Monday, November 24, 2014

Breakfast: Toads in a Hole

The first time we made these was a number of years ago for our daughter and her friends when she had a sleep over for her birthday. This is a pretty easy and quick recipe that is more fun for people to eat than just eggs with a side of bread. Currently, our daughter gets this made for her every morning for breakfast. She'll even eat the crusts on the bread on these (which she doesn't do for sandwiches.)

1 Tbsp butter (more as needed)
Sliced Bread
Salt, Pepper, or other seasonings for the egg


  1. Cut 1.5 - 2 inch circle in the bread.
  2. Melt butter over medium/medium-high heat until hot (ie, crackling.)
  3. Put bread into the butter and begin to fry. After butter has soaked in the bottom side and is reasonably firm, flip bread.
  4. a.  If you want a scrambled type egg, crack egg into a bowl, and scramble. Add seasoning such as salt, pepper, or your preference. (Generally use 1 egg for 1 - 2 bread slices.) Pour scrambled egg into center of bread. If you are trying for perfection (or have multiple slices you are making), fill only the hole. If you have 1 slice and 1 egg, allow egg to pour over onto the bread. b. If want an egg with yolk, crack egg directly into center of bread. Again, if you a striving for perfection, get the yolk and just a little white into the center. If you want to use the entire egg, allow the white to spill over onto the bread.
  5. Once the lower side is cooked, the toast is brown and the egg is firm, flip the toast again to cook the other side of the egg and toast the bread.


  • You can fry up the centers of the toast in butter as well, or you can give it to the dogs (which is our dogs' preferred option.)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Watergate Salad

This was an absolute favorite of mine growing up. My mother served it at Holiday dinners. The husband says it was served at potlucks where he grew up. Much to my disappointment, neither the husband nor the kids like it. However, items that were favorites of one person get to go in the Codex even if no one else likes it. Who knows? Maybe it will grow on them. 

2 pkg (4 serving size each) Pistachio flavor instant pudding & pie filling
2 cans (20 oz each) crushed pinapple in juice, undrained
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 cup chopped pecans
3 cups (8 oz tub) Cool Whip whipped topping

  1. Mix dry pudding mix, pineapple, marshmallows, and pecans in large bowl until well blended.  Gently stir in whipped topping; cover.  
  2. Refrigerate 1 hr or until ready to serve.

  • Makes 16 servings of 1/2 cup each.  
  • 195 Calories per serving.
  • Prep 15 min.  
  • Total 1 hr. 15 min (including refrigeration)
  • The above recipe is doubled. If you read the recipe on the Jell-O Pistachio box, the ratios are half the ones given above.

This can be made vegan to a very good likeness. Above, you'll see I used Dandies Mini Marshmallows, and So Delicious CocoWhip for the two non-vegan items in the ingredients list. Everything else is the same. The CocoWhip gives a bit of a coconut flavor, but it is a really nice addition.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

To Die For Crockpot Roast

Of all the crockpot roasts we've made, this recipe is by far our favorite. It's a very tasty roast, and the roast just falls apart when it's done. The au jus can be used as well.

1 beef roast, any kind
1 package dried brown gravy mix
1 package dried Italian salad dressing mix
1 package dried ranch dressing mix
½  cup water

  1. Place beef roast in crockpot.  
  2. Mix the dried mixes together in a bowl and sprinkle over the roast.  
  3. Pour the water around the roast.  
  4. Cook on low 7-9 hours.
  • Serves 8. 
  • Time: 9 hours 5 minutes (5 min prep)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Traditional Mashed Potatoes

Because this blog is hopefully a resource for my kids when they move out of the house, I'm including things that are standard fare that we make so often we hardly think of a recipe or how to make them. So here is a pretty basic mashed potato recipe.

2 - 2.5 medium potatoes per person (5 for 2 people, 10 for 4 people, etc.)
1 - 2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
a few Tablespoons up to 1/4 cup of: heavy cream, 2% dairy milk, or almond milk
Seasonings: roasted garlic or garlic powder


  1. Peel potatoes, cut into 1-2 inch cubes, and place into pot. Cover with water.
  2. Heat over high heat until boiling.
  3. Reduce heat to keep a boil without boiling over. Cook about 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender with a fork.
  4. Drain potatoes and move to a bowl. Add butter and milk. Add any seasonings you would like.
  5. Using a stand mixer, hand mixer, or hand masher, mash the potatoes until smooth and creamy.
  • Using vegan butter and almond milk makes this a yummy vegan side. 
  • Adding some roasted garlic cloves (1 - 3) gives it a nice flavor. Use garlic powder instead if you need.
  • We used to add shredded cheddar cheese to make cheesy mashed potatoes, which guests just loved. Use maybe 1/2 cup of shredded cheese if making a dozen potatoes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Roast Beef with Gravy

Crockpot recipes are great for beef roasts. We used to make lots of crockpot beef roasts, back when they were much cheaper. 

1 boneless beef sirloin tip roast (4 lbs)
½ cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 envelope onion soup mix
1 brown gravy mix
2 cups cold water

  1. Cut roast in half; rub with ¼ cup flour. 
  2. Place in a 5-quart slow cooker. 
  3. In a bowl, combine soup and gravy mixes and remaining ¼ cup flour; stir in water until blended. 
  4. Pour over roast. Cover and cook on low 6-8+ hours (until meat is tender.) 
  5. Slice. Serve with hot mashed potatoes and gravy. 

Makes 10-12 servings.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Oat and Pecan Bread

Half this loaf was gone within a couple hours of putting it all together. This one is not vegan, but I plan to test some vegan substitutions with it this winter.


1/2 cup medium oatmeal
3/4 cup plain wheat flour
1/2 cup caster sugar (or baker's sugar)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp grated or ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg

For the topping:
3 tbsp roughly chopped pecans or walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut

half quantity of toffee sauce (see Toffee Sauce recipe)


  1. Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Pace the oatmeal in a medium bowl and cover with 5/8 cup hot water from the kettle. Stir until smooth then set aside to swell for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the flour, white and brown sugars, baking powder, salt cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. Heat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a loaf tin and line it with parchment paper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and vanilla extract together until soft and creamy. Beat in the egg, then add the thick oatmeal mixture a spoonful at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Using a spatula, quickly fold in the flour mixture until fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to the prepared tin and smooth over the surface, allowing it to dip slightly along the middle to give a more even rise. Bake for 1 hour or until golden and firm. Remove from  the oven and set aside to cool in the tin.
  5. Meanwhile, make the topping. Wait until the cake is cooling before making the topping. In a small saucepan, toast the chopped nuts until fragrant, then transfer to a heatproof mixing bowl to cool. Break up any very large flakes of coconut and add the to the nuts. Make the toffee sauce according to the instructions and stir it into the bowl of nuts.
  6. Spread the topping over the cake while still in the tin and leave to set. When completely cold, carefully remove the cake from the tin and serve.
  7. Notes: the pecan, coconut and toffee topping is optional. This recipe can be baked in muffin pans.
Serves 12

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Meals that didn't make it on second round

I'm making a bunch of stuff that was originally in the Recipe Codex (the Dropbox version) and then picking up things that need to be made as well. 

Braised Beef with CaramelizedOnions & Greens Chiffonade was good the first time, but this time, the vegan says no and the two kids were not impressed this time around, so out of the Codex it came.

I had a butternut squash to make, so I tried Cinnamon Roasted Butternut Squash.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Toffee Sauce

This recipe goes with an Oat and Pecan Bread, but since it is toffee, you can use it on anything that requires a toffee sauce. The photo is after it had sat for an hour or so, cooled, and thickened up quite a bit.


2 cups sugar
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
a pinch of salt
6 tbsp water
4 tbsp cream


  1. Combine sugar, cream of tartar, salt, and water in a large, heavy saucepan. 
  2. Place over a low heat and leave to cook, without stirring, for 2-5 minutes until some sugar begins to melt and turn golden. 
  3. Raise the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar has melted and the caramel is a deep golden color (or, more specifically the 300ºF 'hard crack' stage). 
  4. Pour cream slowly down the side of the pan, stirring constantly to combine. Transfer the sauce to a heatprof bowl and use as required.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Best Buttermilk Waffles

This is a recipe that makes only a few waffles, and is a little bit of work, creates a lot of dishes, but is quite yummy.


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ ts table salt
1 Tb cornmeal (optional)
1 ts baking soda
1 egg, separated
7/8 cup buttermilk
2 Tb unsalted butter, melted

  1. Heat waffle iron. 
  2. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. 
  3. Whisk yolk with buttermilk and butter.
  4. Beat egg white until it just holds a 2-inch peak.
  5. Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients in a thin steady stream while gently mixing with a rubber spatula; be careful not to add liquid faster than you can incorporate it. Toward end of mixing, use a folding motion to incorporate ingredients; gently fold egg white into batter.
  6.  Spread appropriate amount of batter onto waffle iron. Following manufacturer’s instructions, cook waffle until golden brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately. (You can keep waffles warm on a wire rack in a 200-degree oven for up to 5 minutes.)


  • Serves 3-4.