Cast Iron Pizza





I made pizza in cast iron pans tonight. They were amazing, if I do say so myself. Here’s the recipe I used. Just a note: I made the dough at noon and put the pizzas in the oven at 530, I hear it’s even better if you let it go overnight.


Filed under: Food

Watermelons and Cantaloupes

At our parish, there is a gentleman who attends the vigil Mass every weekend. We see him and exchange pleasantries when we are also at the same Mass. In the summer, he sometimes has a pick-up truck bed full of watermelons and cantaloupes. Last week we grabbed a few and really enjoyed them. This weekend we were the last to leave the church (there weren’t many people there because of the 4th of July) and he said to take as much as we wanted. Thirteen cantaloupes and five watermelons later, we were on our way home.


Just a note that we also have a part of a watermelon in the fridge and another whole one from last weekend. I’m thankful that we won’t have to buy fruit for a few weeks…and that cantaloupe freezes.

Filed under: Food

Free Coconut Oil!

I’m popping in to let you all know about a great deal Tropical Traditions is having on Virgin Coconut oil!

If you buy $12.99 worth of items from the, you can also order a quart of virgin coconut oil for and get it for free. I like free. I also like the virgin coconut oil. This stuff smells great and adds a nice hint of coconut to dessert (brownies, wow!) or to fried shrimp. It is also nice to use as a moisturizer, no really, it does work. Just a little goes a long way.

If you click on the link below you can place and order and try it out today, I also get a little something from Tropical Traditions for referring new customer, so if you do order, would you consider doing it through my link? Thanks!

Filed under: Food


I made a tiramisu for our parish supper last night. (No pictures, sorry! Some day I’ll get better at taking them.) I actually had people compliment me on it and at least two requests for the recipe I used. So here you go:

Beth’s Tiramisu

  • 1 Sponge cake (I used the recipe here*, I used fresh milled soft white wheat and sucanat for the flour and sugar,it worked well.)
  • 16 oz of ricotta cheese
  • 1.5 cups of whipping cream
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups of strong coffee (I put in twice the amount of coffee)
  • 2 tablespoons Rum/Kahlua/Espresso Vodka (totally optional)
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa powder

When I made the cake, I baked it in a 9 x 13 pan. This recipe will make two 8 x 8 tiramisus. 

Step 1: Place the cake on a cutting board and cut evening in half (so you will have two 9 x 6.5 pieces) then split those in half, so you will end up with four 9 x 6.5 pieces.) Place the one piece in the bottom of each of your 8 x 8 pans. You will need to trim the side a bit to make them fit. Take that extra piece and use it to fill in the gap on the 6 inch side.

Step 2: Brush cakes with coffee (I use more coffee on this layer, and let it sit longer, so I’d say use 3/4 cup on each base cake, it will soak in.) If you are using any sort of liquor in your tiramisu, add it to the coffee before brushing it on the cakes.

Step 3: While the cakes are soaking up the coffee, place the ricotta and whipping cream a bowl (I use my stand mixer with the whisk attachment) and beat until incorporated, then add the powdered sugar. Beat until it is thick, but make sure not to over beat.

Step 4: Put 1/4 of the filling on each cake bases and smear it around to cover, it doesn’t need to be pretty, but you want to make sure it is a nice thick layer, so use more filling if you need to.

Step 5: Place the second cake layer on top and brush the rest of the coffee, the add the rest of the filling and spread around to cover.

Step 6: Place the cakes in the fridge at this point and let chill for at least 4 hours, but I’d say 12 hours is the best.

Step 7: Just prior to serving, remove from the fridge and using a fine mess sifter/strainer, sprinkle cocoa powder onto the tiramisu.

Step 8: Scoop out a serving and place in a bowl. Share if you must.


This seems to be a somewhat complicated recipe, but the hardest part is making the cake, and that can be down a day or two in advance as well.  While I don’t always recommend starting out with a packaged good, I will say I have made this with a Sara Lee pound cake and it was also very good.

What about that other one you made at the same time? Well, I read that you can freeze them, so I put the other one in my freezer (it’s Lent folks, let’s not get crazy here). I’ll let you know how it is unthawed in a few weeks. Until then, you can always half the recipe. (I’d suggest making the whole cake then freezing the part you don’t use, cake freezes and thaws beautifully.)

*I found Woodland Bakery a few days ago and have been watching the videos to get tips on baking. I’m going to say that Gretchen (the baker) is very good at explaining the ins and outs of baking. I’d compare her to Alton Brown in terms of teaching, minus the sock puppets. The nice thing about her sponge cake is that the eggs are whipped together, none of this separating, whipping the egg whites, then folding them back in business. I like to cook but to be honest, that’s a step I’d rather skip.

One more thing: Yes, I call it Beth’s Tiramisu because I created this particular recipe. I’m going to own it.


Filed under: Food

Feasting with the Bridegroom I

Yesterday we feasted while the Bridegroom was with us. After Mass we had eggs with bacon, potatoes and cheese, then worked on cracking some pecans for a cookie bar later. (Oh and watched the Red Wings lose.)

Later in the day some friends came over and we did burgers on the grill. We make our burgers small, so you can eat two, with different toppings if you’d like. The burgers were served on homemade buns with a side of grilled asparagus (1.19 for a huge bunch, it was such an awesome deal that we stopped and picked up more). Our friends brought chips with them. I ate Doritos for the first time in a long time, they weren’t as horrible as I remember. However, I’m thinking I mostly remember them as a snack along side of a pop, gross.

I made a pecan cookie bar for dessert, short bread crust and a sort of pecan pie topping. We are really blessed to have five pecan trees in our yard, it makes adding them to recipes simple and well, free.

On Saturday, we organized the snack cabinet and cleared out a lot of the older snacks we’ve had up there. I also baked the rest of the cookie dough I had made earlier in the week, so after dinner we ate the old snacks with the cookies. The kids get sweet so seldom that they’ll enjoy anything, including the (ew gross) stale fortune cookies we had.

Filed under: Food, General Stuff

Lenten Food Update II

Last night we went to Mass (which was followed by Stations of the Cross, Confession and Adoration, nice) so I needed to make something that could be made ahead of time but eaten as soon as we got home. Tuna casserole fits the bill for that need perfectly.

My tuna casserole was a bit iffy when I took it out of the oven, but it had set up better when we got back home. I know now that I didn’t cook my white sauce long enough and I used a cheaper cheese, so it was a bit oily, but it still tasted nice, so it was a win.

I started with making the pasta. If you haven’t made your own, it is worth the little extra effort. I started with two cups of durum wheat, but I’ve made it before with all purpose flour. In the end I had three cups of flour and I mixed that with four eggs, a quarter cup of olive oil, and water to pull it all together. I let my dough hook do the work and kneaded it in the bowl for 5 minutes, then I let it rest for another 20. I rolled it out pretty thin then using a pizza cutter, I cut it into 2 inch by 1/2 inch pieces (give or take).

Cooking them is simple, about 5 minutes in boiling water, then strain. I do it in batches, because overloading the pot could cause them to stick. I just pull the cooked ones out with a slotted spoon.

Once those are done, put them in a grease 9 x 13 pan and move on to make the white sauce. (I didn’t mean to turn this post into a recipe, but I guess it is!)

The white sauce is pretty easy, but it takes a bit of time to get the hang of it. It is something that needs to be practiced when someone is around to watch the kids, so you can focus 100% on it. However, once you get the hang of it, you can do it in your sleep. (just don’t rush the cooking like I did!) Alton Brown has a great recipe for mac and cheese and it is what I use for my tuna casserole, then I put it two cans of tuna in and bake according to the recipe.

I also put a bit of cheese over top when I have extra.

For today, the garage wasn’t worked on so I did more of a clean out the fridge meal day. Joshua made a nice beef-veggie soup with the left over pot roast from Sunday. We ate it for lunch and dinner, adding wheat berries to the dinner portion, and served it with Ezekiel bread.

Tomorrow is burgers on the grill, I can taste them now!


Filed under: Food, General Stuff

Lenten Meal Plan

This year, I have been working on ways to make my grocery budget less of the “I have no idea what I’m spending each month” and more of the “I have $X to spend on groceries this month and this is what I did with it” type.

As we were nearing the season of Lent, I was thinking of meals we could have that would be simple, filling, nutritious, and inexpensive. I also had the realization that if I refuse to buy meat if it is over $3.50/pound (and that’s for a nice beef roast, I only buy on sale), that spending $9.99/pound on shrimp was not going to keep with the simple and inexpensive part of my plan.

Yesterday, I sat down with a calendar an now I have the next six weeks (plus Easter) planned out for our meals. My plan is (don’t hold me to it if I get caught up in the day to day) is to follow up this post with the recipes for the meals if the recipe turns out well.


  • March 6: Salad with shredded chicken, hard boiled eggs, and home made dressing. (This will be served with Ezekiel bread, a recipe I will be trying to day after I pick up the co-op order.)
  • March 7: Tuna casserole, served with a salad on the side. We have stations of the cross in the evening, so this will be made early in the day and reheated for after we get home.
  • March 8: Leftovers or burgers, if friends come to help work on the garage/barn roof. Burgers will be served with the usual toppings.
  • March 9: Burgers (fresh if we don’t have friends over, leftovers if they do, but done differently for a not-so-leftovers feel).
  • March 10: Cheesy potato casserole, with a salad side.
  • March 11: Spring vegetable soup, served with bread on the side.
  • March 12: Leftovers
  • March 13: Veggie and bean burritos.
  • March 14: Tuna melts on fresh bread.
  • March 15: Ham and beans made with the frozen ham juice/bone in the freezer.
  • March 16: Lemon swai and a nice salad.
  • March 17: Leftovers
  • March 18: Mexican bean chowder served with homemade tortillas
  • March 19: (Feast of St. Jospeh) Baked chicken, Brussels sprouts, fresh bread and a dessert.
  • March 20: Eggsketti
  • March 21: Egg salad sandwiches with fresh veggies.
  • March 22: Meatloaf, cheesy rice casserole, salad, birthday cake (it’s Scholastica’s first brithday!)
  • March 23: Lasagna
  • March 24: Leftovers
  • March 25: (Annunciation) Corned beef and cabbage, carrots, and potatoes, with a dessert.
  • March 26: Corned beef sandwiches (with an attempted rye bread made by me)
  • March 27: Minestrone soup
  • March 28: Leftovers
  • March 29: Dinner out to celebrate Scholastica’s baptism day (on the 30th)
  • March 30: Dinner with friends.
  • March 31: Potato soup with bread
  • April 1: Onion Soup with toasted bread
  • April 2: Chicken salad sandwiches with leftover soups.
  • April 3: Mac and cheese with a salad.
  • April 4: Tuna melts with fresh veggies.
  • April 5: Homemade pizza
  • April 6: Baked chicken, cheesy rice, salad.
  • April 7: Spicy tomato and chickpea soup
  • April 8: Leftovers
  • April 9: Fresh pasta with olive oil and cheese, big salad with chicken.
  • April 10: Eggs in purgatory
  • April 11: Egg salad sandwiches, cheese and veggies
  • April 12: Leftovers
  • April 13: (Palm Sunday) Burgers, chips, salad, dessert.
  • April 14: Leftovers
  • April 15: Tuna casserole with a salad
  • April 16: Leftovers
  • April 17: (Holy Thursday) Menu still being worked out, lamb being discussed. 🙂
  • April 18: (Good Friday, a day of fasting) Egg salad sandwiches, veggies.
  • April 19: (Holy Saturday) Clean out the fridge leftovers.

Breakfasts will be from a list of:

Eggs, toast, granola, yogurt, oatmeal, fresh fruits (Bacon or sausage on Sundays)

Lunch will be from a list of:

Cottage cheese, cheese, fruit/veggies, bread, Ezekiel bread,

Water (with lemon) will be the drink for most meals, with milk being served once a day.

Snacks will be offered twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon and will be a piece of fruit or a vegetable (usually carrots).

Notes: If not listed, a salad will be offered for most meals as well as bread or Ezekiel bread.

* For those interested, Easter Sunday we may be eating Beef Wellington, maybe. 🙂

** I usually make enough food for leftovers and for Joshua’s lunch, leftovers sometimes take over my fridge, which is why we have them a lot. They are particularly helpful on Mondays and Wednesdays as the big kids have violin at dinner time.

***If you are looking for a cheap snack for your kids, carrots are the way to go. We go through five pounds a week.

****We also have chickens and get at least a dozen of eggs a day, that is why we eat a lot of eggs.

Filed under: Catholic, Food, General Stuff

Pressure Cooker Italian Beef



I didn’t know if it could be done, but did discover today that one can make Italian beef in the pressure cooker. My original plan was to put it in the oven and make it this afternoon, but Joshua suggested that I try it out in the pressure cooker. I wasn’t too keen on the idea as I had made pulled pork in it last weekend, but still needed to finish it off in the crock pot, to help shred it, but I decided to give it a try.

To start, I cut a four pound beef roast into six pieces, browned them in the pressure cooker (lid off, just using it like a regular pan) in a bit of olive oil. (Yes I know, cooking in OO is not great, but it was the closest bottle to my hands at that moment.) I browned the meat in batches, then when they were done, I removed the meat and added onions to the pan and sauteed them. When they were partially cooked, I added the chopped garlic and cooked them for about two minutes, then added the juice from the peperoncini as well as the vinegar, and brought that to a boil.

I added the meat back to the pot, added the basil, oregano, peperoncini, salt, pepper, and bay leaf, the put the lid on the cooker and after it was brought to pressure, cooked it for 50 minutes. When the 50 minutes was up (total time from putting the lid on to the meat being done was about an hour and a half.) I cooled the pot and Joshua shredded the meat for me. I put the lid back on, not clamped on, as I just wanted the meat to stay warm while I until the bread was done cooking.




2 T Olive Oil
4 lb beef shoulder roast, but in to six pieces
1 medium onion, cut in half, then sliced
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
16 oz jar of mild peperoncini (juice and all)
1/2 cup vinegar
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
5 grinds of fresh black pepper
salt to taste (I used about 2 tsp.)
2 bay leaf

1. Heat the pressure cooker over medium heat and add the olive oil. When the olive oil is hot, add the beef to brown, working in batches.

2. Once all the beef is done, remove it from the cooker then add the onions, stirring until partially cooked, then add the garlic, cook for two minutes.

3. Add the liquid from the peperoncini as well as the vinegar to the pot and bring to a boil.

4. Once the juice and vinegar start boiling, add the spices and peperoncini, put the beef back in and give a quick stir to coat the meat, the lock on the lid.

5. Bring to pressure over medium heat and once pressure is reached, cook for 50 minutes.

6. When the time is up, use the quick release method (aka run it under cold water), remove lid, then shred the beef. Add the beef back to the pot with the cooking liquid. Serve on warm buns.

This recipe makes about 10 servings.

Filed under: Food, General Stuff

Graham Cookies

Wow, are these good!

Just over a year ago, we started grinding wheat berries into flour at home. After a year of cookie failures or resorting to using store flour, for my cookies, I finally found a recipe I love. I’ve adapted it from the recipe for Graham Crackers from Food Doodles. This recipe is also dairy free and egg free.


Fresh Milled Flour Graham Cookies  

  • 2 cups freshly milled hard white flour *
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 C coconut oil **
  • 1/4 C honey
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1/4 C brown sugar (I use sucanat)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp milk(I’ve used water in place of milk, no problems)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees then line two baking pans with parchment or a liner. (I’ve actually gotten these onto one cookie sheet, as they don’t spread much.)

In your main mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Next melt the honey and the coconut oil together, then add the molasses, vanilla, and milk (or water.) Stir to combine, then add to the dry mixture, using a fork or spoon to combine. It takes about two minutes for it to go from a crumbly mess to something cohesive, so be sure to stir well. If it seems too dry, add a bit more water.

Using a teaspoon (or a small cookie scoop) drop on to the prepared cookie sheets for, then press down with your fingers, or the bottom of a glass. I sometimes sprinkle with cinnamon and sucanat.

This recipe usually makes two dozen, sometimes more or less, depending on size of your scoop or snitching by little fingers.


*I get my wheat berries from the local Bread Becker co-op and grind them at home. The main store is in Atlanta and you can go and get freshly milled wheat. (and ask a zillion questions about freshly milled wheat vs all purpose flour vs whole wheat flour from the grocery store.)

**I get my coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, by the five gallon bucket (when they have free shipping.)

Filed under: Food