Category Archives: beyond the basics

Cook Once For Three Meals

plate with pork roast

Rebecca roasted a pork loin and used it in three delicious meals.

Can a family really cook once for three meals? 

After publishing our “Meal Planner,” my daughter and her good friend took up the challenge to see if they could cook once for use in three meals. They each were delighted to get several meals out of the main ingredient and did it for around $10 per meal. Continue reading

How to Read a Recipe

Do You read the Recipe or”Wing It?” by Don R

picture of a recipe box

Cooks often change the recipe to create a unique taste.

 It is said that experienced “cooks” do not need recipes. If they are not necessary, can anyone explain why there so many cookbooks on the Barnes and Nobel shelves?  The answer lies in how you view the cooking process and how much knowledge you have.

If you want to recreate the taste of someone’s entrée or side dish you will follow their recipe. Those who are not sure about how ingredients complement or detract from each other will also rely on recipes.

Our mission is to share ideas about using whole foods in creating meals. If you have little experience, we’ll share thoughts on how to read a recipe. Later, we will discuss ways to change recipes  to fit your needs. And finally, we’ll discuss how to create good tasting food without relying on recipes.

Recipes are merely a guide to get you started… and real chefs make the final choice on how it turns out. Continue reading

“Guilt-Free” Cookies…Almost

Bake these glutin-free cookies: soft and selicious.

Bake these gluten-free cookies: soft and delicious.

For people with special dietary needs, several sites offer cookie recipes using mashed bananas, oatmeal and nuts or dark chocolate chips. These cookies are packed with nutrients, gluten-free and non dairy. My grand-daughter tried our first batch of experimental cookies and said, “These cookies are soooooo good!” Need we say more?

Continue reading

Mom Says “Eat Your veggies.” Are they ready yet?

Mom Says, “Eat Your veggies.” Are they ready yet?

pic of cut vegetables

Plan to wash, cut and blanch veggies ahead of time. It saves time and energy when cooking dinner.

Yes, prepping fresh vegetables takes time and energy but The USDA recommends that 1/2 of your plate be filled with them. Some of us take pleasure in working with veggies and others are looking for ways to make it simpler. Usually we wash, cut and cook vegetables while assembling the rest of the meal which can be hectic sometimes. but, if you just prepare them ahead of time or include them in your total meal plan you can simplify cooking for dinner. Here are five ideas for including veggies in your plan. Continue reading

Apple Butter

picture of apples in trees

Apples are nutrient-rich and easy on the budget.

Good News! There are areas in the Pacific Northwest where apples have been protected from heavy frost. You can pick those with unblemished skin and make applesauce, apple butter or pies. Yes, they are past their peak crispness and flavor but they are fine for sauce. Be sure to wash, core and cook them right away.

A previous post has a recipe for applesauce and look for Ardis’s apple pie recipe coming soon. For “Apple Butter”  follow Gabriel’s recipe.gab-recipes It’s a simple condiment that is delicious with toast, steel-cut oats or on hotcakes .  


Apple Butter
Yields 3
A simple spread for toast or hotcakes.
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Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Prep Time
1 min
Cook Time
1 hr
  1. 3 C applesauce
  2. 1 C brown sugar
  3. pinch of cinnamon
  1. In a small saucepan, mix all the ingredients well,
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reduces, thickens, and darkens in color. This should take about an hour.
  3. When the mixture is thick enough to stick to a spoon without sliding off, it is done.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool in a shallow pan.
Family Meals Project