Rice Pudding: Honey-Sweetened, Whole Grain

A gluten-free, whole grain option for dessert (or breakfast), this brown rice and custard dish is lightly sweetened with honey. Leftover rice from a previous meal can be used; white rice can also be substituted. Makes 8 servings.



  • 5 c. milk (your choice whether low-fat or regular)
  • Approx. 11/2 c. cooked brown rice
  • 1 or 2 handfuls raisins
  • 2/3 c. honey
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 TBS. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg


1. Scald (or microwave for 10 min. or so), just until milk gets slightly foamy: > 5 c. milk (non-fat or your choice)

2. Prepare pan by sprinkling cooked rice and raisins over bottom of 12 x 8 ” pan: > approx. 1 1/2 c. cooked brown rice > 1 or 2 handfuls raisins

3. In a mixing bowl, stir well until blended: > 2/3 c. honey > 8 eggs > 1 TBS. vanilla > 1 tsp. salt

4. Add scalded milk to the bowl, blending until smooth. Pour over the pan of rice and raisins. Sprinkle  with nutmeg and cinnamon. Bake in a larger pan filled halfway up w/ water, at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Tortellini Salad: A Cold Pasta Salad, Great for Parties

This is a colorful cold pasta recipe, with a refreshing dressing of orange, lemon, and lime zest. Use raw veggies instead of cooked, if desired- saves time!


For variation, omit the citrus and Balsamic vinegar, adding some nutmeg, cream, and Parmesan to the dressing, to create a dish more like Pasta Primavera. Or sub extra veggies for pasta, to make a gluten-free side dish of veggies full of fresh, light flavors!

Perfect for parties; this pasta salad holds up well. Serves 8.


  • 1 lb. dry cheese tortellini pasta
  • 3-4 peeled carrots
  • 1-2 red peppers
  • 2 or so broccoli crowns
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • one lime, zested
  • one lemon, zested
  • half an orange, zested
  • fresh herbs, if desired (basil or oregano, etc.)
  • 1 TBS. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard


1. Cook: > 1 lb. dry cheese tortellini pasta

2. Drain the pasta, rinse to cool. Set aside in a colander.

3. Grill carrots in a pan with a splash of water until tender: > 3-4 peeled carrots, diced into cubes or sliced into discs

4. After water evaporates and carrots are tender, continue to grill them just a bit longer to bring out their natural sweetness, browning them some. (Add a splash of olive oil when browning.) Set carrots aside in colander, along with the cooled pasta.

5. Grill in very hot pan, just enough to sear and brown: > 1-2 red peppers, diced into larger pieces

6. Add grilled peppers to the colander.

7. Cut broccoli into small flowerettes. Steam quickly in very hot skillet with a splash of water (and with the lid on), for just one minute, removing from pan to cool. Use: > 2-3  broccoli crowns

8. In a mixing bowl, mix dressing ingredients together: > 1/3 c. olive oil > 1 tsp. salt > zest from one lime, one lemon, and half of an orange > fresh herbs, if desired (basil or oregano, etc.) > 1 TBS. balsamic vinegar > 1/2 TBS. Dijon mustard

9. Toss the pasta and veggies in with the dressing. Serve cold; great for potlucks and parties.

Under Pressure? Cook Good Things Fast w/Pressure Cookers!

I’m pretty jazzed about my new pressure cooker(from Amazon). I had found another one at an Ace Hardware Store a few months ago, but it actually cost more than Amazon, and Amazon has free shipping on this item (even without “Amazon Prime”). My fingers have done the walking, and they can type pretty fast. So a new, stainless steel, 8-qt. pressure cooker is on its way to my house. Whoo hoo!

Stainless Steel Pressure Cooker

Most of the deli girls we hire are young and less experienced, but not for long. Soon they find out what all we can do with our pressure cookers. We cook up a lot of stuff quite efficiently. Like, fresh garbanzo beans for salads. No canned garbs for us- they can be a little slimy. Plus it’s a smaller carbon footprint to buy dry beans and cook your own. No one has to ship those puppies to the factory to get cooked, then truck ’em off in cans that include a bunch of water. (You know it’s way cooler to get dry beans, right?!)

But that’s just beans. We make awesome stock with the pressure cooker too. For a special treat, we get free-range chickens; after roasting ’em and eating the best parts, we put the carcass in the pressure cooker and end up with an excellent stock. Some might call it “bone broth”. Either way, the pressure cooker is the way to go.

We have a huge pressure cooker from our old catering days, when we cooked up a -5-gallon pressure cooker full of turkeys. Weekly! It made incredible stock. So when we invested recently in a quarter of a grass-fed cow, it was pretty easy to roast the bones, then throw ’em into the giant pressure cooker. Sweet.

It might take a little longer in a smaller pressure cooker, to process all those bones. But then, most people aren’t buying a quarter-cow at a time, right?

Have you considered investing in a pressure cooker? We got that giant one back in the eighties, and it’s still with us. We also bought a more new-fangled one, in the last ten years- it didn’t last as long. It had weird plastic parts that weren’t easily replaced. If you do get a pressure cooker, go with Presto- they’ve been around for years. My father-in-law had one he’d been using since the forties. We were still using it, some sixty years later! It was aluminum; we eventually replaced it with stainless steel. The aluminum pressure cooker is perfect for canning jars of garden goodies. But stainless steel is more ideal to cook in, especially acidic things like tomato. (Aluminum might leach out a bit, if acidic foods are cooked in the aluminum pot for too long.)

If you like to cook, or need to cook, and love to eat, you should get a pressure cooker. The one mentioned in the link above is the best price I’ve found, and I didn’t even have to drive around looking for it. It also comes in other sizes, but the 8-quart gives me a great value, more bang for the buck 🙂

Seafood Gumbo: Gluten-Free Option Too

I was thrilled to discover that I could use millet flour in place of white flour in this, for a gluten-free recipe (just sub that for the flour in the recipe below). The roux for gumbo is unique, in keeping with other blackened Creole dishes. The flour/oil mixture is cooked until very dark. Not that it actually burns; it needs constant stirring to avoid a scorched flavor. But it does gradually turn a deep brown-to-black color before other ingredients are added.

Gluten-free Gumbo

This contains a rather unique ingredient: “file powder”, which is dried, ground sassafras leaves. The file powder adds an earthy flavor, and thickens the soup a bit too.

Vary this recipe by using different meats, sausages, seafood, even different vegetables. Serve with rice and bread to complete the meal. Serves 8.


  • 2 c. onion
  • 1 c. celery
  • 1 c. green pepper
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 bay leaves, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 1 TBS. paprika
  • 1 TBS. minced fresh garlic
  • 2 1/2 TBS. file powder
  • 5 c. shrimp stock (or chicken stock)
  • 1/2 lb. crab meat
  • 1 dozen oysters
  • 1 lb. raw shrimp
  • 1 lb. raw fish, chopped in 1” pieces
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 3/4 c. flour (sub millet flour, for gluten-free)
  • Cooked rice (added last, to soup bowls)


1. Chop and set aside: > 2 c. onion > 1 c. celery > 1 c. green pepper

2. Mix “Seasoning” and set aside: > 2 tsp. salt > 2 bay leaves, crumbled > 1/2 tsp. cayenne > 1 tsp. pepper > 1/2 tsp. dried thyme > 1/4 tsp. oregano > 1 TBS. paprika > 1 TBS. minced fresh garlic > 2 1/2 TBS. file powder

3. Bring to a boil in 6-8-quart stock pot: > 5 c. shrimp stock (or chicken stock) (See recipe for Shrimp Stock)

4. Set aside: > 1/2 lb. crab meat > 1 dozen oysters > 1 lb. raw shrimp > 1 lb. raw fish, chopped in 1” pieces

5. For roux, get an iron pan (or other) quite hot. Add to heat some: > 3/4 c. olive oil

6. With a metal spatula, mix into hot oil: > 3/4 c. flour (or sub millet or other flour)

7. Stir constantly, 2 to 4 minutes, until dark red-brown to black. Don’t scorch, but lower heat as necessary, until flour turns nicely brown while stirring. With experience, one might dare to go past brown into the reddish-brown-to-black territory. (The darker the roux without scorching it, the more intense the flavor.)

8. Once the right color is achieved, immediately add: > Half of the chopped veggies

9. Add the following, cooking 1 or 2 minutes after each addition: > Remaining veggies > “Seasoning”

10. Last, stir stock slowly into roux until smooth, bringing to a boil. Ten minutes or so before serving, add: > The seafood

11. Heat just until fish loses its transparency, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir as needed. (Don’t overheat after adding seafood, as that will toughen it.) Add rice to bowls (or bread bowls); ladle the seafood gumbo in to serve.

Coconut Manna- How to Get it Out of Jar!


5 lb. Nutiva coconut manna, makes 5 qts., choppedI’m quite a fan of coconut manna (also known as coconut spread or coconut cream concentrate, depending on who makes it). I discovered I could add it to soups, sauces, desserts, oatmeal… It is a great source of the kind of fats we need. (Just do a word search on “nutritional qualities of coconut” to get an idea. Or read my post on why coconut’s so great, here.)

Even though I like using coconut oil too, I particularly like coconut manna because it includes the fiber of the coconut, and is loaded with flavor. Plus, I love the idea of whole foods, and this is one of them!

If you can find it, the five pound coconut manna deal from Nutiva is the most bang for your buck. I’ve been getting lately though. It’s always in stock.

Getting the extra-firm coconut manna out of the jar (or foil bag) is a challenge. You can set the jar in a pot of hot water on the stove, with a rag under it so the glass doesn’t break. Once it’s melty-soft, spread onto heavy-duty aluminum foil, and chill it. Once firm, it will easily break into pieces, making it much easier to store and use. I store the broken chunks in zip-lock bags in the fridge. Easy to use this way!

Soul Food Sunday: Thank God For Good Land

I’ve been researching the nutritional value of the foods we might eat- there’s a plethora of information online. And while I do want to make informed choices about the food I eat, I have to remember that God wants us, above all, to be thankful for what we’ve got.


So. My research has led me to watch out for genetically modified foods (“GMOs”). And to limit PUFAs (“Polyunsaturated Fats”). I’m eating less of even whole grains and beans, as they contain “anti-nutrients”. And I’ve invested in grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chickens and eggs.

I’m doing a number of things! But most important of all, I want to remember that God has supplied us with everything we need. A concern for nutritional value has renewed my interest in gardening again, and I’m actually appreciating my food much more, as I discover how much effort it takes to produce that food.

We shouldn’t take our food for granted! The cost might seem slight, when there are so many “deals” out there. It does cost considerable less to consume genetically modified foods (through the food chain, as they’re fed to the animals we eat, and are an added ingredient in most prepared foods). Prepared foods using lower-quality, GMO ingredients can be produced at a fraction of the cost of quality foods. But meanwhile, our health declines. Is it worth the “bargain”?

Bottom line, I’m going to appreciate my food. I will seek higher quality, even if it means less quantity. And after I’ve eaten and am satisfied, I will praise God. Not every food IS satisfying, but God did provide the right stuff. We just need to choose it!

Wallpaper: Desktop Backgrounds w/Verses

“When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:10

If you like the verse, you might want to select one of the links below, and use the photograph and scripture for your computer background.

To use for desktop wallpaper, left click on appropriate monitor size, then right click and choose “select as desktop background” :

Background for wider monitors

Background for shorter monitors

What Paleo Dessert Can I Make for Chocolate Piggies?


The story behind this “Chocolate Mousse Cream Recipe“: My friend started supplying me with her excess duck and chicken eggs, barter style. (“Of course I’d like to trade you a dozen eggs for a New Deli sandwich!”) Her problem had become, “What do I do with all these eggs?!” Not a problem for me. Our family had recently gotten into paleo-style eating. (I realized, after veggin’ out for several years, that getting some quality animal protein was a good thing.)

So we’ve been eating eggs. But let’s not get boring (can’t serve scrambled, fried, and omelets all the time). That’s when I figured it was time to try a recipe I’d seen on Pinterest. I had to tweak it, since I wanted to use coconut oil in place of coconut milk. Coconut oil is so stable- won’t go rancid, and it adds good MCTs to our diet (brain food, good for metabolism, etc.). Plus, I figured it would help firm up the mousse as it chilled.

It worked! It worked so good that my friend never saw the cute jar of chocolate mousse cream I’d thought I’d put up for her. Turns out, I put it up for myself, haha. I managed to wait ’till my husband got home, but then we polished off the whole batch. So delicious.

I made it again- thought I’d take another picture of it, but again, it didn’t last long enough. At least we managed to share that batch with our son, who got home just in time.

Next time I make this, I’ll have to double it. It may go a little further, and I can finally share with my friend. But we’ll see. This is some real good stuff!


Chocolate Mousse Cream: Paleo Style Dessert, & Low-Glycemic

Gelatin is a common ingredient in mousses, but some object to the flavor. This creamy dessert is held together using coconut oil instead, which firms up some when cooled. This mousse melts in your mouth!

For an extra light dessert, chill a can of coconut cream; whip half of it and fold it into the mix. Delicious! Makes 2-4 servings.

Paleo Chocolate Mousse INGREDIENTS

  • 1 TBS. water
  • 1/3 c. coconut palm sugar
  • 1/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. coconut oil
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • Optional: Half can coconut cream, chilled


1. In a small pot, heat water. Use: > 1 TBS. water

2. On low heat, stir in palm sugar until dissolved. Use: > 1/3 c. palm sugar

3. To pan of palm sugar “syrup”, add cocoa powder and coconut oil. Heat a little more. Use: 1/4 c. cocoa powder > 1/3 c. coconut oil

4. In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks until pale yellow. Use: > 4 egg yolks

5. In another medium bowl beat egg whites to stiff peaks: > 4 egg whites

6. Slowly pour half the hot cocoa mixture into the beaten egg yolks, mixing continuously. Yolks should start to thicken a bit; don’t overheat.

7. Fold the remaining hot cocoa mixture into the whipped egg whites.

8.Optional: At this point, you can also whip a half can of pre-chilled coconut cream, to fold into the mix. Use: > Half a 16-oz. can coconut cream

9. Fold all the ingredients together, then pour into jars or stemmed glasses. Place in refrigerator several hours, or overnight, to set.

10. Garnish with a mint sprig or a bit of chocolate, to serve.

Fish: Is Fresh Fresh? Is Frozen Better? Is It Even Healthy?!

SeafoodSome folks eat fish because they love it, not just because its healthy. Other folks don’t much like it, but figure they better get their Omega 3’s. Note: If you are into fish for health reasons, look for wild caught, especially salmon- it’s loaded with the oils you need. (Read this article or this one, on why wild is so much better than farmed- quite convincing!)

And still other folks hate fish. But maybe it’s because they’ve never had fresh fish. That can make all the difference.

From a  culinary standpoint, you really can use frozen fish on certain occasions, for various reasons.

  • 1. Frozen fish is way fresher than “fresh” fish that hung out too long
  • 2. Frozen fish is so convenient to make into a meal when the fridge is bare
  • 3. Many frozen varieties taste close enough to fresh, in the right dishes

However, a recent purchase confirmed my other suspicion: That fresh fish from a reputable source is better than anything. I had worked up a recipe for Baked Tuna (posted here), and it works quite well with the frozen tuna steaks I pick up at Trader Joe’s. Meaning, it’s tender enough, and pretty tasty in general.

But then I picked up some “Sear-Grade” tuna from a local specialty shop (“Berkeley Bowl”, to be exact). Wow. There IS a difference. I had bought fresh tuna steaks from another shop before, and they had seemed just a little better than frozen. But the “sear-grade” was what I’d been looking for. It was more like the stuff I eat on special occasions at fancy restaurants. In such establishments, they typically sear the tuna; it’s often “encrusted” with something exotic, like ground black sesame seeds and Wasabi powder, etc. The restaurant entree is always insanely tender and delicious, even cooked rare.

I can now officially tell you: Maybe you DO get what you pay for. The “sear-grade” tuna costs a bit more than other options (except “sashimi-grade”, which is an even better grade). But it is a special treat.

If the pocket book says no, or the convenience factor of Trader Joe’s frozen tuna steaks is too high, stick with a simple baked fish recipe. But if you can afford the treat, go for “sear grade”!

“Mark’s Daily Apple” has a great post here on making healthy fish choices (concerning sustainability and toxins)


Baked Fish, Zucchini & Carrots, w/ Easy Hollandaise Sauce


Baking is one of the easiest ways to prepare fish. For a quick meal, set on a bed of grated carrots and zucchini (or other favorites). Being grated, the veggies will cook about as quickly as the fish; the whole package can be wrapped in foil (or parchment), and popped in the oven.

I’ve also had much success following this recipe, but using my slow-cooker, layering veggies with fish on top, and simmering in the slow-cooker for 20 minutes or so. When dinner time is up in the air, I can “hold” the meal, turning the slow-cooker off for up to an hour if necessary.

The following microwave method works great for a quick Hollandaise Sauce. Substitute olive oil for the butter, if butter’s a concern. But most “new traditionalists” will tell you butter’s way better than most polyunsaturated oils, to help balance our Omega 3 to 6 ratio.

Use favorite varieties of fish, in steak or fillet form: Salmon or Tuna steaks, or fillets of trout (and others) are all options. Some markets carry frozen tuna steaks that are convenient to stock in the freezer, if fresh aren’t available. The steaks will take a bit longer than fillets to cook. Serves 4.


  • 2 lb. tuna or salmon steaks, or fillets, or fish of your choice
  • 2 TBS. (plus 1 TBS.) olive oil
  • 2 TBS. (plus 3 TBS.) lemon juice
  • 1-2 carrots, peeled
  • 2-3 zucchinis
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 c. butter (or substitute olive oil and 1/2 tsp. salt)
  • 3 TBS. lemon juice



1. Time permitting, marinate tuna steaks a day ahead of time. Use: > 2 lb. tuna steaks (or other) > 2 TBS. olive oil > 2 TBS. lemon juice

2. If lacking time, the fish should still be fairly tender, even if you bake it without marinating it. Prepare veggies, to layer onto a large piece of foil, under the fish. By grating them, they should get done in the same length of time as the fish (unless you eat your fish quite rare.) Grate: > 1-2 carrots, peeled > 2-3 zucchinis

3. Place grated veggies on large piece of aluminum foil, sprinkling with: > 1 TBS. or so olive oil

4. On top of veggies, place: > 2 lb. tuna or salmon steaks, or fillets, or fish of your choice (marinated, if possible)

5. If not marinated, top with: > 1 TBS. more olive oil > juice from 1-2 lemons

6. Pull up the foil at the corners, to enclose ingredients; fish will stay moist this way. Place on baking sheet, or big pan; cook in oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 40 minutes, depending on thickness of fish and how well done you like it. Meanwhile, prepare sauce. To serve, arrange grated veggies on plate, add fish (removing skin if necessary). Add sauce and a bit of parsley, as desired.



1. Mix in small ceramic bowl: > 2 egg yolks

2. Heat the following in small sauce pan. Or, in a separate bowl (glass measuring cup works well), microwave the mixture 30-60 seconds, until melted: > 1/2 c. butter (or substitute olive oil) > 3 TBS. lemon juice

3. Slowly add melted butter/lemon to the yolk mixture. Microwave entire mixture 10-15 seconds at a time. Stir well after each time, microwaving in 10-15 second-increments until mixture gets hot and thickens. It also continues cooking a bit on its own; don’t overcook it! If making the sauce with olive oil, add 1/2 tsp. salt. If foregoing the microwave, reheat gently in saucepan, stirring constantly, until thickened.

4. Serve the fish on the bed of grated veggies, topped with sauce, and chopped chives and lemon peel, if desired.