Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Sunday, February 27, 2011

vegetable chili ragu

here is a healthy recipe for the crock pot.  the vegetables can be combined with out without the kidney beans to your family's choice.

2 zucchini, 1/2 green pepper, onions, celery, frozen corn, kidney beans, chili powder, parsley, basil, 2 small cans of diced tomatoes, 1 jar of thick chunky salsa.  prepare, chop or combine the ingredients in the crock pot.

if your family enjoys some ground beef, brown the beef and serve as a topping along with the following other suggestions:  shredded cheddar, green onions, and sour cream.   cook the ragu for a minimum of four hours on HIGH and serve in chili bowls with toppings. 

along with the ragu, serve a side salad, crusty bread or tortilla chips and salsa.

tomato tart

here is a great recipe for a tomato tart that can be served with a lunch salad or as a hot appetizer at any party.  select the very best tomatoes from your local farmer's market or even your own garden.

use your favorite tart pastry recipe or even prepared refrigerated pie crust.  select either individual tart tins or one larger 8 inch tin.  prepare the tin with canola spray, and place the tart crust.  aerate the crust with a fork and then fill with your favorite cheese.  mozzarella works well along with any of your favorites:  flavored Havarti, Gruyere, or even Swiss. 

place tomatoes over the cheese in a desirable arrangement and season to taste.  i used parsley, pepper and basil.  other herb combinations can be used as well.  bake the larger size tart on a sheet pan in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees. the smaller tarts will bake faster. remove from the tart tins to serve.

this recipe can be used with a variety of toppings. i have prepared sauteed mushrooms, onions, zucchini, a mixture of olives or even red, yellow and green peppers.  any of these combinations can be tasty and presents well for a party or afternoon luncheon.

coconut baked shrimp

for years i have tried to select a recipe that could combine the great taste of fried shrimp with a healthy alternative of baked shrimp.  finally, i have found the recipe which includes a sweet taste of coconut.

to prepare the shrimp, first preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  the shrimp must be peeled with the tails left in place.  prepare a wire rack over a sheet pan, and spray with olive oil. 

whisk 2 egg whites until foamy in the first dish.
stir together 1/4 cup of cornstarch with any seasoning desired or none at all in the second dish.

in the final dish, mixed flaked coconut with panko breadcrumbs.  paprika can be added as well if desired.

dip shrimp in cornstarch first, then egg whites, and finally in the coconut mixture.  lightly coat the shrimp on both sides.  place on the prepared pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning after the first 8 minutes.

these shrimp can be used as a wonderful appetizer with your choice of shrimp sauces or as a main dish along side a compliment of rice and steamed vegetables.  Excellent!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


as i was shopping last weekend, i happened to find this cute assortment of cupcake papers.  these small liners will be wonderful for spring cupcakes, as well as muffins or candy.  when i bake cupcakes or muffins, i bake them directly in the muffin or cupcake pans which are well greased.

after cooling the baked goods, i remove them from the pans, and then place them in the cupcake papers.  i find that cooking directly in the papers makes for a sticky muffin or cupcake, and a less desirable outcome.  by simply placing the papers around the baked good after cooking, the product is more appealing and the cupcake papers are enjoyed more for their decorative appeal.

this particular packaging caught my eye and i am excited to use these in the coming weeks.