Latest Recipes

Chocolate Mousse w/ Raspberry Bark

My friend just came off a 30-day cleansing diet. But of course- it was January, the month of resolutions! But now it’s February and she was hoping I’d make her some chocolate dessert to celebrate. So I did. Now we’re all celebrating, ’cause this stuff is good, and I had an excuse to make some.

Also, since we eat with our eyes, I needed some kind of garnish. And I only have so many groceries on hand, especially this time of year. Fruits are less flavorful… so what could I come up with?

Solution: I always have some dark chocolate and frozen raspberries around, so I melted the chocolate, reduced some of the raspberries to a paste, and ended up with a fitting garnish. Good enough to eat with your eyes! (And your mouth, of course.)

Now all you need is the recipe, right?

Chocolate Mousse- So Light, w/eggs, cream, & tad o' gelatin


  • 1/2 pkg. gelatin (1 1/4 tsp.)
  • 2 TBS. cold water
  • rounded 3/4 chocolate chips
  • 2 TBS. butter
  • 2 TBS. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 TBS. sugar
  • 3 oz. dark chocolate
  • 1/3 c. frozen raspberries

Soften gelatin in the cold water, sprinkling the gelatin across the surface of the water in a small, shallow bowl: > 1/2 pkg. gelatin (1 1/2 tsp.) > 2 TBS. cold water

Microwave: > Softened gelatin

Also microwave: > rounded 3/4 c. chocolate chips > 2 TBS. butter

Mix together: > the microwaved gelatin > the melted chocolate/butter > 2 TBS. vanilla > 1/4 tsp. salt

Separate the egg yolks, adding the whites to a clean bowl. Add the egg yolks to the melted chocolate, stirring after adding each one. Use: > 3 egg yolks

Whip whites until frothy:  > 3 egg whites

Add to frothy whites, beating until glossy: > 1 TBS. sugar

Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped egg white mixture. It’s OK is some isn’t completely mixed in yet.

Now fold all the the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.

Use pastry bag to add the mousse to containers (or dollop by the spoonful), into 8 dishes, small wine glasses, etc. Garnish with a wedge or two of the raspberry-chocolate bark.

To make the garnish, melt the dark chocolate. Spread onto parchment, in a 6” square. Use: > 3 oz. dark chocolate

Meanwhile, heat raspberries in small pan, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and it’s a paste consistency. Gently spread the raspberry onto the square of chocolate. Use: > 1/3 c. frozen raspberries

Chill the square of raspberry-chocolate bark until firm, then break into chunks to garnish mousse.

PS If you’re interested in a more “paleo” style mousse, very lightly sweetened with honey, using coconut cream instead of dairy, check out this recipe.

Green Drink for Health in 2023

(Edited, January, 2023) I run into more people these days that believe (as I do) that ingesting isolated nutrients isn’t as ideal as taking a superfood that contain those nutrients in their natural, organic form. I suppose those of us with that mindset are still a minority, but the tide is turning. Slowly.

Back in 2014, I started making Kombucha and Kefir. I thought everyone else was on the same page, and that we could sell it at The New Deli. But nobody even knew what it was! Fast forward, and now it’s lining the shelves at Trader Joe’s. It’s become mainstream. IOW, if I give it time, maybe others will eventually want a good green drink recipe? Well, if its popularity with my Bible study group is any indication, there has been NO desire by anyone to gag down a nutrient-rich concoction, complete with beef liver powder and other suspects. (What happened to “Go Green”?)

Yet I still vouch for this stuff. I’ve got a few genetic predispositions, including hypothyroidism and cancer, which cause me to be extra proactive with my nutrition. And, I believe God gave us tools to be healthy. I love the verse from Revelation 22:2- describing the wonderful fruit trees lining the river, and how “…the leaves of the tree will heal the nations.”

So I will keep encouraging whoever will listen, in eating what is good. Like, this green drink!

Mix of chlorella, ashwagandha & more, for natural thyroid healthThis alkaline and organic drink has easily-assimilated nutrients. And I can use better quality ingredients, like organic instead of conventional… And- it’s easy to order the bulk ingredients online.

To support hypothyroid health, check these posts too- Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas, or my Top Ten for Healthy Thyroid.


Add 2 TBS. mix to a small jar half-full of water. Shake it up and drink!

Makes 5 or more pounds. Use 2TBS. daily.

Use a big jar with lid on for mixing, if possible. Mixing the dried ingredients together and putting into jars can be messy–I cover the counter with newspaper, and transfer the messy mix into a paper bag, which I use to fill jars with. Yes, green dust all over, but hey, it does cost way less than buying a nice product already mixed. If you don’t want the bother, try some of the quality organic green powders available on Amazon, .

I originally took six capsules of Thyrogold to get the same effect that I was getting from my 97.5 mg. of prescribed thyroid. But by taking the extra herbs, roots, and other superfoods, I’m now down to two of the 300 mg. capsules.

But why do I try to avoid prescription drugs and the doctor visits it entails, you ask? Well…I’ve had a really bad history with the medical field, in the case of hypothyroid treatment anyway. Although I’m really glad I got diagnosed in 2006. I had so many horrible symptoms, and was “near death”, according to the doctor. Whew- close call.

But then the doctor troubles began.

First, after taking what I’d thought to be Armour thyroid (a natural form of thyroid gland), for six years, I discovered my pharmacy had scammed me. They had originally promised they could get me something akin to Armour Thyroid, which was unavailable at the time. In their mind, synthetic was “akin”. Ug. The nerve. They had substituted a synthesized version of Armour that whole time! (The pharmacist mansplained to me that the synthetic stuff was the exact same thing, chemically speaking, as the natural stuff. Sure…)

Was that why my health and well-being had gradually declined?!

In any case, eventually I stumbled upon the “naturalthyroidsolutions” website, and started in on my new, natural approach, taking OTC thyroid. My thyroid health improved and I felt terrific. The synthetic thyroid had been better for me than nothing at all (I was starting to really fall apart), but it never seemed to improve my health as much as the natural approach has.

But there’s more. To my saga of ranting misfortune with the doctor…

Years later, I went in for some other checkup, and the doctor said I’d have to get back on prescription thyroid. Even though I’d been feeling great for the past four years on the OTC thyroid. Doc said I’d need up to three lab tests- one to make sure I was at a good level now, one when I’d been on the prescription stuff for a month, and possibly one more, if we had to adjust the levels.

Really. What happened to, if it ain’t broke…

She suggested I try submitting the $90 lab test to the insurance company, even though I’d never done that before. The insurance company denied the claim, but gave me a non-negotiable bill for $700 instead. (Such a scam? The lab charges the insurance company that much, even though I only paid $90 cash for the same test?!)

So… you might imagine why I’m kind of obsessed with this natural approach. Right?!

BTW- my blood pressure’s fine, ha. Even though the above tales could get it going LOL. But it’s all good. I’m feeling healthier than ever, and if I hadn’t had so many problems, I might not be this well off!

*Since writing another post on this subject years ago, I stopped adding the Heather’s Tummy Fiber and the Psyllium Seed Powder, since my digestion improved. I take this green mix at breakfast time, and t’s been working well.

Oatmeal Cookie Pie (AKA “Crack Pie”, “Shoefly”…)

Hard to know what to call this. It’s an adaptation of a New York baker’s recipe for “Crack Pie” (from Christina Tosi, of Momofuku Milk Bar). I decided it’d be handy to use our easy New Deli oatmeal cookie recipe for the crust (which might leave a few extra cookies on hand afterward, to eat, freeze for later, etc.)(but which is A-OK with me!).

The Women’s Christmas Dinner Committee decided we’d make thirty of these pies, for our church’s annual Christmas dinner. It took five batches of oatmeal cookie dough, and over four gallons of heavy cream, five cartons of egg yolks, lots and lots of butter and sugar… But it was a hit!

I assume most folks don’t want to make thirty pies, so I reduced the recipe below. But–if you do want the recipe for making lots of pies, just email me and I’ll get that for you 🙂

Jen Cote's "Oatmeal Cookie Pie"

Oatmeal Cookie Pie

This recipe will make 2 pie crusts (I like to save one to bake up on another occasion); it makes one pie filling, serving 6-8.


Oat Cookie Crust for two pies

  • 1/3 c. butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 2/3 c. quick-cooking oats
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • Rounded 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • Added to crumbs- 3 TBS. butter, melted
  • Added to crumbs- 2 TBS. sugar

Filling for one pie

  •  3/4 c.  sugar
  • 1/2 c.  brown sugar
  • 1 TBS. nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. butter, melted, cooled slightly
  • 1/3 c. plus 1 TBS. heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla


  •  1 c heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Optional- 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • Optional- 1/2 TBS. butter

AKA Crack PieFor Oatmeal Cookie Crust, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix well until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes: > 1/3 c. butter > 1/3 c. brown sugar > 1 tsp. vanilla

After those ingredients have creamed, mix in baking soda. Use: > rounded 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Add remaining dry ingredients, mixing until blended (about 1 minute): > 1 2/3 c. quick-cooking oats > 2/3 c. flour

Turn oat mixture out onto parchment-lined cookie sheet; press out evenly until fairly flattened, about 1/4″ thick. Bake until golden on top, 8-12 minutes.

Remove the giant “cookie” to a rack to cool.

After cooling, crumble the “cookie” with hands (or put in plastic bag and use rolling pin). In a large bowl, add: > the oatmeal cookie crumbs > 3 TBS. butter, melted > 2 TBS. sugar

Rub the butter and sugar into the crumbs with fingertips; press into two 9-inch pie pans, pressing mixture evenly onto bottom and up sides of pie dishes.

Refrigerate one crust, and freeze other one if necessary (unless doing a double recipe of the filling, enough for two pies).

Prepare filling. For one pie filling, whisk dry ingredients together: > 3/4 c. sugar > 1/2 c. brown sugar > 1 TBS. nonfat dry milk powder > 1/4 tsp. salt

Mix in butter: > 1/2 c. butter, melted, cooled slightly

Blend in remaining wet ingredients: > 1/3 c. plus 1 TBS. heavy cream > 4 egg yolks > 1 tsp. vanilla.

Pour filling into crust. Bake pie 30 minutes at 350 degrees (filling may begin to bubble).

Turn oven down to 300 degrees and bake about 20 minutes more, until filling is brown in spots and set around edges but center still moves slightly when pie dish is gently shaken

Cool pie two hours in pie dish on rack. Chill uncovered overnight. This dessert can be made up to two days ahead. To store, cover and keep chilled.

The easiest way to serve is to simply sift powdered sugar lightly over top of pie. Or, add whipped cream, to top each piece. Use: > 1 c. heavy cream (no sugar, as pie is so sweet)

If desired, garnish that with a wedge of chocolate. For an easy chocolate garnish, melt chocolate chips and butter; spread on parchment (about 1/4″ thick) and chill until firm. Break into triangular pieces; stick into whipped cream-topped pie. Use: > 1/2 c. chocolate chips > 1/2 TBS. butter

Bittersweet Chocolate with Benefits

I’ve been buying Trader Joe’s bittersweet chocolate bars for some time (the giant, pound-plus bar), and they do satisfy my chocolate cravings. But… I also bought a giant bag of unsweetened cocoa powder at Costco earlier this year. You know how Costco purchases go- sometimes you see something for a really great deal, and feel compelled to buy it, even if it could take two years to go through it…

So. I also had some of this in the freezer. (Since I’d also bought a big bag of that, because it’s just. So. Good for you!)(And economical- see Costco note…)

Now I needed a way to use up that cocoa powder, and incorporate the cinnamon as well, into a daily routine. I also thought it would be cool to include honey in the mix, since the synergistic benefits of cinnamon and honey are impressive (more info here too).

I figured it’d be pretty easy to accomplish my goals if I made something that could substitute for that TJ’s chocolate I kept buying (and eating every day). And thus the following recipe was born. I made it with just coconut oil the first time, which works fine. This time, I included some of this , which gave it more firmness and flavor. Whoa- I can sub this for the TJ stuff any day, and now my cocoa powder stores will begin to finally get used up. Mission accomplished!

Homemade Bittersweet, Honey-Sweetened Chocolate BarI actually like this better than brownies. And of course it’s gluten-free! Best kept in the refrigerator; makes one big pound-plus bar.


  • 2/3 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. cocoa butter
  • 4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 rounded c. cocoa powder
  • 1/3 c. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2/3 c. raisins
  • 1/3 c. macadamias

Warm on lowest setting in pan on stove: > 2/3 c. coconut oil > 1/4 c. cocoa butter

Stir in dry ingredients in: > 4 tsp. cinnamon > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1 rounded c. cocoa powder

Then blend in the rest: > 1 tsp. vanilla > 2/3 c. raisins > 1/3 c. macadamias

Pour into lined 8×8″ square dish (use wax paper, parchment, or aluminum foil); refrigerate. Cut into pieces as needed, as keep chilled for more firmness.


Sourdough Bread, Artisan Style

I’d been making this sourdough whole wheat bread for some time, if only for the health benefits. The sourdough process helps reduce phytic acid (a plus), and makes for a lower-glycemic bread. Also, some of the gluten gets broken down in the long, slow fermenting process. And it has more naturally-occuring B vitamins too, thanks to the wild yeast at work. (The blog Cheeseslave goes into more detail here.)

But my bread didn’t have the greatest texture. I needed to figure out how to make artisan bread. Which wasn’t easy. I kept saying, “Artesian”, like the well… My daughter-in-law said, maybe that’s why it wasn’t turning out. I needed to clarify. Artisan, not Artesian… Ha.

I finally had success. This new bread had layers of complex flavors, with a great crust, and open crumb- almost custardy inside. Yum.

Artisan Bread Wit Ears! Open Crumb Too- YummIt starts with a lively starter (details on that starter here.). I usually feed my baby starter twice a day (removing half of it each time). The extra feedings make for a pretty rambunctious starter. It builds its character. The flavors get more complex, texture more interesting, yada yada. The way I used to do it still works, for busier times when I can’t mess with bi-daily feedings. (With that old method, I feed a refrigerated starter every 3-7 days, which is enough to keep it pretty lively.)

I didn’t like the idea of removing some of that starter, adding it to a discard pile in the fridge. But I’ve changed the name of the discard pile to “Future Cracker Dough”. I don’t feel as bad now. (Or it can become pancakes or waffles with the addition of an egg or two.) Another new discovery: I can add the starter discard to my next batch of dough, as long as it’s not too big a quantity, without affecting the flavor adversely. (Excess starter can also be frozen, for two months or so.)

In the old days, I accumulated large starter quantities, as I would feed the thing every few days, never taking any out. And I only made bread with it once a week or so. The bread turned out well enough using the large quantity of starter, but not quite as exciting as I’d hoped. With this new method, I feed a small quantity of very active starter, using part of it to begin feeding at a warmer temperature, until I’ve got the amount I want for however much bread I’m making. I refrigerate the rest of the newly-fed starter. It seems fine to let it hang out in the fridge for up to a week, at which point I bring it out again, for a fresh feeding when I begin another bread-making project.

Artisan Bread with "Ears"!Below is my latest fave bread recipe, “Sourdough Artisan Bread”.

Makes 2 loaves- about 2 1/2 lb. each


  • About 1/4 c. stiff sourdough starter*
  • 2/3 c warm water
  • 1 1/3 c. whole wheat/rye flour (or half malted flour)
  • Approx. 6 c. malted flour (1.67lb.)**
  • Approx. 3 1/2 c. water, divided
  • 1 TBS. salt***
  • Rice flour (or white or corn flour)

In a smaller bowl, mix together: > about 1/4 c. starter (un-refreshed) > 1/3 c. warm water > 1 1/3 c. whole grain flour (optional: use half malted or all-purpose flour)

Let this mixture rest in a warm place for 4-5 hours (an oven with the light on works for a cool kitchen).

About an hour before time’s-up for that starter, add most of the remaining water to the malted flour in a larger bowl, mixing with hands or a spatula until flour’s distributed. Adding water to flour starts an enzyme process whereby the starches begin converting to sugars, etc. This leads to more flavor! (Called an “autolyse”, in scientific terms). Use: > 6 c. malted flour (or all-purpose) > 3 1/4 c. warm water

Cover this mixture and let it rest one hour or so in that warm place (next to the bowl of starter mix).

After the big bowl of flour/water mix has rested an hour or so, and the starter (“levain”) has gone four or five hours (and has maybe caved in a bit), mix the two together, breaking up the stiff starter so it’ll mix in better.

‘”Stretch and fold” the dough, as in, pull a chunk of the dough from the edge, into the center. And repeat. Let the dough stretch as much as it will, without breaking. Fold about ten times. It will start to seem smoother and not too sticky. It won’t have to be thoroughly mixed at this point, as there’s more folding to come.

Before leaving it to rest, use fingers and poke a few holes in the dough, adding a mixture of salt and water on top. Don’t mix it in yet; just pour it over the dough. Use a mixture of: > 1/4 c. warm water > 1 TBS. salt

Let the dough rest 20 minutes or so. The main thing is to leave it be for a bit, to do its own thing. At this point, gluten molecules are aligning themselves and doing the work of kneading, all on their own. All they need is time. To themselves. We can’t rush this process by man-handling the dough!

After 20 or so minutes of resting, fold the dough again, about four times, until the dough gains “strength”. It should feel elastic and smooth. Less handling is usually better.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes. Every 30 minutes, for the next hour or two, stretch and fold the dough a bit. The dough should bundle up and pull easily from the sides, indicating that it’s ready to be left alone to finish fermenting.

This is now the “bulk-ferment” phase. Leave this folded dough alone now for a few more hours, then “cut” the dough in half (for forming two loaves); a hard plastic spatula works well for this. Gently form each ball into a round, pulling from the outside to the middle to shape it. I do this step on a dampened counter, as the dough doesn’t stick much this way. It also keeps me from adding more flour, which seems to be a plus flavor-wise. Let the pre-shaped loaves rest another 20 minutes, covered with bowls.

After resting a bit (again with the resting!), shape once more, into preferred shape. Set into a lightly-dusted, cloth-lined basket or bowl, with the dough bottom side up. (I like this bread-proofing basket.) Flour the loaves fairly heavily, to keep them from sticking to the basket. Cover with oiled plastic wrap or wax wrap, and let rest another hour or two.

Note: the dough is usually pretty wet. It can seem difficult to call it to attention for the final shaping. And yet, even the wettest dough can make a good loaf.

Finally (almost done), after the dough has proofed at room-temp for an hour or two, place the covered, shaped dough in the fridge overnight (or up to 24 hours, although 18 hours is probably ideal). This slows down fermentation, which insures more flavor.

Preheat oven, and a Dutch oven and/or a baking stone, to 500 degrees (this usually takes 40 minutes or so). Gently invert refrigerated dough onto parchment paper; score top. Serrated knife, box-cutter, and “bread-scoring lame” all work ( this “bread-scoring lame” is my fave). Lift the parchment and bread into a Dutch oven, covering it for the first 20 minutes. (Or make some other configuration, to create a steamy environment for baking, like a baking stone with a pot/pan on top of it.) (Or bake the bread on a baking stone with a tray filled with hot water on a shelf below it.)

Reduce heat to 450 degrees and bake the bread covered for 20 minutes. Remove cover, lower heat to 400 degrees, and bake 20 more minutes, or to desired doneness

*This stiff starter gets fed about twice daily. For each feeding, remove some old starter, leaving a tablespoon or so in jar. Add about 2 tsp. water, and 1 Tablespoon whole-grain flour. (A mix of wheat and rye flour is great)

**AKA Organic Artisan Bakers Craft Flour (malted) is primo, although all-purpose, unbleached flour can substitute. I’ve bought my craft flour here, at about $1.14/lb., including shipping. But I recently discovered some great Central Milling Co. flour at Costco, that’s perfect for bread. It might be the same product- it’s an organic, unbleached flour from hard red wheat, with some malted barley mixed in. It’s delicious!

***Use about 1 tsp. salt per pound of dough

Sourdough Starter Maintenance & Use & Other Details

There’s lots of info out there on how to baby our starter. Well… I’ve been conducting experiments to figure out how little I can baby my starter, and still have it turn out amazing bread.

In the process, I determined that my husband and I do not want to have to make pancakes every few days with the starter discard. And, making crackers with the discard seemed like too much work (to eat and to make…).

Now you might be fine with either of those solutions, to use up the starter discard that accumulates when room-temperature starter is fed twice-daily. If not, you might want to just refrigerate your starter for a week or so, between bread-making projects. Yes, you have to “revive” the starter. But you end up spending less time taking care of your starter.

Stiff Starter: 1/4 c. starter, 1/3 c. water, 1/2 c. wheat/rye flour blendStart with starter! (Starter Recipe Here).

Early on, I’d heard that starter is so resilient, you could ignore it for months, and it would probably still come back to life. One blogger reported that she had some years-old starter in the fridge, and it was still good. I guess it’s true that it might still be “good” enough to revive, but…I’ll be using mine more often than that, which I’m sure is healthy for the starter…

Liquid Starter Gone Wild

Liquid Starter Gone WIld

In the old days, mine was a “liquid starter”. My mistake was in not realizing that the liquid starter eats through its food quicker, and is thus not quite as suitable for storing in the fridge. What I needed for that was a “dry starter”, which is thicker and slower to feed.

So I switched from cultivating a liquid starter to a dry starter, leaving my starter out in a warm place, feeding it twice daily. This new, lively started made some really good breads, even if I was to refine the method a bit more as time went on. (Twice daily feedings is a bit much!)

Now here are some scientific facts to chew on, and maybe inspire you too:

  • Starter gets a more acidic, sour flavor when it grows slowly under refrigeration, since the cold encourages the production of acetic acid. Some folks may prefer this, so keep that in mind.
  • Besides temperature, frequency of feedings also affects flavor, by changing the balance of yeast and bacteria in the starter. Fed less often, bacteria will proliferate, eventually making for a very sour bread. Fed more often, in a warm environment (like in an oven with the light left on, if necessary), yeast takes the lead. I suppose that’s why my recent breads received rave reviews. I “grew” the starter in a warm place, feeding it twice daily. My one son said of one recent loaf, “I think this is the best bread you’ve ever made. I mean, wait- I think it’s the best bread I’ve ever had. In my life.” Wow, that’s high praise.
  • Another thing to consider: Moisture. The almost-buttery flavor of lactic acid likes a moist environment. A more-liquid starter might help promote this, although I’ve still had excellent flavor using a stiff starter with a moist dough. Still, something to keep in mind.
  • Use unchlorinated water. (I have a Berkey, which gives me wonderful water for all my fermentation needs- kombucha, kefir, and sourdough.) The chlorine in a lot of tap water will kill some of the starter critters you’re trying to encourage.
  • Whole-grain flour will encourage more of the good yeasts and bacterias. (Unbleached, all-purpose flour can also work, if necessary.) “Hard red winter wheat”, “hard white wheat” and “hard red spring wheat” are all options. (I use these red wheat berries for my starter.) Soft winter wheat, either red or white, is better for pastries and cake-making, so skip those.
  • Rye has amazing qualities of its own, making it particularly good to include in starter-feedings. I use a blend of half wheat and half rye berries, grinding those into a flour for starter feedings, keeping the extra in the freezer for future feedings.
  • About stiff and liquid starters: Many folks say an artisan bread is best made with a stiff starter, so I turned my liquid starter into a stiff starter, which has about three parts flour to a two parts water by weight, or almost double the volume of flour to water by the cup. (Maurizio from “The Perfect Loaf” goes into detail here and has a helpful, in-depth post on starter maintainace, here.) Liquid starter, on the other hand, has a ratio of about two parts flour to 3 parts water by weight, or equal parts flour to water by volume.

Sourdough Starter Maintenance

You CAN remove some starter at each feeding, so that the starter being fed, which might be left out on the counter, continues to be very active. You then refrigerate the excess starter that’s removed before each feeding, letting it accumulate in a container, to use for crackers or pancakes.

OR, you can feed a small amount of starter, then refrigerate half of it for a week or so, to use for the next batch of bread. By refrigerating some freshly-fed starter, it will stay happy for about a week, if it’s been fed roughly an equal amount of flour by weight, to the amount of starter.

Then, just bring the jar back out for a new feeding when planning another bread-making project. Feed it, reserving some for the refrigerator, while using the rest. “Rinse and repeat”- you get the idea, right?

Make adjustments to suit conditions, so that the starter doubles and just starts to cave in a bit, before the next feeding. This might mean leaving the starter in an oven with the light on in colder climates. With our cool, Bay area weather, that has worked out well for me.

Refrigerated starter does need to be brought back to warm room temperature for a day or two, to be built back up with twice-daily feedings, for bread-making, as needed. This is called “reviving” it.


  • 1/4 c. starter*
  • 1/3 c. water*
  • 1/2 c. flour*

In small jar, mix together: > 1/4 c. starter > 1/3 c. water > 1/2 c. flour

Refrigerate half of starter, covering with a loose lid. Leave the rest in a warm spot for 12 hours or so, until doubled. When it just begins to cave in, feed again.

I “build” my starter up for two or three feedings (which takes a day or two at room temperature). I then use that whole amount when making the next batch of bread- anywhere from .12 starter, up to .50 starter. This gives me bread variations that work with different schedules I may have.

Bottom line, refrigerated starter gets revived by leaving the starter out for its feedings for a day or two, to get it back in good standing for excellent bread-making. And there’s no over-abundance of starter-discard-buildup!

  • I find that using the scale is easiest. Here’s the quantities I like to use, when reviving a starter, going by weight: .06 lb. refrigerated starter, .06 lb. whole wheat/rye flour blend, .04 water

Top Ten Spices & Herbs (+ 5 or 10 More…)

I brought my Betty Crocker cookbook on my honeymoon (over forty years ago), and studied the spices and herbs list, and the best seasonings to use for various foods. Forty two years later- guess what? Betty proved right! But I’ve added a few favorite applications for various herbs and spices myself, and have listed it all below. Enjoy exploring the exciting world of spices and herbs.

18-Bottle Spice HolderOf course, a garden of fresh herbs can’t be beat. A list of favorite fresh garden herbs is at the bottom of the page.

I keep my spices in a cupboard, where they stay fresher, not being exposed to light. This is my fave spice holder of all times (and I’ve tried quite a few.)

Top Ten Herbs/Spices (I mean, 13… oops)

  • Basil- So good with tomatoes. You knew that, right? It can give dishes a little Italian flavor. Good with meats too.
  • Bay Leaf- Throw it into the pot when making soups. Adds an extra flavor. Keeps things exciting.
  • Cayenne- Even just a touch of heat can enhance a dish. (Well, not according to my husband. So I keep a shaker of this on my dinner table, and spice up my own dish.)
  • Cinnamon- Get Ceylon cinnamon (It’s the best. And good for you.) Great in baked goods, or in a hot drink, like this Golden Milk.
  • Cumin- Make it Mexican-style. Add to beans, meats, chili, whatever.
  • Curry- Easy way to go Asian. Add to veggies, meats, rice, etc. Oh, and gets a bit of turmeric into the diet (and that’s so healthy…)
  • Dill Weed- This is one of the distinctive flavors in our ever-popular, MSG-free New Deli Ranch dressing. It’s also good in tomato soups, with cucumbers, in bread.
  • Nutmeg- A warm flavor, somehow. Makes my tummy happy. Especially in this Rice Pudding. Or add it to other warm drinks, or creamy sauces. We put it in our Chicken Alfredo at The New Deli.
  • Oregano- Spells Pizza. Yum. Or add it to other tomato dishes, or fresh salads. Or meats. Ya know, just about anything! I love the 1000 Island Dressing we make, that we put this in.
  • Paprika- I love how it brightens up so many dishes, giving them extra color. And flavor, of course. But also- it’s a way to get some extra antioxidants in. Paprika’s loaded with ’em. But it comes from red peppers, which are on the dirty dozen list. Which is why I get this organic paprika. I also have this organic smoked paprika on hand. And it is DEFinitely smoky!
  • Sage- Seems like a “deep” herb that warms my tummy. Good with chicken, of course, or in soups, and other meats. We put it in our Meatloaf Mix.
  • Tarragon- This is good in the usual (meats, poultry, soups, salads), but it’s good in fish too. We put it in our Italian dressing at the deli.
  • Turmeric- The darling of the “Golden Milk” craze; it adds color to dishes, and extra health too. Not a lot of flavor, although it is rather distinct…

2nd Top Ten List (I Mean, 16…)More Fave Spices

  • Caraway Seeds- I love to add these to my raisin walnut bread. Good in sauces and sauerkraut. And Chicken Paprikosh!
  • Celery Seed- So flavorful. They pack a punch. Add to Celery Leek soup. (And other stuff.)
  • Coriander- I used to think I didn’t like this stuff. But it adds an almost magical depth to the deli’s Cauliflower Soup. So good!
  • Gumbo File- Made from sassafras leaves. It adds that extra something to Gumbo.
  • Cardamom- Adds a bit of Indian or African flavor to the meal. Add to curries too.
  • Cloves- Spicy goodness to zip up dishes.
  • Cumin Seed- We toast these and add to The New Deli’s Black Bean Chili. Yum.
  • Dill seed- A more intense dill flavor. Doesn’t discolor like dill weed can. But still good added to bread. Like this “Dilly Casserole Bread“.
  • Fennel- Use it in a Chinese 5-spice powder along with cloves, cinnamon, peppercorns, and star anise.
  • Fenugreek Seeds- Make a homemade curry mix with this. Incredible maple smell to this stuff. Wild. Toast gently in a hot pan to bring out the flavor, then grind in a coffee/spice grinder.
  • Garlic- This doesn’t really have to be on the list, since fresh garlic is so so good. But… what if you were out of fresh?!
  • Mustard Powder- Every now and then, this comes in handy. Good in homemade mayo.
  • Onion Flakes- We use this in our meatloaf mix too. The texture’s good- it adds the flavor, without adding an overpowering presence of fresh chopped onions.
  • Red Pepper Flakes- Spice up a sauce. So pretty floating in the sauce for these Vegetarian Spring Rolls.
  • Saffron- You can make an amazing paella with this stuff. Such a unique taste. To maximize flavor, let a few threads soak in boiling water for several hours first.
  • Star Anise- Again, use in 5-spice powder! To season many things! (Use with cloves, cinnamon, fennel and peppercorns for the mix.)

Favorite Garden Herbs

Some of these may grow for you, some may not. The herbs below are worth trying though.

Parsley- I’ve practically got a field of parsley now, after having no luck the first few years. Trick was to let one of those first plants go to seed. Then I lay the seed-laden plant in a little pile (with the decaying plant covering it, to protect it from the birds). Come spring, new little seedlings pop up all over.

Sage- Grows easily enough. Some varieties are quite hardy.

Rosemary- Grows like a weed. If you don’t have a green thumb, plant rosemary and relax. I don’t think you can kill it.

Thyme- This plant grows well enough, but realize that pulling the thyme leaves off the stem can be a bit time consuming. Worth it of course, but… just sayin’…

Oregano- This is a pretty hardy plant. Should grow well!

Basil- Mine never thrives. But then we live very close to the coast, with a constant cool breeze. Basil loves the heat. And water. Don’t forget to water.

Cilantro- You may do well growing cilantro, but it often will not sprout  from the cooking seeds found in the grocery store. I found out they irradiate them (or something…). So get them from a seed packet, or maybe a reputable health food store.


Rice Krispie Treats, Fast Recipe

I just made this recipe (well, times four, since it was for all the ladies going to our retreat). And it was easy! I used my scale instead of cup-measurements, since it’s extra fast that way.

Easy- Microwave Ingredients for Large Recipe Rice Krispie Treats!This is a quick, easy recipe for making a treat fast. So… maybe it won’t make “The Most Healthy Desserts” list. But…it’s a real crowd-pleaser.

This makes 12 or so bars, but I quadrupled the recipe for the large crowd we had a retreat.


  • 1 lb. marshmallows
  • 1/2 c. + 1 TBS. butter (.28 lb.)
  • 15 oz. box cereal minus 4 c. (.64 lb., or 6 c.)

In a large, microwaveable bowl, microwave for a minute or two, until butter has melted and marshmallows melt in as the mix is stirred. Use: > 1 lb. marshmallows > 1 stick + 1 TBS. butter

Last, add: > 6 c. Rice Krispie-style cereal

Butter hands, then pat mixture into 15 x 12” buttered dish (or cookie sheet with sides). Let set up for an hour or so, then cut into pieces.


Dilly Casserole Bread, Healthy-Style

I have some very fond bread memories from childhood. My sister and I could hardly wait for this bread to be ready to cut. We would immediately hack a chunk off as soon as it came out of the oven, much to mom’s dismay. Well, we couldn’t wait! True, it didn’t cut very easily our way, but taste-testing probably encouraged the two of us to continue our work in the kitchen.

Dilly Casserole Bread, Updated Healthy VersionThe original 60’s version of this seemed more complicated, IMO. The cottage cheese was warmed to that perfect temperature for yeast, then the yeast got proofed, etc.

Now that I’m too into sourdough bread, I wanted to adapt this to use with my starter. It worked!

Makes one loaf, about 2 lb.


  • 1 c. cottage cheese
  • 1 c. sourdough starter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 1 TBS. dry onion
  • 1 TBS. butter, soft
  • 2 tsp. dill seed
  • Optional- 2 tsp. dill weed
  • 2 1/4 -3 c. whole wheat flour, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt

In medium large bowl, mix together: > 1 c. sourdough starter > 1 c. cottage cheese > 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour > 1 egg > 2 TBS. honey > 1 TBS. dry onion > 1 TBS. butter, soft > 2 tsp. dill seed > optional- 2 tsp. dill weed

Let the above ingredients rise in a warm place until double, about 4 hours.

Stir in the following, adding enough flour so dough isn’t too sticky to handle. Dough will still be somewhat moist though. Use: > About 3/4 c. whole wheat flour > 1/4 tsp. baking soda > 1 tsp. salt

Knead dough about three minutes, until mixed well. Put in buttered 1 1/2-2 qt. casserole dish. Let rise until double again (another hour or two), then bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes Brush top w/ butter and salt when done, if desired.

Chocolate Mousse in Meringue Crust (aka Pavlova)

I made this dessert for our granddaughter’s second birthday–it was a hit! I can’t always understand what she’s saying, but “Birthday Cake” came out loud and clear. A festive family gathering it was, complete with a rolling-weasel ball that made her giggle in delight (hey, the label says it’s for pets AND children).

A similar dessert, “Pavlova”, has fresh fruits garnishing a meringue crust, with plenty of whipped cream in between. I wanted to use the egg yolks though, so the chocolate mousse gave me a way to work those in. I guess you could also call  this “Gluten-free Chocolate Dessert”, since that’s the trend lately. Or maybe, “Healthy Chocolate Pie”, since it uses bittersweet chocolate and not very much sugar at all. Oh, who am I kidding?! I just love meringue, and take any excuse to eat it!

Chocolate Mousse in Meringue Crust, Gluten-Free!I feel really good about eating this “gluten-free” dessert. Yes, it has a bit of cream, and some sugar too, but still seems to be a light dessert. My friend has often made the lemon curd version of this for our women’s group celebrations—it’s also quite delicious!

Makes one 12” dessert, serving 12


  • 2 1/4 c. sugar, divided
  • Scant 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 c. cream, divided
  • 6 eggs, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate pieces (6 ounces)
  • 4 1/2.tsp. vanilla, divided
  • 1 TBS. cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
  • 1 pint fresh strawberries (or more)

In saucepan, heat sugar, salt, and cream together, stirring for 3-4 minutes until sugar dissolves. (Or, microwave 1-2 minutes): > 1/4 c. sugar > scant 1/4 tsp. salt > 1 c. cream

Beat egg yolks lightly, then stir into hot cream mix. Leave on medium low heat while stirring constantly, until the mix thickens. (Or, microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring after each heating, just until mixure thickens.) Use: > 6 egg yolks

Stir chocolate and vanilla into heated ingredients: > 1 1/3 c. bittersweet chocolate pieces (6 ounces) > 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

Refrigerate mixture. Let cool completely (making a day ahead is convenient).

On serving day, prepare meringue crust.

Heat the oven to 250 degrees. Using a 12-inch round cake pan, trace a circle onto a piece of parchment paper with a pencil or marker. Flip the paper over and place it on a baking sheet (the traced circle should be visible); set aside.

Place the egg whites and salt in the very clean, dry mixer bowl. Use dry whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until the whites begin to lighten in color and only small bubbles remain, about 2 minutes. Use: > 6 egg whites with no traces of yolk, at room temperature > scant 1/4 tsp. salt

Increase the speed to high and very slowly add the sugar in a thin, continuous stream. Whisk until firm, shiny peaks form, resembling marshmallow cream, about 3 minutes. Use: > 1 1/2 c. sugar

Remove the bowl from the mixer and sift the cornstarch through a fine-mesh strainer into the meringue. Use: > 1 TBS. cornstarch

Drizzle with the vinegar and vanilla and fold them into the meringue with a rubber spatula until no streaks of vanilla remain, being careful not to deflate the whites. Use: > 1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar > 1 tsp. vanilla

Using the rubber spatula, pile the meringue into the center of the circle drawn on the parchment paper. Smooth it to the edges of the circle to form a rough, even disk about 1 inch tall. (If the parchment shifts while spreading the meringue, weigh down two opposite corners with small, heavy objects like cans; remove them before baking.)

Bake until the meringue is firm to the touch but slightly soft in the middle, about 60-70 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the baking sheet on a wire rack, and let cool completely. Run a thin metal spatula under the meringue to loosen.

Carefully slide it onto a serving platter or cake stand; set aside.

Finish making the mousse (which gets half of the extra whipped cream added to it). Whip cream until stiff peaks form. Use: > 2 c. cream > 1/2 c. sugar

Set whipped cream aside; add cooled chocolate mousse to bowl and whip until light. Fold in half of the whipped cream. Spread the chocolate mousse onto cooled meringue.

Use the other half of the sweetened, whipped cream to spread on top of the chocolate mousse. On top of that, add strawberries, or some shavings of chocolate. Use: > 1 pint (or more) strawberries