Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Smoked Chicken Salad

We had our story telling party a little over a week ago. The kids are ready to move on to an open house for Christmas but my husband still enjoys the story sharing. It is always a lot of fun.

I made 3 different appetizers, 3 types of cookies, 3 different dips, fudge, white chocolate party mix, and there were the fruit, veggie & cheese/cracker trays. We ended up having just under 50 people come. The smoked Chicken Salad and the lemon-spice swirl cookies were new recipes that I tried and they were a hit.

Smoked Chicken Salad

1 (3.5-4 lb.) rotisserie chicken
2 (15 oz.) cans black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
3/4C chopped chives
1/2C mayonnaise
1/2C sour cream
1/2t salt
1/2t pepper
1/2t liquid smoke
1 (7 oz.) pkg. miniature pita bread, cut in half
2C spring salad mix

Pull meat off of rotisserie chicken and put in work bowl of food processor. Pulse until meat is coarsely chopped, about 10 sec. In a large bowl, combine chicken, peas, tomatoes, and chives. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, salt, pepper and liquid smoke, stirring until well-combined. Line each pita half with a few leaves of salad mix and stuff with chicken salad. Yield: 40 pita halves.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ground Beef

Ok, so life got crazy and I have not been an active poster and actually there are no guarantees about the coming future but I shared a tip last night with someone at the activity formerly known as Enrichment and thought it would be a good tip to share....

When browning ground beef put some water in the pan with it. (Do you already do this?) I read about this a couple of years ago and I LOVE the results. It creates a much softer meat than just browning it normally. So easy and can be poured off when you dump the grease. You can add up to a cup for a pound and remember you will dump it off, it changes the texture and makes it light and lovely. If you have not tried this, I would highly suggest it! Let me know what you think!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pasta with Chicken and Squash

I've had this recipe for a long time but I never made it because I knew the kids wouldn't be thrilled with the zucchini and summer squash. I've been making a couple of dishes each week that are new to us, trying to get some new dishes in the mix that everyone likes. I loved this dish, probably more than everyone else. Of the 4 kids, the 11 yr. old didn't like the flavor and picked at it. The other three kids (13, 9 & 9) had seconds.

While it got top ratings with 5 out of 6, I'm still sharing it because it is delicious. The noodles are covered in a creamy cheese sauce with julienned squash and chicken.

Pasta with Chicken and Squash

1 pkg. (16 oz.) spiral pasta
2C whipping cream
1T butter or margarine
2C (8 oz.) shredded Mexican cheese blend or cheddar cheese
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
5T olive or vegetable oil, divided
2 med. zucchini, julienned
2 med yellow summer squash, julienned
1-1/4t salt, divided
1/8t pepper
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, julienned
1/4t each dried basil, marjoram and savory
1/4t dried rosemary, crushed
1/8t rubbed sage

Cook pasta according to directions. Meanwhile, heat cream and butter in a saucepan until butter melts. Add cheese; cook and stir until melted. Rinse and drain pasta; add to cheese mixture. Cover and keep warm. In a skillet over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in 3T oil until onion is tender. Add squash; cook until tender. Add 1t of salt and pepper; remove and keep warm. Add remaining oil to skillet; cook chicken with herbs and remaining salt until juices run clear. Place pasta on a serving platter; top with chicken and squash.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Homemade Pop Tarts

My kids like pop tarts, but they get expensive. I decided to make my own. They are actually really easy, and they taste so much better than store bought. Now the trick is making some and actually getting them in the freezer for the kids for breakfast. This batch didn't last that long. I got the recipe from the internet (oops I forgot to keep the link). The dough was very flaky. I am pretty sure any pie crust dough will work. We like the brown sugar cinnamon kind, so I made a paste of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and spread in the middle. I will attach the recipe I used.

Homemade Pop Tarts

4 cups Flour
1 3/4 cups Vegetable Shortening
2 tablespoon Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vinegar
1/2 cup Cold Water
16 tablespoons Jam -- any flavor divided

In a large bowl, cut flour and shortening together (I added all the dry ingredients together then wet) with pastry blender or two butter knives, until completely blended (mixture will resemble crumbs). Add sugar, baking powder, salt, egg, vinegar and cold water. Mix with hands until mixture forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Divide dough into fourths, refrigerating the portions you are not working with yet.

Take first 1/4 of dough and roll out onto a floured surface. Cut into rectangles using a sharp knife. It is helpful to make a template the size you wish your poptarts to be, from cardboard or heavy plastic, so they will be a uniform size. Spread on tbsp. jam on one half of the rectangles, leaving a half inch or so on the edges without jam. Cover with the other half of the rectangles. Crimp edges with a fork. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 12 - 15 minutes or until the pie dough is evenly browned and cooked through. Cool completely and place into zip baggies for storage until you are ready to eat them. Repeat with remaining dough and jam until it is all completed.

Variation: Glaze poptarts with a simple glaze made from powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Be sure to let glaze dry hard before placing poptarts into storage baggies.

Pop-Tarts may be stored up to one week as you would store bread, or frozen for up to 3 months before use.

For the rest of the dough I used the circle cutter/sealer from pampered chef. It made them a little smaller, but it was easier than the rectangles. I cut the circles, put filling on one, covered and then sealed as best I could.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Laundry Soap

I'm posting a different type of recipe today. In order to save money, I looked for a recipe to make my own laundry soap earlier this year. Who doesn't like to save money?

If I were to use Tide, I would spend $13.99 for 52 loads. I'm spending $3.79 for 128 loads of laundry (4 batches of the recipe - 1/4 of the supplies). I bought Mule Team Borax ($2.79), Arm & Hammer Washing Soda ($2.07) and 8 bars Fels Naptha soap ($1.29/ea) for a total of $15.18. For the same number of loads, I can spend $137.75 for Tide or $15.18 and make it myself. I think I'll make my own.

Laundry Soap

1/2C Borax

1/2C Washing Soda

1C Fels Naptha, grated

I use a box grater for the Fels Naptha, but you can use your food processor or other grater. Mix it all together and store in a plastic container. Use 1T (yes, that is 1 tablespoon) of soap in your laundry. I use 1/4C white vinegar for softener and I still use a dryer sheet for static cling in the dryer.

Don't expect bubbles like you get with detergents.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Microwave Warnings

I decided that I would include a few of my failures in cooking just so no one would think I was perfect or anything of the sort.

Just so you know when trying to bake cookies in the microwave, 4 minutes is WAY to long.

The other day I was baking cookies. It got to the last bit of dough and there was enough for maybe 4 cookies. I decided that I would experiment and cook them in the microwave. I put them on a glass plate, and set the cooking time for 5 minutes. I checked the cookies after 2 1/2 minutes, and thought they would take a little longer. So I left the room for just a second. A minute later I smelled them burning. So I ran in the kitchen to stop them. Only to find smoke pouring out of my microwave. I quickly pulled the plate out and ran it outside to cool off. It took a while to air out our house.

It smelled very similar to popcorn burned in the microwave (which I have done also), but nothing like burned cracked wheat. (Which by the way cooks much better when you add water. That smell was horrible. I guess I don't know if it was the burning wheat that smelled so bad, or the plastic Pampered Chef Microwave bowl that melted at the time. I was making Marlin his breakfast, and was in such a hurry that I forgot the water. I think he ate granola that morning.) I guess, because of the sugar, it smelled similar to when Andrew put a bowl of fondant (for cakes) in the microwave for 50 minutes. We found that after about 5. It smelled kind of like burning marshmallow.

So for the most part I learned
1) to pay attention when you bake in the microwave - I think they would have been ok had I taken them out at 2 1/2 minutes.
2) I am prone to stupidity.
3) I will still focus my microwave use on reheating and defrosting. It doesn't smell nearly as bad.

Have fun cooking. I hope you learn from my mistakes, and don't have to put your nose through the trauma of burning food in the microwave.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cobb Salad w/ Chili-Lime Dressing

I love this salad because everyone in our family will eat it and likes it. I must admit that I scale back on the avocado if it is just us because it is not a favorite in the salad but in small doses, they will eat it.

I've found as we've lived around the country that cobb salads are different every where. There are some basic parts that are standard (i.e., chicken, tomato, bacon & avocado) and the rest is up to the chef.


10 oz. Romaine lettuce
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1C shredded cheese (I use Monterey/Colby mix)
1C chopped tomatoes
1/2 lb. chicken, cooked and cubed
1 avocado, peeled and cubed
1/2C chopped red onion
1/3C bacon, crumbled or chopped


1 (4 oz.) can chopped green chilies, undrained
2/3C sour cream
1/4C cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2T lime juice
1/2t pepper
1/3t hot sauce
1/4t salt

For salad, place lettuce in serving bowl. Make columns with remaining ingredients.

For dressing, place ingredients in food processor; blend. Chill until serving.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

This is one of those quick dinners that is great to fall back on when you have a busy day and need to get dinner on the table. This is super easy with the water for the rice boiling and the rice cooking while the meatballs are simmering and they finish about the same time. My family likes it with egg noodles too.

I used to make the meatballs from scratch but things got busy for a while and I've been using the meatballs from the freezer section.

1 can (20 oz.) pineapple chunks
1/3C water
3T vinegar
1T soy sauce
1/2C brown sugar
3T cornstarch
1 batch of 30 meatballs
1 lg. green pepper, cut into 1" pieces
Hot, cooked rice

Drain pineapple, reserving juice. Add water to juice to measure 1 cup; pour into a large skillet. Add water, vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar and cornstarch; stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Add pineapple chunks, meatballs and pepper. Simmer for 20 minutes or until heated through. Serve over rice.

I like a little more sauce so I usually add water to bring it to 2C and double the vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar. I use 5T of cornstarch because I don't like it as thick. I leave it with one can of pineapple and one pepper because not all of my kids are fans of those items and I toss in more meatballs so there will be something left over for my husband to take for lunch the next day.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yummy Breadsticks!

These breadsticks are a favorite at my house, and they are fairly simple. I have to do a double batch every time just so no one feels like they didn't get enough. I guess the best thing is when I make these, I have to make less of everything else :-).

The recipe was given to me from a friend, and they are a welcome addition to any Italian meal.

2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
garlic powder, dried parsley, parmesan cheese

Mix warm water, sugar and yeast in a measuring cup to activate yeast (this step is unnecessary if using instant yeast, just add to flour). Mix flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add liquid mixture and mix for 5-8 minutes or so with the dough hook. The dough is soft, but it shouldn't be sticky. Let rise until double (when I am in a hurry I also just let it rise for 5 to 10 minutes). Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place butter in 9x13 baking dish and melt in oven, don't let it burn. Roll into a rectangle on to lightly floured surface. Cut into strips ( I use my pizza cutter and I cut the strips in half to make them shorter, to have "more" breadsticks for everyone to eat.) Twist each strip of dough by folding in half and wrapping around itself. Dip in butter and arrange in the hot baking dish. After all are in the dish, sprinkle on desired toppings. I use garlic powder, and dried parsley all the time, and occasionally I add parmesan cheese. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until golden brown on the bottom.

It is much easier to make than my instructions sound. Maybe I will try to make a video sometime to post. Enjoy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

I'm still in the middle of a move but I thought I would share something I made earlier this year. I'm one of those people that tears recipes out of magazines and tosses the magazine, which is how I came across this recipe.

I didn't quite use the 2 lbs. of broccoli that the recipe called for. I used all of the florets and 2/3 or so of the stems. I also increased the rice by 1/4C and added cream and broth to compensate for the addition. The cayenne pepper gives it just a hint of a kick, another thing I was a little liberal with. I added 5 min. in the oven for a crunchy topping.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice Casserole

2 slices hearty white sandwich bread
3/4C grated Parmesan cheese
4T unsalted butter, melted; + 2T, chilled
1 garlic clove, minced
2 lbs. broccoli, florets cut into 1-inch pieces, stems peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped fine
1-1/4C long-grain rice
1-1/4C half-and-half
1t salt
2C shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/8t cayenne pepper

Heat oven to 400. Grease 9x13 baking dish. Pulse bread, 1/4C Parmesan, and melted butter in food processor until coarsely ground. Add garlic.

Microwave broccoli florets, covered, until bright green and tender, 2-4 minutes; set aside. Melt remaining butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion and broccoli stems until softened, 8-10 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, until rice is translucent, about 1 min. Stir in broth, half-and-half, and salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to med.-low and cook, stirring often, until rice is tender, 20-25 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in cheddar, cayenne, remaining Parmesan and broccoli florets.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until sauce is bubbling around edges and top is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Delicate Pear Cake w/ Caramel Sauce

A friend of mine had a birthday and instead of presents, she asked us to give her our favorite recipe. She bought a special scrapbook for the recipes and I just finished one of the pages I'm giving her.

This cake is so yummy! I've been making it for 20 years now and it always receives compliments and requests for the recipe. I have one friend who would be happy if I made the caramel sauce and didn't bother with the cake. She loves the sauce and spoons it on generously with her cake.

Delicate Pear Cake w/ Caramel Sauce

16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup
1 pkg. white cake mix
1/3C oil
3 egg whites

1C whipping cream
2T sugar
1t vanilla
16 oz. can pear halves in extra light syrup, drained
1/2C finely chop

1C brown sugar
1C whipping cream
1/2C butter or margarine

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 10" tube pan. Drain pear halves, reserving 1/3C liquid. Place pear halves in food processor with metal blade, process until smooth. In large bowl combine cake mix, pureed pears, reserved liquid, oil and egg whites at low speed. Pour into pan. Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool upright in pan 15 minutes; invert onto serving plate, cool completely.

In small bowl, beat cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Frost cake. Cut pear halves lengthwise into 32 slices. Arrange on top of cake slightly overlapping. Press nuts into sides of cake. Refrigerate until serving time.

In medium saucepan, combine sauce ingredients; bring to boil. Boil over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Drizzle 2T sauce over pear slices.

To serve, spoon about 2T sauce onto individual dessert plates. Place slice of cake on sauce. Store cake and sauce in refrigerator.

* High Altitude - above 3500 ft. Add 1/4C flour to dry cake mix. Bake as directed.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Oreo and Cake Balls

Every Christmas, my family would do the 12 days. My mom would make treats for every day and then us kids would deliver them. I split my pants open on a barbed wire fence, hid in a muddy culvert and was discovered by a 80 something yr old that was about 4 ft tall. But those are the memories I treasure. Not only the fun of the sneaking but also of baking with my mom. We would make every Christmas treat known to man and loved every moment of it! Now with my mom gone, I still love to find new recipes to take to others at Christmas. Hopefully they love the treats as much as I do!
Here are two of my favorites. One I found in a Quick Cooking magazine and the other my friend with the Cinnamon Roll recipe gave to me.

Oreo Cream Cheese Drops

1 20 oz pkg. oreos
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened)
15 oz white or chocolate bark

Put all the cookies in the blender and process until finely crushed (a food processor works great too). Mix cream cheese and crumbs together well. Roll into ¾ in. balls and cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour (this makes a huge difference, when you dip them into the chocolate it will harden quickly). Melt the chocolate in the microwave or double boiler and dip half the balls. Place on waxed paper or buttered dish. Melt the chocolate again if needed or a different color and dip the remaining balls. Drizzle with alternate colors of chocolate and store in refrigerator.

Makes about 7 dozen

Cake Balls

1 cake mix-made according to directions (I like chocolate best)
1/4 to 1/2 c. evaporated milk, coffee creamer or half and half
(what I have on hand is what I use)
1 pound dipping chocolate
Flavoring (optional)

Bake the cake according the directions on the box and let the cake cool completely. Crumble all of it into a large bowl. Add just enough milk and mix with your hands until you can squeeze some together and it doesn't fall apart. Add flavoring if wanted. My friend likes almond flavoring. Form into golf ball size balls and refrigerate about 30 minutes. Dip into melted chocolate and let harden. One of the yummiest things ever!

Cinnamon Rolls

My Grandma Ola was a wonderful cook. My Grandpa Al would show up to the house at lunch time and would have told 5-10 guys he'd been working with that his "Blondie" would make lunch. My grandma was always ready to kill him but managed to lay a delicious spread. She loved to bake and perhaps that's where my love of it came to be.
I grew up with the idea that if someone could bake great cinnamon rolls, they had become someone to admire. I tried and tried to make them and finally managed pretty decent ones. Then a friend of mine gave me this recipe. Ohhhhh man! If I can make and they come out good, then anyone can. Anyway, here's the recipe.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
4 Tbsp. water
½ (3.4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. salt
2 ½ tsp. yeast

½ c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in the breadmaker. Use the dough cycle. When it is finished, knead dough enough to punch down down and roll to a 17x10 inch rectangle. Mix filling recipe and spread over rolled out dough, getting as close to the edges as possible. Roll the dough into a tight log and cut into 12 pieces. Put into a lightly greased 9x13 pan and let rise until double, about 20-30 minutes. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. Frost with cream cheese icing.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My dang dad

When I was 14, Mom tried to get me to learn to bake bread. I hated cooking, I hated homemaking, and if my parents wanted me to do anything, I generally hated whatever it was just on principle. (I resisted)

My dad was in the bishopric at that time, and spoke to the bishop about having me called as the ward sacrament baker. Bishop did extend that calling, and I was furious. I must have been a real darling to live with for a few weeks. My dad was such a jerk, that was so unfair, boy was I mad at him. (those of you without the blessing of puberty in your homes may have to use your imaginations on how sweet the age 14 can be)

I baked wonderful bread for the ward. I was so mad every Saturday when I kneaded that stupid bread, I about kneaded it to death. Well, really good kneading is what good bread takes! I'd bake it, then after it cooled I'd cut all the crust off, slice my bread and bag it up. Mother would make roast beef and gravy, and on Sunday we'd have bread crust with brown gravy over it. I began to enjoy the crust and gravy, and noticed that the family enjoyed it too.

I took some secret pride in the bread I was making, secret I say because to let on to Dad would be to give the man some victory. (I spent my whole youth being careful never to let him win if I could help it) When the deacons skipped Sunday School to sneak into the sacrament prep room and eat all the sacrament bread, I was very flattered! (I think the bishopric had to speed to the Circle K for more) The other kids noticed the good bread and it gave me some small status with the very mature older kids, who never gave me the time of day because they were so magically mature! (I could hardly wait to be that old)

As a young mother I needed desperately to paint and express myself creatively. With a zillion kids trying to help, painting was a joke. I felt I was getting lost to all of those wonderful little people. We were also pretty broke those years, and couldn't afford storebought bread. I began to bake again. As I read, and experimented and began to really understand my new art Tom got involved and built me an adobe oven so that I could replicate European artisan breads. That oven and that bread saved my sanity. I loved my dad for seeing that I learned to bake bread. I still do!

Every Saturday I'd bake the bread I needed for the coming week. After the baking was done, I'd line all the breads out on my table and just watch them cool off. To see the rustic breads, the sophisticated breads, the golden loaves full of nutrition (24 of them) for my family all in rows fed some thing needy inside my spirit. The scriptures about bread are still some of my favorites.

Here is what I learned. Don't laugh. When you make food for your loved ones with your own hands, with a desire to feed and nourish them, using the best ingredients you can afford the Lord blesses it and makes it into an offering for them which, I believe, has more nutrition temporally and passes on the love you feel for them, increasing the bonds between their hearts and yours. I love to bake bread. I love to pass it to others warm and fresh. I love to smell it, feel it and taste it. It is an expression of myself, and a heart offering to others. Especially my dad.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cheddar Biscuits

Once a month I get together with friends for dinner. It is a fun night that I look forward to each month, not only for the friendship we share, but to sample some new recipes and to have the recipe so I can make it for my family. This month I was assigned a bread and due to my busy schedule today, I chose to make Cheddar Biscuits. Biscuits are great when you don't have the time for a bread that needs to rise and they remind me of my grandmother who made biscuits every day.

This recipe calls for buttermilk, which I don't always have hand. I do have powdered buttermilk in the pantry but there are times I have had to make my own substitution, which works just well using two ingredients.

Buttermilk Substitute:

milk (just under 1C)
1T vinegar or lemon juice (I've always used lemon juice)

Place 1T of the vinegar or lemon juice in measuring cup and add the milk to bring it up to 1C. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then use the amount your recipe needs.

Cheese Biscuits

1-2/3C flour
2t baking powder
1/2t salt
1/4t baking soda
1/4C shortening
1C (4 oz.) shredded cheddar cheese
3/4C buttermilk

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in cheese. Add buttermilk; stir just until dough clings together. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough lightly until easy to handle. Roll into a 12-in. circle. Cut into 8 wedges. Begin at wide end of wedge and roll toward point; place biscuits, point side down, on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm. Yield: 8 biscuits

Friday, June 19, 2009

Whole Wheat Bread

I am "teaching" a cooking class at my house, and the last lesson was on making bread. I made whole wheat bread to share, and also made some to demonstrate. This is a picture of a loaf, as well as 4 slices. The two slices on the top are made with 100% hard red wheat, and the two on the bottom are made with 100% hard white wheat. The red wheat creates a much denser loaf with a slightly nutty flavor. The white wheat bread is very mild, and tastes more like white bread, but with the benefit of 100% whole wheat bread.

I grind my own flour, and then made the bread with the fresh ground flour.

The recipe is from a bread handout off of everydayfoodstorage.net

EZ Wheat Bread recipe

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 Tblsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey or 1/3 cup sugar
2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat gluten
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp nonfat non instant dry milk
1 Tblsp butter/margarine/oil
1 Tblsp vinegar
1/4 cup potato flakes (NOT potato pearls)

Mix ingredients in order listed in mixing bowl of mixer with dough hook attachment (like kitchen-aid) for 12-15 minutes. Let rise until double, 1- 1 1/2 hours. Punch down, and shape into loaf or rolls. Let rise again until double and bake 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped.
If you are making this recipe in a bread machine, follow your bread machine’s directions for wheat or whole grain selection and add the ingredients in the order listed for their recommendations. (only one loaf will fit in a bread maker)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Home Cooking a Lost Skill

Lately I have noticed that many younger women get married with little or no skill of cooking at home.

With the disentigration of the family, and mothers working outside the home, the art of home cooking is getting lost. Girls (and boys) aren't being taught how to cook. They can open cans, microwave frozen dinners, or maybe make Ramen, but that is about it.

I have decided to try to make a difference in the lives of some women at church and started a basic cooking class. Attendance is sparce, but those who have come seemed to learn some and have a good time. I invited anyone with interest. It is fun to get women with more skill than I have to come and help to improve my skill.

I found that it is hard for me to share actuall recipes. I don't know where I learned, but I many times just mix without measuring (when cooking, not baking!). So it is good for me to think and write things down. That way I can share my recipes with others including my children.

My older children bake and do some cooking. I am hoping to have them be self sufficient when they some day move out on their own. It is fun to watch them learn. They really get a kick out of making their own birthday cakes. That doesn't hurt my feelings. We have a birthday this weekend. I will post their birthday cake creation.