Tag Archives: recipes

Funny the things you grow up with and the things you don’t. In my house growing up I don’t ever remember my mother making any sort of Chex Mix at Christmas, she made other things such as delicious Christmas cookies which we loved to decorate. In the collection of recipes my mother-in-law gave me when I was to be married was a recipe for “Snax Mix” which I think I have made every year since I received it! It is so much a tradition in our family that my daughter says it isn’t Christmas without the Snax Mix! I usually make several batches and give them away to friends and neighbors.

One of the containers I use to package up this Snax Mix is coffee cans. I collect them over the year and even have my mom saving them for me. I wrap a piece of wrapping paper around the can, put a bow on the top and it’s an instant Christmassy package. Very easy and very inexpensive!

coffee cans, inexpensive gift container

Coffee cans transformed!

coffee cans, gift wrap, prudent living

Wrapping paper can transform an ordinary coffee can.

Here is the recipe for Snax Mix. I’ve changed it ever so slightly to add more cereal, I figure adding more cereal without increasing the butter mix means it’s less fattening!

dried cereal, snack mix, munchies

Cereals are placed in a large roasting pan.


pretzels, dried cereal, snack mix

All ingredients combined.

Snax Mix

½ lb butter (2 sticks)
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp celery salt
1 tsp onion salt
½ tsp garlic salt
4 cups popped corn (1/2 cup un-popped popcorn)
2 cups unsalted nuts
4 cups cheerios
3 cups rice chex
3 cups corn chex
2 cups wheat chex
2 cups bite size-shredded wheat
Pretzel sticks
Mini bagel chips (optional)

Melt butter over low heat and add Worcestershire, celery salt, onion salt and garlic salt. Stir until combined. Place the popcorn, nuts, cereals, pretzels and mini bagel chips in a large roasting pan and pour the butter mix over; stir to make sure everything is coated. Bake 2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring every so often. Let cool and keep in an airtight container. I insert a plastic bag in the cleaned coffee can and then fill with the snax mix.

coffee can wrapped, gift idea

Snax mix in coffee can ready for gifting.

snack mix, gift ideas

The finished product, ready for snacking!


Linked to: HomegrownOnTheHill

Remember those candied nuts I made earlier this week? They are a wonderful addition to this Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad. This will be served with what we’ll be eating on Christmas Day, I’m sure it is destined to become a family favorite!


1 head of spinach or about 10 oz of fresh salad greens
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1-2 pears, thinly sliced
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled
½ cup candied pecans or walnuts (see Tuesday’s blog for recipe!)
1 avocado, cubed (optional)
¼ cup dried cranberries (optional)


¼ cup maple syrup
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¾ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp ground pepper

salad, recipes, pears, lettuce

Layer the sliced pears on the lettuce.

Layer the greens, onion, pears, blue chees and, pecans. Add avocado or dried cranberries as desired. Blend the dressing ingredients together in a blender. Pour over the salad just before serving.


candied pecans, pear, salad

Candied pecans on the top of the salad.

Linked To: HearthandSoulHop, FatTuesday, TheGatheringSpot

A few weeks ago I wrote about wheat berries. There are actually two types of wheat: hard and soft. The key difference between them is protein content. Where wheat is grown can determine protein content: Northwestern US and western Canada produce a hard wheat that’s very high in protein, while the southern US states grow a softer wheat with less protein. It is the protein that contains the gluten that allows bread and other baked goods to rise. Hard wheat is best for making breads and rolls. Since soft white wheat flour contains less protein it is typically used to create the buttery, crumbly texture associated with piecrusts, biscuits and cakes. Soft wheat flour intended for baking is often labeled pastry flour or cake flour, according to its primary use.

wheat berries, soft wheat, hard wheat, flour

Hard wheat berries (left), soft wheat berries (right).

wondermill grain mill, electric grain mill

My new WonderMill electric grain mill.

I recently purchased a new electric gain mill, the WonderMill. This will actually be an item that will be carried in the Prudent Living Market. I used it to grind some soft wheat berries and make a quiche. The result was delicious, the only flour I used was the flour ground from the soft wheat berries, it lived up to its reputation, the crust was buttery and flaky.

The recipe I used was a basic pie crust recipe:

¼ cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup of flour
Dash of salt
Up to 3 Tbsp of cold water, milk or buttermilk (I used buttermilk)

I used a pastry cutter to cut together the butter and flour until they were a uniform substance resembling coarse corn meal, then I added the salt.

pie crust, flour, butter, prudent pantry

Flour and butter cut together until fairly uniform.

Stirring with a fork I added the buttermilk until the dough stuck to itself. You can chill the dough to roll out later or you can roll it immediately and then chill the formed crust. This is what I did. While the crust was chilling I made the filling.

pastry dough, pie crust, whole wheat flour

Pie crust formed.

There are three more steps to making a quiche before you can bake it. These are: the cheese, the filling and the custard.The cheese – your first layer, by putting the cheese in first it forms a moisture resistant barrier between the filling and the crust, thus helping to keep the crust from getting soggy. You can use any type of cheese (Swiss types and cheddar work well), ¼ – ⅓ pound. I used ¼ cup of grated Swiss cheese.

The filling – here you can use your creativity.  Spinach steamed with sautéed onions, mushrooms sautéed with scallions, tomato slices with crumbled bacon. I used leeks and spinach, which I cooked together. Layer this on top of your cheese.

The custard – beat together 3 eggs and 1 cup of milk (or 4 eggs and 1 ½ cup milk if you are using a larger pie pan). Pour it over the filling. I also sliced some grape tomatoes and placed them on top. Bake 35-40 minutes at 375 degrees. The result was wonderful and the soft wheat berries made a delicious flaky crust.

quiche, spinach, leek, tomato

Quiche ready to go in the oven.

quiche, homemade, vegetable, leek, spinach

Cooked quiche ready to eat.

cheese, Swiss cheese

Shredded cheese on top of crust.

vegetables, quiche, spinach, leek

Spinach and leek filling is placed on top of the cheese.



nuts, homemade candied pecans, recipes, prudent living, frugal tips

Ingredients for candied pecans.

Candied nuts make a great DIY gift, are a delicious, portable snack and are wonderful on salads! Here are a few recipes for a no-fail method for a crunchy, toothsome treat but secretly cost you only minutes in the kitchen! If you have a membership to a food club like Costco or BJ’s I would suggest stocking up on a large bag of nuts. My favorites are peanuts or pecans. Almonds and cashews also work well. You can make spiced nuts or sweetened nuts depending on whether you are using cinnamon and sugar or other spices such as cayenne pepper and garlic salt. Try a few this holiday season, make them to enjoy as a family or give away as gifts! Friday I will be giving you another recipe using candied nuts, a delicious pear and blue cheese salad!

Candied Pecans

1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 pound of pecans or walnut halves or pieces
⅓ – ½ cup sweetened (I used ⅓ cup maple syrup)
Pinch of salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla

Beat egg white together with water until it becomes stiff and fluffy. Fold in sweetener, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Add pecans and toss to coat. Spread out on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour, rotating every 15 minutes.

Spicy Cashews

4 cups roasted cashews
¼ cup butter
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ Tbsp. cayenne pepper
½ Tbsp. garlic salt
½ Tbsp. red pepper (optional)

Preheat an oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. Set nuts aside. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the remaining ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and butter mixture. Toss until the nuts are thoroughly coated. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Serve warm or let cool and store in an airtight container.

Honey-Roasted Peanuts

4 cups peanuts
2 Tbsp. butter
⅓ cup honey
½ tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. salt
⅓ cup superfine or baking sugar

Preheat an oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner. In a small saucepan over medium heat melt the butter. Add the honey, vanilla and 1 tsp. salt and stir until combined. In a large bowl, combine the nuts and honey-butter mixture. Toss thoroughly to coat the nuts. Spread the nuts onto the baking sheet and bake 20-25 minutes or until browned, stirring every 5 minutes.

Remove the nuts from the oven and stir and sprinkle generously and evenly with the sugar and remaining salt, shaking pan as you go to coat the nuts completely. Let cool, then stir once more, breaking up any large chunks. Store in an airtight container.

Friday is one of my favorite days in writing my blog. I love going through my recipes and deciding which one I’ll be sharing. Sometimes this takes a while as I have a lot of favorite recipes. Many years ago when I was engaged to be married one of the best presents I received was a collection of recipes from my mother-in-law. As a young bride with not a lot of cooking experience it was wonderful to start out married life with a collection of tried and true recipes, many of which were favorites of my husband!

An all time favorite, which I have been making for the last 30 years, is a recipe for Sour Cream Chocolate Bit Cake. This is an easy recipe that can be put together in a matter of minutes; just remember to put your butter in a bowl to soften. It is so delicious warm from the oven! It is also a perfect addition to lunch boxes. Enjoy!!

Now here is my confession! When I went to make this cake I realized I didn’t have any sour cream in the house and I really didn’t want to make the twenty minute drive to the nearest store so I looked up substitutions and found I could use yogurt instead along with an extra teaspoon of baking powder. The result was delicious and probably a healthier version but it didn’t rise as high and all the chocolate chips sunk to the bottom of the cake. Hence the flat looking cake in the pictures! I’ll have to show you a picture of the cake using sour cream another time, or make it yourself and see how beautiful it comes out!

Sour Cream Chocolate Bit Cake

6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup and 1 Tbsp sugar
2 eggs
1 ⅓ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sour cream
1 pkg (6oz) semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix butter with the 1 cup of sugar until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time. In another bowl stir together flour, baking soda and baking powder and cinnamon. Add to the butter mixture. Mix in sour cream.

Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 pan. Scatter chocolate chips evenly over the batter, and then sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbsp of sugar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until done.

Linked to: TheInspirationNetwork

Barley is another staple I like to keep in my pantry. According to Wikipedia barley is a versatile cereal grain. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base for malt for beer and certain distilled beverages and as a component of various health foods. It is also used in soups and stews and can even be used in bread! There are two kinds of barley, two row and six row. Two row barley has a lower protein content. I love adding barley to soups and stews. Pearl barley refers to covered barley that has been processed to remove the tough inedible outer hull and then pearled or polished. Barley may be pearled to varying degrees and labeled as regular, fine or pearl. Pearl barley is available in several forms; however, kernels or berries are the most common. Pearl barley may also be purchased flaked, cut or ground. It has a rich nutlike flavor and an appealing chewy, pasta-like consistency. Its appearance resembles wheat berries. Barley’s claim to nutritional fame is based on its being a very good source of fiber and selenium, and a good source of phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Storing barley is very easy. Pearled barley can be kept at room temperature for a longer time since most of the oils which could go rancid have already been removed. It should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, in warmer months it should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. If refrigerated or frozen in an airtight container, raw/uncooked badly may be stored for about 6 months.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the TasteOfHome.com website. It makes a nice big pot of soup and freezes well. Perfect for those cold winter nights. Make a salad to go with it and you’ll have a complete meal!

Cobb Hill Barley Soup

1 pound chicken or turkey Italian sausage
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, sliced
4 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (15 ounces each) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup medium pearl barley
1 large carrot, sliced
1 celery rib, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
6 cups chopped fresh kale

In a Dutch oven, cook sausage and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the broth, beans, tomatoes, barley, carrot, celery, sage and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir in kale; return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until vegetables are tender and kale is wilted.

Makes about 3 quarts of soup.


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