Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

There are some mornings I wake up and I just NEED a pancake!

This morning was not not of those days. In fact, I had planned to make Pineapple Upside-down Muffins, but I didn't have crushed pineapple. Then I thought, well, I have enough homemade mix left for Apple Cider Pancakes, so maybe I will cook some apples in butter, brown sugar and cinnamon and put those on top! But I didn't have any apple cider, or even apple juice. I could definitely tell it is grocery shopping day.

So I turned to Pinterest! I had recently pinned this recipe for Vegan Banana Oatmeal Pancakes. But since I'm not vegan, I made them a little less healthy. I had hardly any milk yet so I had to substitute buttermilk for some of the liquid, and I added some spices for flavor! They are super easy and fast to make since you can just throw everything into the blender, blend and pour it out onto a hot griddle.  These ended up a little thin, but I liked them that way! They have a nice, soft, texture and are GREAT with some peanut butter and a little syrup. Just a little bit ago I spread peanut butter on one and rolled it up for a snack! I apologize for the less than fabulous photos... I was hungry and lazy. :)


1 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 dashes nutmeg
1 egg
1 1/2 cups milk, buttermilk, soy milk or almond milk (or any combination of milks)
2 ripe bananas


Blend all the ingredients in a blender, except the bananas. Now add the bananas and continue to blend until the bananas are smooth. Pour onto a hot griddle (lightly oiled) and cook. Once the pancake bubbles on one side, flip it. This makes a dozen, medium-sized pancakes, serving 3-4 people. They are quite unexpectedly filling!

Yum yum! Enjoy!

Rosy Rock Cookies

These cookies are SO good! My mom gave me the recipe because my husband's favorite kind of cookie is oatmeal raisin. She found it in a magazine when she I was maybe one year old and she was working as a caterer.  She would cater a lot of luncheons back then, and she says she would always make these cookies because they were such a hit!

I made them yesterday for the first time, and my husband has declared them the best cookie he has ever eaten.  I have to say I am really enjoying them too, as is our son! They aren't super sweet so you don't feel too guilty when you eat one for breakfast with a tall glass of milk. And then after lunch... or as a snack...

They are moist and cakey, but that isn't even the most special thing about them! You would probably never guess it, but these cookies have a very special ingredient...

A can of condensed tomato soup!

It gives these cookies a little something extra that regular oatmeal cookies don't have. Give them a try and you won't want to make regular oatmeal raisin cookies ever again!

This recipe makes about 18 monster cookies.  You could get quite a few more by using a rounded teaspoonful.


1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) condensed tomato soup (undiluted)
2 1/2 cups uncooked quick oats
1 cup each seedless raisins and chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, and allspice.

Add butter, egg and soup; beat a medium speed two minutes, constantly scraping sides and bottom of bowl.

Stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts.

Drop onto greased baking sheets (give them space to spread).

Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes (depending on the size; I made monster cookies), or until they are lightly browned.  Let cool on sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to rack to cool.

Store in airtight container with wax paper in between the layers, or the soft, moist cookies will stick together and break!

This is what they look like the next day. They turned much more red overnight!

Easy Butter Chicken (With Less Fat!)

When I decided I wanted to try making an Indian Butter Chicken recipe, I started looking around for a recipe that was tasty but not too rich.  The recipe that sounded the best to me ended up having ridiculous amounts of fat, with a cup of butter and three whole cups of heavy whipping cream. That was just crazy to me and I knew there had to be a way to cut down on the fat and still have a really tasty dish.

I scrolled through the comments and found some alternatives, which I tried, with much success! This dish is wonderfully creamy and warming. With those changes and a couple of my own, here is my version of butter chicken!


1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1 large onion, very finely minced
1 TB minced garlic

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
2 1/2 cups evaporated milk (a little less than two 12 oz cans, can use 2%)
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala*
1 tsp cayenne pepper (Or to taste. I found this amount to be a mild heat that my toddler enjoys. Feel free to add more if you like things spicier!)
3/4 cup frozen peas, thawed

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast
2 TB vegetable oil
2 TB tandoori masala*

1 1/2 cups jasmine or basmati rice, cooked
chopped cilantro (for garnish, if desired)
Naan bread (can be found in the bakery section of most grocery stores)

* Spice mixtures can be found in the ethnic or spice aisle of the grocery store


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C.)

Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the onion and garlic, and cook slowly until the onion caramelizes to a golden brown. This takes about 15 minutes of standing in front of the stove, almost constantly stirring, so turn up some music and dance around a little while you cook. :)

This was the onion and garlic when I first added it to the butter:

Here it is after a few minutes... and a few more...

You may have to add a little more butter as the onion cooks down to keep it from sticking. Once the desired color is reached, add the remaining butter.

Once it is melted, add the tomato sauce, evaporated milk, cream, salt, garam masala and cayenne pepper.

 Bring to a simmer and add peas, then reduce heat medium low and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.

If you haven't cooked your rice yet, now is a good time to get it going! I love our rice cooker and use it all the time. If you eat a lot of rice definitely consider buying one. We got ours for our wedding but they are fairly cheap!

While the sauce is simmering, trim and cube your chicken breast into smallish, bite-sized pieces. Toss with the vegetable oil and tandoori masala and spread onto a rimmed cookie sheet.

The chicken will release juices while it cooks so you don't want it all over the oven! Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 13 minutes.

Add the cooked chicken and accumulated juices to the sauce, and simmer for 5 more minutes.

Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro, if desired. Use warm naan (the garlic kind is our favorite) to soak up the extra yummy sauce!


Ridiculously Easy Pumpkin Muffins

Ok, so I'm usually a fan of making things totally from scratch. It makes me feel good about the finished product and I like knowing exactly what is in things. But sometimes, I just want something, and I want it right now with hardly any work.  Bonus points if it isn't filled with oil and butter (mmmm...butter) since it is only October and there are still months of holiday baking ahead!

This morning I wanted to make pumpkin muffins! Then I started looking at recipes, and I realized I didn't really want to make them, I just wanted to eat them.  In the comments of one of the recipes I saw someone say to just mix a box of spice cake mix with a can of pumpkin and bake it! I have been seeing a lot of variations of that on Pinterest lately, and honestly that is the reason I bought that spice cake mix a couple weeks ago. So next time you are feeling lazy, take 3 minutes to mix these up, bake and enjoy!


1 box of spice cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 15 oz can of pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)

That's it! No eggs, no oil, no water.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place cake mix in a bowl. Add pumpkin. Mix with hand mixer until well blended. Batter will be stiff and lumpy. (If you are worried about there being too many lumps, you can put the cake mix through a mesh strainer so smash out the lumps. The muffins turn out almost exactly the same, but they are a bit prettier.)

Spoon into greased muffin tin. I used a mini muffin tin and filled all the wells completely full and then some. I just kept putting in batter until it was mostly evenly distributed. They did spread a little, but it was mostly up so none of them were touching by the time they finished baking, so don't worry about them being too full!

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 22-25 minutes (for mini muffins, I would say 25-30 for a regular tin) or until a toothpick inserted into the largest muffins comes out clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!  I was really pleased with the texture since I was worried about over mixing, but apparently that wasn't a problem either.

Now my whole house smells like fall!

Chicken Pot Pie Casserole

Fall is officially upon us! Here in Montana it went from 80-90 degree days to 40-60 degree days in the space of a week. We had one night that got down to 16 degrees, just to make sure all the flowers were really dead and so the leaves on the trees would start to fall.

I love having the oven on when it starts to get chilly (although I can't say I ever stopped using it this summer, yay for AC!) Now is the time I make lots of soups, casseroles and slow cooker meals. I recently found a recipe on Pinterest for Easy Chicken and Dumplings, and have converted it into this casserole.  It is warming and filling, although not necessarily low fat.  Leftovers reheat nicely, but casserole does not freeze well

I hope you enjoy this tasty casserole! I haven't been posting as many recipes as I would like to, but if I find things on Pinterest that I enjoy I always repin them to my I Made It! board along with my notes and opinion of the recipe! If you haven't already, check it out!


  • 2-3 cups of cooked chicken
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) of unsalted butter
  • 1 cup self-rising flour (To substitute all purpose flour, use 1 cup of flour and add 1-1/4 teaspoon of baking powder plus 1/8 teaspoons of salt.)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups chicken stock/broth (low sodium preferably)
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup (also better if low sodium)
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
  • 1-2 potatoes, diced in small cubes
  • 1/2-1 cup frozen peas, thawed under warm water
  • fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

You can use rotisserie chicken, leftover precooked chicken, or 2-3 pieces of raw chicken - preferably breasts.  If using raw chicken, poach it in the chicken broth or stock in a medium sized saucepan. Cook on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is mostly done. It will finish cooking in the oven.  Remove the chicken and set aside to cool but reserve the stock.

While chicken is cooking, place the carrot, potatoes and onion in a medium saucepan with enough salted water to cover the veggies and cook until tender.

Melt 1/2 stick of butter and pour into the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Shred the chicken and spread it on top of the butter.

Distribute the veggie mixture evenly over the chicken.

Sprinkle on the peas.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and the flour and slowly pour that over the chicken and vegetables, taking care not to disturb the chicken and veggies too much. Do not stir.

Whisk together the chicken broth and the cream of chicken soup. I added some fresh ground black pepper to the mixture as well. Slowly pour that over the flour and milk mixture. Do not stir.

 Bake uncovered at 400 degrees F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until top is light golden brown.


This last pic was the first time I made it and I forgot to add the peas! I cooked them in the microwave and stirred them in, lol. :)

Original recipe found here.

Homemade Northwest Apple Candy

I apologize for my extended absence from updating the blog! I keep planning to put something up and then life gets in the way. I'm going to start making more of an effort since I know I will be trying lots of new recipes this fall and winter! Here is the first of many. I hope you enjoy trying them with me!

Have you ever eaten Aplets and Cotlets? They usually show up in stores around the holidays in big boxes for gift giving. I LOVE them.

Here's a little background from Wikipedia:  

Liberty Orchards is a candy company located in Cashmere, Washington. Founded originally as an apple farm in 1918 by Armenian business partners Armen Tertsagian and Mark Balaban, the company moved into canning and then confectionery during the 1930s and 1940s. 

Their products include different types of jellied fruit candies resembling Americanized versions of Turkish Delight. Aplets & Cotlets are Liberty Orchards' oldest and best known products. These two types of confection are mainly sold together in a single box; they are produced from a recipe for locoum using local apples and apricots. 

 Other flavors produced by the company include pineapple with macadamia nuts, strawberry with walnuts, orange with walnuts, peach with pecans, blueberry with pecans, and raspberry with pecans. They also produce sugar-free, nut-free and chocolate-covered varieties, as well as a number of traditional filled chocolates (truffle, caramel, and mint, for example). In 2009, the company has introduced a cherry-pecan locoum, as well as four varieties (mango, strawberry, watermelon and papaya) dusted with a sweet-sour-spicy coating.

I have tried many things from their catalog over the years, but the Aplets and Cotlets remain my favorites. I remember when I was little they used to sell small bars of them in the produce section of the grocery store and I was always SO excited when my mom bought me one! I would savor every bite of the smooth candy, crunchy nuts and sweet, powdery coating.

They can be a little expensive, especially since for the most part in stores they are only available in large boxes. On occasion I have ordered a box of the "bulk" trimmings, the pieces that aren't pretty enough to put in the gift boxes. But, since it's just about fall, and apple and pumpkin recipes are flooding Pinterest, along with gift ideas for Christmas, I thought it would be a good time to share this recipe.

Makes about 64 small cubes

3 tbsp gelatin

3 cups apple juice, unsweetened apricot juice, or grape juice (I guess Grapelets were available in the 70s but were later discontinued.)

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

3 tbsp lemon juice or more as needed

3 tbsp lime juice

10 2/3 tbsp cornstarch

1 1/2-2 cups chopped walnuts (your preference)

1 cup powdered sugar


Soften the gelatin in 1/2 cup of the apple juice.

 Boil remaining juice with the sugar for 15 minutes to concentrate it.

Mix the lemon and lime juice and add all but 1/4 cup cornstarch to dissolve it in the mixture (I measured out all the cornstarch into a bowl and then reserved 1/4 cup of it.)

Add the gelatin mixture to the boiling juice and stir until melted.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the boiled juice, making sure to whisk continually to avoid lumps.

Boil rapidly for 12-15 minutes until very thick, stirring constantly. Taste for sweet and sour and add more lemon juice if desired.

Mix in the walnuts.

Pour mixture into a 9-by-9-by-2-inch baking pan that has been dipped in cold water.

Let paste harden 12 hours or overnight, then cut with a sharp knife into squares.

Mix together the reserved 1/4 cup cornstarch & powdered sugar. Remove squares with a spatula & roll each in the powdered sugar mixture (the cornstarch helps keep the sugar dry.)

Now enjoy! These would be great given as a gift too! :)

NOTE: When you store these, you should arrange them single layer or put parchment paper between each layer. If you stack them with out anything, the moisture in the candy will melt the powdered sugar and make a sticky mess!

Adapted from original recipe here.
Alternate method with whole fruit and rose water here.
Aplets and Cotlets photo from the Liberty Orchards website


Coming Back Soon!

I apologize for the long unexpected hiatus! It has been a weird and busy summer. I plan on getting back to posting soon! Welcome to all the new visitors that have found my site this week! Until then, you can follow me on Pinterest where I am at least pinning the recipes that I'm making that I find there! Have a wonderful day and enjoy the recipes I already have posted!

Cinnamon Roll Cake

I seem to be attracted to all things cinnamon roll. They are so warm and gooey and yummy, what's not to love? I mean, besides all the butter and sugar. Wait, I love those things too!

This is another Pinterest discovery, and instead of copying the simple recipe over I will merely give you the link and post pictures. I read some of the comments and they are generally all favorable, except for the people who are apparently allergic to following instructions. I know that sounds harsh, but I don't understand the lack of common sense that seems to be so pervasive lately.

Anyway! Without further ado (or random bitching) here it is: CINNAMON ROLL CAKE!

You start by mixing the top ingredients and pouring them into a 9x13 pan:

Then you mix up the topping...

And plop it all over the top of the batter:

The take a knife and swirl it all around!

Bake it, and glaze it, and that's all there is to it!


Here is the RECIPE!

Making Your Own Sushi!

My husband and I just had a really fun afternoon! He took me out the day after Valentine's Day to a local sushi restaurant, and ever since then I have been craving it. It was the first time I had really eaten it, aside from a couple pieces in the past that I either was not impressed with or have since forgotten. But I really had fun on our date and I loved the sushi we had!

The last few days I have been telling him I wanted more, but I knew we couldn't really go out again. He surprised me yesterday by saying we should make some today! So last night we bought all our veggies, nori wrappers, sushi rice, wasabi, sesame seeds and pickled ginger! We also grabbed a couple cheap bamboo placemats for about $1.50 each. I haven't ever used a real sushi rolling mat but this worked perfectly and was cheap! He had to run an errand this afternoon and went to the fish market to get a piece of sushi-grade ahi tuna.

I cooked up the rice and seasoned it, and when he got home we sliced up all the fillings and got to rolling!

To make your own you will need:
(Approx. 3 rolls)

Bamboo sushi mat or placemat

Rice cooker (I am so happy we have one, you can cook it in a pot on the stove but it is hard to keep it from clumping. A rice cooker does it perfectly every time!)

Plastic cling wrap

1 package nori wrappers (seaweed)

1.5-2 cups Sushi rice (You really want to buy the rice that is specifically labeled as such, it has the wonderful texture and stickiness that you need for sushi rolls)

Thinly sliced vegetable/fruit fillings (We used red pepper, carrot, mango, green onion, cucumber and avocado)

1/2 lb Fish. We used Ahi tuna (You could make veggie rolls or make tamago (sweet omelette) rolls. Here is a link to a recipe for the sweet omelette.)
On a couple of the rolls we made we rubbed cayenne pepper on the tuna strips to make spicy tuna! It gave it an extra kick!

Thinly sliced cream cheese (Optional. We didn't use any this time)

Rice vinegar (2 T for rice, additional 2 T mixed with 1 c water for assembly)

Salt (1 tsp)

Sugar (1 T)

Sesame seeds, black and white (optional)

For Dipping:

soy sauce


pickled ginger

We also made a few other sauces for dipping, my favorite was a mixture of sriracha, plain yogurt, mayo and a little lime juice.

Prep all of your ingredients before you begin so you can have fun assembling your sushi rolls!

Rice: Rinse and drain the rice under cold water 5-7 times until the water is clear. Then cook the rice according to your rice cooker’s instructions.

While it cooks, prepare the rice seasoning mixture. In a small bowl, stir together the rice vinegar, sugar and salt, and microwave for 1 minute. Stir and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Once the rice is cooked, remove it from the rice cooker and spread it out on a cookie sheet covered in plastic wrap and drizzle with the rice seasoning mixture. Then cover it with a damp towel and let it cool until the rice is room-temperature. It doesn't take very long once it is spread out. Here is the seasoned rice!

Filling: The filling is the fun part! Choose whatever filling ingredients you’d like, and just basically cut everything into long, small strips. When cutting filets of meat or seafood, just be sure to cut against the grain. We kept our fish strips on ice to keep them cold.

Dipping Sauce: Combine soy sauce, and then whisk in (or use your chopsticks to blend in) as much or as little wasabi as you’d like. (Always start with less and add more, if you’ve never used wasabi!)

Bamboo Mat: Finally, prepare your bamboo mat. Basically, you just need to completely wrap it in plastic (Saran) wrap. This helps the rice not stick to the mat during the assembly/rolling process.

Assembly: The best part! For sushi rolls, you can either make them with the rice on the inside (considerably easier) or on the outside.

To begin, lay out a piece of nori on your plastic-wrapped bamboo mat. Then have a bowl with the water and rice vinegar sitting nearby. Dip your fingers in the water/vinegar mixture (this helps the rice not stick to your fingers), and then pick up a small handful of rice and gently press it onto the nori. The goal is to spread out the rice so that it’s uniformly thin and that it extends clear to the edges of the nori. We left room on one third so that our rolls would seal well. If you’re making rolls with rice on the inside, be sure to leave an extra centimeter on the bottom edge of the nori uncovered, so that you can seal the roll at the end.

We found that dipping your fingers in the water/vinegar mixture constantly made sure the rice stuck to the nori and not our fingers!

For rolls with rice on the inside: Go ahead and layer your sliced filling ingredients along the top of the nori, on top of the rice. Try to lay out the ingredients as close together as possible.

For rolls with rice on the outside: Carefully flip over the rice/nori sheet, and gently press down to compress the rice. Then layer the sliced filling ingredients at the top of the nori as mentioned above.

We also made a one that didn't have any nori, just rice and fish, and it held together very well.

The idea is to use your bamboo mat to help roll the sushi tightly, rather than just picking up the nori to roll it with your fingers. So, very carefully, lift up the mat underneath the top of the nori (where your filling is), and begin to roll it over, making sure that the initial edge gets tucked under before rolling out the entire thing.

We used the plastic wrap to pull the roll tight under the bamboo mat as we rolled. Again, the goal is to try and roll it as tightly and evenly as possible. If you need to back up and re-roll to make it a little tighter, go for it!

Once you finish, I generally give the sushi a few more gentle rolls with the bamboo mat to make sure it’s nice and evenly-round. (And if you’re doing rolls with rice on the inside, just add a little water to the nori in order to seal the roll.) You can then sprinkle some sesame seeds on the outside of the roll (if rice is on the outside), and then give it another roll with the bamboo mat to seal them on.

Then take a very sharp knife and cut the rolls into your desired thickness of bites. Since the rice often sticks to the knife it is helpful to have a wet towel nearby to wipe off the knife blade after every 1-2 cuts. It is also helpful to refrigerate the rolls for 10-15 minutes before cutting them into bites, so that the ingredients can set and the nori becomes moist and seals completely.

Enjoy your sushi with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger!