Homemade Apple Sauce

Why buy apple sauce when it’s SO simple to make your own (and it makes your house smell wonderful)!  Depending on how many apples you’d like to use, you’ll have to adjust the recipe.  I like adding a little fresh squeezed orange juice, using a little less sugar, and a little more cinnamon.  Just remember, you can always add more of anything, but you can’t take it back out once you’ve added it.  Here’s a good starting point:

4 apples , peeled, cored and chopped
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
In a saucepan, combine apples, water, sugar, and cinnamon.
Cover, and cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, or until apples are soft.
Allow to cool, then mash with a fork or potato masher.
It will be very difficult to mess up this recipe.  If you add too much water, just cook it longer.  If it’s not sweet enough, add more sugar.  If you’ve added too much sugar, just add more apples and it cook it longer (I’ve also heard that you can add lemon juice to balance out the flavors).
Homemade Apple Sauce

Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

There is this soup that we love from Olive Garden called  Zuppa Toscana.  The recipe below (found on A Feathered Nest ) is not just as good as OG’s, it’s so much better!  It’s great with some crusty bread and an amber ale (or drink of your choice).

2 T olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 -1/2 t. crushed red-pepper flakes (depends on how spicy you like it…I add extra)
5-7 large potatoes cut into small, 1/2 inch chunks (I used red potatoes)
1/4 c. fresh chopped Italian parsley
6 c. chicken broth (6 c. water + 3 Tbs. chicken base)
1 bunch kale, stemmed and shredded (about 3-4 c. shredded)
1.5 – 2 lbs. Italian sausage, casings removed (I usually use only 1lb and it’s still PLENTY)
1/3 c. heavy cream (optional, but wonderful!)
In a large pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until soft.  Add garlic and red pepper flakes; cook until fragrant.   Add the potatoes, parsley and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat.  Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, brown sausage until it’s no longer pink.  Set aside.
In a blender, or with an imersion blender, puree half the soup.  Be careful not to burn yourself (speaking from experience).  Return to the pot and add kale and sausage.  Simmer until the kale is wilted about 10-15 minutes.  Add heavy cream if you’d like.   Salt & pepper as needed.
Makes about 8-10 generous servings.
Potato, Kale, and Sausage Soup

Monkey Bread

This is a simple recipe that is always a must on Stoney’s birthday.  He LOVES it!   It’s a good thing that I only make it a couple of times a year.  Observe:

YUM!!!  Enjoy.

4 cans refrigerated biscuits (or 2 cans depending on the size of the biscuit you use)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 cup)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 T cinnamon
* I’ve seen some versions of this recipe where raisins and/or nuts are added (I think that you shouldn’t mess with the buttery doughy goodness that is monkey bread)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9-10 inch tube pan.

2. Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a medium-sized plastic bag. Cut the biscuits into halves or quarters and place six to eight biscuit pieces in the sugar cinnamon mix. Shake well.

3. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the greased pan. Continue layering until all the biscuit pieces are coated and in the pan. If you are using raisins, place them among the biscuit pieces as you are layering.

4. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the layered biscuits.

5. Bake for 35 minutes. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Pull apart and enjoy!

Monkey Bread

Green Chili Fritatta

Here is another awesome (and really easy) fritatta recipe.  I made this often when we lived in Colorado using the fire roasted green chili peppers I would purchase at the Old Colorado City farmers market.  Yum!  But, I’m not in CO anymore, so canned green chili it is…! I was a little worried, but the fritatta turned out just as well.  You could actually roast your own green chilis on the grill or in the oven (just be sure to remove the skins).  I also tend to use Lactaid brand cottage cheese. I’ve made it several times with Lactaid brand cottage cheese and once with regular cottage cheese.   I actually think it turns out better with the Lactaid brand.  This is a quick fix and it’s great left over the next day.


  • 10 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chile peppers, drained
  • 1 (16 ounce) container low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the eggs, flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the green chile peppers, cottage cheese, Cheddar cheese, and melted butter. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
  3. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), and continue baking for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool slightly, and cut into small squares.
Green Chili Fritatta

Two-Bean Soup with Kale

We love soup at our house.  This recipe from the October 2009 Cooking Light Magazine is definitely a keeper!


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Emeril’s), divided
  • 7 cups stemmed, chopped kale (about 1 bunch)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added cannellini beans, rinsed, drained, and divided
  • 1 (15-ounce) can no-salt-added black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (I didn’t have any rosemary – it was just fine without it)


1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrot, and celery, and sauté 6 minutes or until tender. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 3 cups vegetable broth and kale. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 minutes or until kale is crisp-tender.
2. Place half of cannellini beans and remaining 1 cup vegetable broth in a blender or food processor; process until smooth. Add pureed bean mixture, remaining cannellini beans, black beans, and pepper to soup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, vinegar, and rosemary.


Two-Bean Soup with Kale

Artichoke, Leek, and Fontina Fritatta

I found this recipe in a Sunset Magazine recipe book.  I’ve made it twice now, and I intend on making it again very soon.  Fritatta’s don’t take too much time to cook, they are mostly healthy, and you can pretty much make them with whatever cheese, meat, and veggie combo and they will be great.  The first time I cooked this meal, I followed the directions exactly; the second time I replaced prosciutto for the bacon, and spinach for the artichokes.  It turned out lovely both times.

I want to hear if there are any other awesome fritatta combos you like…




  • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 3/4-in. pieces
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk and it worked just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks (white and light green parts)
  • 3/4 cup grated fontina cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • 1. Preheat oven to 450°. In a 10-in. ovenproof nonstick frying pan or well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, cook bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer bacon with a slotted spoon to paper towels; reserve 2 tbsp. drippings in pan (discard the rest) and set aside.
  • 2. Whisk together eggs, milk, chives, salt, and pepper. Stir in bacon and artichoke hearts. Set aside.
  • 3. Return skillet to medium-high heat. Add leeks and sauté in reserved bacon drippings until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Add egg mixture and stir to combine. Cook 1 minute, then gently stir in 1/2 cup fontina and the parmesan. Cook without stirring until edges of frittata are set and the center is still a bit soft, about 2 minutes (edges should appear firm when pan is gently shaken; the top layer should appear wet).
  • 4. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup fontina over top and transfer skillet to preheated oven. Bake until eggs are fully set and the top is light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. If top has not browned, broil frittata about 5 in. from heating element, keeping oven door ajar, until lightly golden, about 1 minute.
  • 5. Slice frittata into wedges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Artichoke, Leek, and Fontina Fritatta