st patrick’s day healthy snack

by jani on March 4, 2013

In just one day shy of two weeks, we’ll all be wearin’ the green! Ever since our trip to Ireland many years ago, we have a special place in our hearts for St Paddy’s Day. HB and I clearly  remember sitting at the Rock of Cashel, where St Patrick is purported to have administered. What an awe-inspiring moment that was!

In celebration of everything Irish… here’s a fun and healthy treat for your kids or grandkids to share on their lucky Shamrock Day!

shamrock snack 1

It’s so quick to fix – simply, clean and slice celery stick into narrow strips. Fill your favorite shamrock cookie cutters with peanut butter. That’s all there is to it! I said, easy – didn’t I?

shamrock snack 2Use the celery spears as your dip stick – dig in and enjoy this healthy treat!

shamrock snack 3

How about putting on a couple of ki- friendly, Irish-themed movies while enjoying your healthy treats? Might I suggest Darby O’Gill and the Little People or Finian’s Rainbow… both available on Netflix.

Do you have any special family traditions in your home to celebrate St Paddy’s Day? I’d love to hear!


Another fun recipe that I found in my mom’s 1960 recipe file is called “Corn Custard Mexicana”. I decided to try baking this recipe in my Le Creuset mini cocottes. I love experimenting with these old recipes! We like our food picante, so I added about 1-1/2 teaspoons chile powder (or I would suggest to taste).

green chile casserole 3

Here’s the original recipe that my mom had. I have no way of knowing what publication in the ’50s or ’60s it came from.

green chile casserole 2

green chile casserole 1


  • 2 c frozen corn kernels (thawed)
  • 1/2 c butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 1-2 tsp chile powder (or to taste)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped pimiento
  • 2 Tbsp chopped celery
  • 1 c sour cream
  • 1 c diced monterey jack cheese
  • 1- 4 oz can chopped green chiles

Dice the cheese very small (as you can see in the photo above each cheese dice is about double the size of a kernel of corn). Add corn in a medium mixing bowl and mix in melted butter (you can use a smaller amount if you desire to cut the fat). Add beaten eggs, cornmeal, salt, chile powder, pimiento, celery, sour cream, cheese, and  chiles, Mix well with a spoon. Pour into buttered casserole or 5 mini cocottes (or ramekins) and bake at 350 F for 45-50 minutes or until set. Use a toothpick in the center – if it comes out clean it is set. Double the recipe if baking in a 9×13 casserole.

green chile casserole 5

This is so easy to make and it is absolutely delicious! We will definitely be adding this to our Easter feast with ham. It is a perfect complement to any meal!

Have you found a treasured recipe that has been passed down through generations or one that you just happened upon in someone’s old recipe box? They truly are treasures because so few women were welling to trade their secret family recipes. It seems so peculiar in today’s world, but it was very much a thing of the past, that is, guard those recipes and never share them!  I welcome any comments – and have a great week!


{quick and easy} tarragon spaghetti squash

by jani on January 21, 2013

HB has been preparing spaghetti squash for me and our family for as long as I can remember. It’s a wonderful addition to any meal and is very high in nutrients and  low in calories.

According to Wikipedia, “The spaghetti squash (Cucurbita pepo) (also called vegetable spaghettinoodle squashspaghetti marrow, and squaghetti) is an oblong seed-bearing variety of winter squash. The fruit can range either from ivory to yellow or orange in color. The orange varieties have a higher carotene content. Its center contains many large seeds. Its flesh is bright yellow or orange. When raw, the flesh is solid and similar to other raw squash; when cooked, the flesh falls away from the fruit in ribbons or strands like spaghetti.”

spaghetti squash 14


Place two halves into baking dish add an inch of water, cover tightly (we use Glad Press’n Seal) Place in microwave and cook on high level for 18 minutes.

spaghetti squash 10

While still hot, carefully scoop out the flesh of the squash into a mixing container, add butter or butter substitute and mix. Add seasonings to taste.

spaghetti squash 3

spaghetti squash 5

spaghetti squash 6

This is such an easy and healthy side dish to prepare for your family. Our kids grew up on this and have never left their plates empty. It just has a rich,  wonderful taste and texture. Enjoy!


pear apple butternut soup

by jani on October 29, 2012

Near our home in Utah is a wonderful restaurant called the Blue Lemon. We have always loved their Butternut Soup –  it has just the right combinations of flavors. I didn’t think there could be an equal if not better tasting soup. That is, until HB started experimenting… I love it when he experiments! Anyway, this is truly one of the best-ever butternut soup recipes I’ve ever had!


  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter

  • 2 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and diced

  • 1 or 2 onions, diced, to taste

  • 3 large or 4 medium butternut squashes, peeled, halved lengthwise and seeds removed, diced into 1-inch cubes

  • 2 pears, skinned, seeded and quartered

  • 1 tsp allspice, ground

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (or to taste)

  • 2 tsp nutmeg, ground 

  • 2 tsp cinnamon, ground

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 2 tsp ginger paste

  • 3 qts chicken stock

  • 1 cup half and half

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the diced onions, cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spices, cook for 1 minute, and then add the squash, pears, brown sugar and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until the squash is tender, about 30 minutes. Add half and half, purée and serve. Add additional stock if necessary, to desired thickness. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Refrigerate or freeze any leftovers.

Serves 6 to 8

Adding the Fresh Gourmet Honey Roasted Sliced Almonds gave just the right crunch to this velvety textured soup.

This is such an easy soup to make and so worth the effort. It’s my new fall favorite! And besides, soup is a comfort food. You can curl up in a snuggly blanket by the fire with a good book or enjoy your favorite TV show and just indulge in this savory and filling meal.

I’d love to hear back if you are a fan of butternut soup – or if like me, you’re a lover of  a warm bowl on a cold afternoon.