Mom’s Apple Pie

My mom learned how to make her famous crowd-pleasing apple pie from my grandmother. Our entire family loved it so much that every Thanksgiving my mom made both a pumpkin pie and an apple pie for us. What a woman! The first time I made her recipe, I was blown away by how time consuming it was, and I had to recruit help from my then college roommate to get it done. Of course, in those days I didn’t know how to cook. However, the results were well worth the effort, and I’m sure you’ll agree. This is one recipe that I did not change at all, because sometimes we just need to splurge a little. Besides, apples are healthy, and so very good for you, especially when they are baked in a pie. Crust: 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2/3 cup shortening 5 to 7 tablespoons...

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Not Your Nona’s Lasagna

I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting recipes. But when I saw a recipe for pumpkin and kale lasagna, I shuddered and moved on. However, it kept calling my name and I looked at it more closely. It certainly intrigued me. After all, I love pumpkin, and I love lasagna. I even love kale, with certain reservations. But the recipe was loaded with heavy and calorie-laden ingredients that seemed unnecessary, and kale sauteed in garlic added to pumpkin was too much for me to even think about. I had a few other misgivings as well, so I incorporated a few of my sneaky ninja moves, as well as substituted almond milk for whole milk to come up with something that might be palatable. One weekend afternoon, it was time to test it. However, before tying on my apron, I warned my husband...

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Chicken Dijon

I was going to name this recipe after my favorite mustard, Grey Poupon, but my husband advised me not to. He said that Poupon Chicken didn’t sound very appetizing, and I guess he had a point. After doing diligent research, I discovered that Grey Poupon is a dijon mustard and has a small amount of white wine in it. No wonder why I like it so much. I also learned that the word poupon means little baby, or baby doll. Who knew cooking could be so educational?  I used a few of my ninja tricks to combine a few recipes, cut what I didn’t like, kept what I thought would work, used my imagination, and came up with a variation on a theme. So here it is, my Chicken Dijon, and Poupon too! 6 thinly sliced chicken breast fillets (I buy them already sliced thin. No need to pull out my sharp...

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Cranberry Sweet Potato Bread

I’m not much into baking, but I sure do love whipping up a fresh and tasty tea bread. I also love cooking with cranberries. Fresh, not canned. Of course. When fresh cranberries start appearing in the produce section of the grocery store, I buy out the store and stock up my freezer. Yep, you can freeze cranberries for up to six months, although I have been known to keep them in the freezer for up to a year, and they haven’t killed me yet. I found this recipe with fresh cranberries and sweet potatoes so many years ago that the cookbook is literally falling apart. Although I loved the bread, I was totally bummed out by the amount of sugar in the recipe. Sweet potatoes (or yams) are certainly sweet enough on their own. So, I took out my handy dandy Ninja knives and started cutting...

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Magic Mandarin Cranberry Sauce

Since the holidays are right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about preparing our holiday meals. Which, of course, includes the inevitable side dish of cranberry sauce. And I don’t mean the canned gelatinous stuff that some of us grew up with, although that was probably the only way we would eat it. I’m talking about the real deal, homemade cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries. When my mother stopped serving the canned stuff and started making her own, I thought it was a minor miracle. Whoever thought such magic was possible? But then I discovered how much sugar she used. Well, that explained why it tasted so good. I pulled out my ninja knives to cut the sugar content, and after much experimentation, I came up with a recipe using those cute little mandarin...

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Perfectly Satisfying Pumpkin Soup

The first time I ever heard of pumpkin soup, my knee jerk reaction was, “Ewe, pumpkin soup???” And then I tasted it. It was delicious. Nothing warms the heart and soul like soup does, and it sure hits the spot on a cold winter day. Especially when it’s snowing outside, which it did for three days straight last week, giving me the perfect opportunity to putter around my kitchen. I had a can of pumpkin in my pantry that had been staring me in the face for months, and it was time to set it free. I found a recipe for pumpkin soup in an old cookbook, and true to form, I used my ninja skills to cut the bad stuff and include some healthier options, like decreasing the amount of butter and substituting the whole milk (ack!) for unsweetened almond milk. It was delicious! And, here...

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Sunshine Beet Salad

I love beets. My husband, not so much. But I don’t know what to do with them when I buy them. Until recently, when I found myself at a Farmer’s Market looking at a beautiful basket of yellow beets. They seemed to be calling my name, and since my husband wasn’t around to stop me, I bought a small bunch. When I caught up with my husband, he asked me what I had in the bag. I avoided his eyes. “Beets,” I muttered. He got a very guarded look on his face before he asked the obvious question. “And what are you going to do with them?” “Darned if I know,” I replied. But I knew I’d think of something, or these lovely golden beauties would end up like all of the other beets I buy. Shriveled up in the compost. I didn’t want that to happen,...

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Peachy Keen

Ahhhh, it’s late summer and in Colorado its Palisade peach harvest time. If you’ve never had a Palisade peach you just don’t know what you’re missing. The hot days and cool nights of Colorado make it a perfect growing environment for these delectable delights, making them sweet, juicy, and delicious. However, the harvest season is short, so I have a tendency to over-purchase. As a result, a lot of my peaches are sacrificed. What a waste! A few days ago I looked at my huge box of peaches, some of which were already starting to over-ripen, and I decided to try my hand at freezing some of them. Looking online, I found several different methods for freezing peaches, some including adding (ack!) sugar and/or artificial preservatives. Nuh-uh. Not for my peaches! They should...

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Fabulous Frozen Dessert

I’m not a huge fan of desserts, but lately I have been craving a frozen dessert that my mother used to make when my sisters and I were a lot younger, and before we worried about silly things like our weight. I didn’t have the recipe, but fortunately one of my sisters did. Yay! Frozen dessert time! Then I looked at the ingredients. Sour cream, maraschino cherries, canned pineapple, and Cool Whip, just to name a few. YIKES! So, I used my ninja knives and a few ninja skills to cut out the bad stuff and see if I could make this delicious dessert more palatable to my health-conscious mind. Substituting Greek yogurt for sour cream, whipped coconut cream for Cool Whip, and using fresh cherries and pineapple worked like a ninja hiding in plain sight. Oh, and I completely eliminated the...

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Summertime…..and The Grilling Is Easy

Ahhhh….summertime, and the living is easy. And so is the grilling. I don’t know about you, but I do get a little bored with burgers and steaks on the grill. Sometimes I want (and need) something that’s lighter, but still tasty and satisfying. Fish on the grill is always an option, but let’s face it–living in Denver makes us a bit land-locked, and finding fresh fish choices is a challenge. And, since my husband and I don’t grill it very often, we never get it right. Which leaves me cooking it in the oven, and NOT something I want to do in the heat of the summer. Presuming, of course, that summer will eventually get here. A significant concern, since we got over 2 feet of snow in the high country on the first day of summer. However, a few weeks ago I hit...

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