Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Greek Pottery Project

Logan and I first attempted to make a Greek-style pot by covering a glass vase with air-dry clay, which worked years ago for his older brothers, but this time the clay cracked as soon as it dried. 

His brothers were younger when they made their Greek pots out of root beer bottles covered in clay.

We went back to the drawing board and decided to make a paper mache Greek-style pot, using instructions in the Story of the World Volume One Activity Book, and gleaning various ideas online. Mixing together one part Elmer's school glue and one part water, we found that smaller pieces of newspaper worked better than longer strips.  Logan got a bit tired of paper mache after one layer on the balloon, and I mostly did the second layer.  However, four to six layers would have been more adequate, because our pot dented in at the top a bit when I cut a hole and inserted a plastic cup, and it dented in at a spot when painted.

Logan painted the pot with terra cotta and black acrylic paint.  We looked up pictures of Greek pottery online for design inspiration, but for the main pictures, he re-drew a picture of the Trojan horse and a picture of Odysseus and company getting ready to blind the Cyclops, Polyphemus, that he had already drawn for his history/literature notebook.  Since the giant proved difficult for him to draw onto the curved surface, I ordered some graphite transfer paper to use to get his image on the pot.  

The handles are made out of Model Magic and hot glued to the pot.

With such a detailed project, Logan did the work off and on over a period of many weeks.  It helped that he is a very detail-oriented kid.  

Apple Cranberry Turkey Burgers


  • 1 package ground turkey (I use Jennie-O 1.25 pound package.)
  • 1/2 cup grated apple
  • 1/4 heaping cup finely-chopped cranberries
  • 1/4 scant cup finely-chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely-chopped celery
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. ground sage
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1 tsp. dried, crushed rosemary
Mix all ingredient together thoroughly.  Form 8 or 9 patties and cook on the grill.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Paleo Zuppa Toscana

Serves 8-12

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 lbs. ground Italian sausage *
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 16 cups chicken stock (homemade or from bouillon)
  • 1 large head cauliflower broken into bite-sized florets and pieces
  • 8 cups baby kale, or baby spinach, or chopped kale, stems removed
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
* I like to use Sprouts Italian sausage links, removing the skins, and breaking up the meat.

In a large stockpot, brown the sausage with the chopped onion and garlic.  Set aside the meat and onions to drain.  Bring the chicken stock to boil in the pot, then add the cauliflower and pepper flakes and simmer for 15 minutes* or until tender.  Return the meat mixture to the pot along with the greens.  Cook until the greens are tender: only a few minutes if using baby greens, around 5 minutes if using chopped kale.  Stir in the coconut milk, add salt & pepper to taste, and serve.

*Reduce the amount of time the cauliflower is cooked if using chopped kale which takes longer to soften.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Butternut Bisque

Butternut and Ham Bisque
Yield: 12 servings 

2 T. coconut oil, ghee, or butter
1 very large sweet onion chopped

1 tsp. dried rosemary
2 tsp. minced garlic
10 cups peeled, diced butternut squash
2 c. peeled, diced sweet potato
10 c. chicken broth (homemade, or from bouillon) 

salt to taste (depending on what broth you use)
black pepper to taste
1 c. coconut milk (or milk or heavy cream if you can have dairy)
3 cups cubed cooked ham

Melt coconut oil or other fat in a stock pot.  
Sauté the onion and rosemary over moderate heat for 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook another minute.

Add the squash and sweet potato cubes, chicken stock, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer the soup for 20-25 minutes or until the vegetables are very soft. Remove the pan from the heat.

Use a stick blender to puree the vegetables and broth in the pot.  If you do not own a stick blender, buy one immediately puree the vegetables with some broth in batches in  a blender until all the vegetables are pureed and returned to the pot. Stir in the coconut milk and ham, heating for several minutes before serving. 

My son Matthew, upon tasting this soup, once exclaimed, "This is better than ice cream!"

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kitchen Towel Hack

Fold the edges of the towel in to the center.

Hang the towel over the oven door handle.  Gather the front portion and rubberband.

Twist the rubberband into a figure eight.  Feed the back part of the towel through the back circle of the rubberband.

Startin with a corner, pull the front part of the towel through a napkin ring.  Position the napkin ring over the front part of the rubberband.  Tweak the towel so that it is hanging evenly with the napkin ring hiding the view of the back part of the rubberband.

Skillet Shepherd's Pie

When making this recipe, I use every burner, but it is relatively quick to make.  The mashed cauliflower topping comes from Melissa Joulwan but is doubled.  Serves 6.

Meat & Vegetable Filling:
  • 1 lb. ground lamb or beef (lamb is better)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • stalk of celery diced
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried crushed rosemary
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. sage
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1 pkg. frozen peas & carrots, cooked following pkg. directions OR steam 2 cups of thinly sliced carrots until soft and 2 cups of frozen baby peas, cooked 
  • 2 cups frozen petite whole beans broken into smaller pieces (can cook peas and beans together in same pot)
  • 2 16 oz. pkg frozen cauliflower or 3 12 oz. bags, cooked until very soft in separate pot
  • 1 c. coconut milk
  • 2 1/2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 TBSP dried chives

Cook filling vegetables according to package directions in one pot.  At the same time, cook the cauliflower in a separate pot until very soft.  While vegetables are cooking, brown ground lamb in a large skillet with onion and spices.  When browned, place meat in a colander over a bowl to drain of fat.  Drain filling vegetables and mix meat and vegetables (except cauliflower) in the skillet.

In small saucepan, heat the coconut milk, oil, garlic, chives, and salt & pepper until the oil is melted and the spices simmer for at least a minute.  Drain cauliflower and blend with coconut milk sauce until smooth using a stick blender.  Spread mashed cauliflower over the meat & vegetables in the skillet and garnish with more pepper and dried chives.  Serve immediately.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Dilled Lemon Chicken and Roasted Vegetables

  • 2 1/2 lbs. or large package boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • minced garlic to taste - up to 6 cloves or 1 T.
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • Optional garnish - sliced green onions

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a 9x13 or larger baking dish, combine the olive oil, zest, and spices.  If desired cut the chicken thighs into two pieces where the meat is thinner.  Stir or toss the chicken in the olive oil mixture until evenly coated.  Roast the chicken for 20 minutes, then add the lemon juice to the pan and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.

  • 3-4 red peppers cut into bite-sized pieces (Cut up as many peppers as can fit into roasting pan in a single layer)
  • 1 bunch asparagus - snap off woody ends and snap spears into bite-sized pieces OR another vegetable of your choice such as julienned zucchini or yellow squash, cauliflower florets, or snap peas (8 mins.)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper to taste

Add the peppers to a roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper,  toss to coat, and spread in an even layer.  Put the peppers and the chicken in the oven at the same time.  Roast the peppers for 15 minutes, then remove quickly to stir.  If using zucchini or yellow squash, add to the pan at the 15 minute mark & toss with the red peppers along with a bit more olive oil and salt & pepper if needed.  Roast the peppers for 15 minutes more, or until blackened in spots.  If using asparagus, toss with the peppers during the last 10 minutes so that the pieces will retain some crispness.

Serve the vegetables on a platter with the chicken arranged on top.  Pour the juices over all and garnish the chicken with green onion if desired.  (Or just serve it in the roasting pan!)

I derived the method of roasting the chicken from this Rachel Ray recipe.  To use chicken breasts instead of thighs, I recommend following the original recipe as far as adding some chicken broth or white wine with the lemon juice at the end.

Serve with favorite starch such as mashed cauliflower or potatoes, quinoa, rice, or couscous

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eggroll Skillet

A fellow homeschooling mom, Debra Pearson, graciously allowed me to post this crisp and flavorful recipe that she created which has become a regular in my family's meal rotation.   The recipe calls for a ground pork and ground shrimp combination, but I most often just use 1 to 1 1/2 lb. ground pork or ground turkey alone.  

Serves 6  (My ginormous wok makes the amount appear small in the photo.)


1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. shrimp, peeled & de-veined
1 small green cabbage, shredded finely
1 large carrot, julienned
1 stalk celery, finely chopped on the bias
1-inch of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
3 or 4 green onions, chopped
Coconut oil
Coconut aminos or Bragg's Liquid Aminos or Tamari
Toasted sesame oil

In a food processor, pulse the shrimp until they are of similar consistency to the ground pork. Combine the meats in a bowl until well mixed. Preheat a large skillet to med.-high and add 1 to 2 Tbsp oil. Fry the meat mixture until no longer pink, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks. Remove the meat to drain, wipe out the skillet, and add another Tbsp oil. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté for a minute. Add the remaining veggies and stir fry them until glossy but not limp. Return the meat to the skillet and heat through. Season with about 2 Tbsp  aminos or tamari, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, drizzle with toasted sesame oil, and serve.  

My youngest, though not a picky eater, has developed an aversion to coconut aminos.  The rest of us add the aminos to our individual servings, and he eats his with rice vinegar instead.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Pesto Turkey Burgers

 Disclaimer:  I am not a food photographer.  After making dinner for my family of six, I'm more interested in eating than lighting and staging.  However, I recently started using Pinterest as a virtual recipe box, and a picture is necessary for a pin.

A recipe for basil-zucchini turkey patties served as my inspiration, but I thought that the addition of zucchini spread the pesto flavors too thin.

1 cup packed fresh basil
1/4 cup packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
olive oil to drizzle
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 - 1 1/2 lbs. ground turkey 

In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients except the turkey with enough olive oil (sometimes I use some water as well) to form a coarse paste.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix the pesto into the turkey by hand and form the meat into small to medium-sized burgers. I layer the patties on a plate, separating the layers with waxed paper.

Grill the burgers, or fry them in a nonstick skillet, approximately 3 minutes per side. 

Double the recipe if serving more than six.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Leon Salad

 Serves 6 as main dish salad

3 heads romaine hearts, chopped, rinsed & dried
3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 pkg. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 c. garbanzo beans
1 c. black olives, sliced
1-2 pkg. salami (I use kitchen shears to cut the layered meat in strips and then into squares.)
Optional: mozzarella cubes  

fresh lemon juice, olive oil & black pepper to taste

Toss the salad ingredients in a large bowl and drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil to taste with black pepper if desired. 

I often make an individual serving of this salad for lunch, just eyeballing the amounts.