had in the house. I suspect the cheddar would have added a big more zing. I’ll try that next time.


Sometimes Stuart and I rate dishes based on their company worthiness. I suspect Clementine and Corbett will be spooning this at our dinner table in the near future.

Oh, and fortunately there are leftovers. We’re gonna need it….tomorrow we’re aiming for 20 below……OMG, I know.


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I typically make a batch of yogurt every week to go with my granola.  It’s pretty simple, I follow this recipe.   Although after taking a closer look, I realize that I’ve never used the honey.  And I use a simple plug in yogurt maker.   Huh.  Guess I don’t follow the recipe after all.   After doing a little research, I realize I’m not as cool a yogurt (or shall I say yoghurt) maker as I could (or should) be.

It’s pretty good.  Little G calls it “Mommy yogurt.”  She likes it drizzled with maple syrup.  (not to be a nag, but yes, the real stuff…)



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I love the Google.   Buttermilk, maple syrup (the real stuff), old-fashioned oats…no recipe.  So I did a google on the youtubes and I uncovered this and this.


Smitten Kitchen’s scones topped with Ina’s glaze turned out to be all right.



The scone.  The perfect baked good.  I tried and didn’t quite achieve perfection, but I didn’t hear anyone complaining.  These just might stay in the Sunday morning brunch rotation.




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Diane 1, Bunnies 0

Despite those nasty little bunnies that were munching my garden all summer…I have carrots!  Loads of them.

I just pulled our crop out of the ground.  It’s been a long fall so the carrots were able to stay snug in the gorgeous coal colored earth well into November.  Lucky for us— that means extra sweet and crispy carrots for weeks to come.

Now the challenge:  eating them all before they lose their crunch.  I try not to bake sweets too much because I have very limited self-control around baked goods.  I may make a carrot muffin batch or two, but really I need to stick with the savory or else the jeans get a little snug.

This is getting predictable, but I started with a simple roasted side dish.

I sliced up the beauties, tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and added some remaining sage from the garden for delicious flavor (there hasn’t been a deep freeze cold enough to kill the sage yet).   Crisped sage is an unexpected, delightful little treat.

Those bunnies don’t know what they are missing.



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Crunchy Granola

I once heard a friend describe a hippified, earthy individual as being “granola bar.”   I constantly struggle with cliches, so I feel for anyone who can mess up a turn of phrase….but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t right.

Granola is my favorite way to start the day.  I’ve been making this recipe on a weekly basis for a few years.  I started with Alton Brown’s granola recipe and have since adapted it to fit my own taste.   It’s a great recipe, really.  This isn’t exact baking, so measurements can be off and different nuts or sweeteners can be tried.  But…two things you cannot mess with.  First, sweetened coconut cannot be substituted—you won’t get the desired crunch.  Second, don’t even think of using fake maple syrup.  (I married into a family of Vermonters and wouldn’t be caught dead with that stuff in my house.)  And who knew that grade inflation isn’t just for colleges and universities anymore?

I eat this almost every morning with berries (frozen in the winter, like everything else around here in the tundra…but I’ve found some amazing frozen berries that are worth the price tag…trust me) and plain yogurt that I make.

It’s a great start to the morning.  Guests love it and with the holidays around the corner it would make a perfect gift in a lovely little jar…this is what I’m thinking.  I’m not very crafty, but add a paper ribbon to that jar and that’s a pretty charming presentation.  All earthy and granola bar-like.


Crunchy Granola

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that’s a wrap

Last year I started making a conscious decision to significantly decrease the amount of processed foods that I buy.  I’m not perfect, but yesterday’s quick grocery run was a proud one for me:

  1. chicken breasts
  2. milk
  3. eggs
  4. oatmeal
  5. wheat germ
  6. whole wheat flour
  7. honey
  8. kosher salt
  9. bananas
  10. avocado
  11. good wisconsin cheddar cheese aged 9 months
  12. Archer Farms salsa from Target (my new favorite since leaving Trader Joe’s behind and the only non-whole food in the bunch—but I can read and pronounce all the ingredients, a good sign)

I started making these homemade tortillas last summer and they became an instant hit.  I follow the recipe pretty closely, but decrease the water to approximately 3/4 cup, depending on the consistency of the dough.  I also don’t use any oil on the pan at all.  In all it takes about 45 minutes total to make a dozen—approximately 20 minutes is active time.

Little G likes to roll the dough (odd shapes make this a fun project—last night she rolled out what she thought looked like the state of Maine) and Sweet A is in charge of the stove and has it down to a science when to flip.  She also likes to put a pinch of salt on the pan before the I toss on the dough.

I threw together my favorite easy chicken fajita recipe and we had a tasty, quick dinner free from processed food.

Chicken fajitas taste pretty great wrapped in Maine, Texas, and Florida.


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