Archive | June 2013

Cooking Day 7 – Sunday May 19, 2013


Have I mentioned how much I like the Pioneer Woman? Oh yeah, I’m sure I have, a couple times. This is a recipe I’ve never made before, but one that I knew would be fabulous. Several people found the kale in the fridge ahead of time and were excited to have it. I think they were even more excited to have it cooked in this way. We prepared two of these the night before, to serve two different mornings.

Sausage Kale Strata

  • 12 eggs
  • 2 ½ cups half-and-half or milk
  • S&P
  • 4 Tablespoons minced fresh oregano (or basil, or whatever you feel like using. You don’t have fresh? Use some dried, but fresh is best.)
  • 1 loaf crusty Italian or French bread, cut into cubes
  • 2 pounds breakfast sausage, cooked, cut into cubes
  • 1 large bunch kale, torn into pieces
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound mushrooms, halved (or sliced or quartered if they are large)
  • 2 ½ cups grated Monterey Jack cheese

Mix eggs, milk, and spices. Set aside.

  1. Heat oil in skillet, medium-high heat. Throw in kale. Cook 2 minutes, until slightly wilted.
  2. Drizzle olive oil and S&P over mushrooms on a cookie sheet. Roast at 425 for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  3. Butter 9”x13” casserole dish.
  4. Layer half of the bread, kale, mushrooms, sausage, and cheese. Repeat.
  5. Slowly pour egg mixture over top.
  6. Cover and refrigerate.
  7. Remove from refrigerator 20-30 minutes before baking. Cover with foil.
  8. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
  9. Remove foil, and continue baking until crispy golden.


  • Chicken (Turkey) Noodle Soup

I didn’t follow a recipe for this soup. I started with my homemade broth and just started adding stuff, like the leftover pot pie filing. I would have loved to make homemade eggs noodles like Granny used to make, but I used packaged instead. I just didn’t have time to get too involved, because dinner was the focus of the day, and it took a lot of time and help.


The crust got started early in the day. I think we did 4 batches, because extra is always good. Ideally, for pizza, you would use just unbleached all-purpose flour, but I didn’t have enough, so it was a blend again. It still tasted yummy, just not as yummy as it could have been, IMO. (And we all know that MY opinion is important.)

Artisan Bread

  • 6 ½ cups flour
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons (or 2 packages) yeast
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons kosher or coarse salt.
  1. Stir all ingredients together in large bowl or glass container (5 quart size is about right). The dough will be wet and “shaggy”.
  2. Cover and let rise on counter top 2+ hours. It should triple in size.
  3. Chill dough in refrigerator for 3+ hours for best flavor and ease of handling. (We didn’t have time or space to chill the dough, and it still turned out fine. But if you can do it, so much the better! Stays good in refrigerator for a week.)

At this point you could simply make artisan style bread, but we are making pizza! Pizza really does turn out best if you have a pizza (baking) stone, but cookie sheets work, too. I also highly recommend using parchment paper. If you’ve never used it before, do it now! I can’t believe I tried making bread and pizza for so long without it. It makes a world of difference! If you have a pizza stone in the oven, simply use a pizza peel or large cutting board or the back side of a cookie sheet to transfer your pizza into and out of the oven.

  1. Take half (or a third) of the dough. Smash it into a circle on parchment paper. If you get a hole in it, just smoosh it some more to fix it. It’s all good. It will rise when baking, so get it as thin as possible, unless you like thick crust. Leave a slightly raised edge.
  2. Place crust and parchment paper on pizza stone that has been preheated in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes at 450.
  3. Take out of oven and put your favorite toppings on the crust. I suggest cheese first after the sauce to help hold the other toppings to the crust.
  4. Bake an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Serve to your ever-more-adoring fans.

We made 8 different dinner pizzas, including some vegetarian options as well as a small one with minimal cheese, an attempt at baked potato pizza, and 2 dessert pizzas, using canned pie filling over a cream cheese base. This was an extremely time- and labor-intensive meal, but we enjoyed making it and everyone enjoyed eating it. And, of course, we had WAY too much for one meal!

dessert pizza

assembling pizza




Cooking Day 6 – Saturday May 18, 2013


  • Scrambled eggs
  • fruit bowl


  • Chicken Chili
  • Green salad
  • Bread (I have this written down, but don’t remember making or serving any with this meal)

This is another recipe that I got from an online friend. I doubled the recipe, and we didn’t have much leftover. I did set aside some without chicken for our vegetarian. I cooked the beans first thing after breakfast. They cook much faster after soaking and sprouting. Why soak your beans?

Soaking beans for many hours before cooking them produces a lot of scum which is course, is rinsed and drained away when the soaking is complete.

What is all that scum anyway?  Anti-nutrients, that’s what!  And those anti-nutrients such as phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors are going to be in your gut causing you gas, heartburn, reflux and whatever other digestive ills beset you when you eat something that isn’t particularly digestible unless you soak your beans before cooking them.”

Why sprout your beans? It makes the beans more nutritious, and aids in digestibility.  (Read the links, people.)

sprouted navy beans

Anytime you cook beans you should skim off the floating beans, skins, and the foam.

floating navy beans

foam navy beans

Chicken Chili

  • 1 pound Navy beans (allow 12 hours for soaking, and 12+ for sprouting)
  • 1 quart chunky tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2+ cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 3 cups corn
  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon basil
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  1. Cook beans until tender, use no salt or other seasonings. Drain.
  2. Combine all ingredients in large saucepan.
  3. Simmer at least one hour.

We ran out of chili powder, but I mixed some up. There are several variations online, but this is the one that I used.

Chili Powder

  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano


  • Baked Ziti
  • Green Salad
  • French Bread

We made three pans of baked ziti, and added cooked ground turkey to two of the pans.

Baked Ziti

6-8 servings

  • 16 ounces ziti pasta (or whatever shape you want)
  • 24 ounces ricotta cheese (cottage cheese makes a fine, less-expensive substitute)
  • 1 pound shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 32 ounces spaghetti sauce
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Boil paste 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain and rinse.
  2. Mix ricotta, mozarella, and egg with 1 ½ cups of sauce. Add ziti.
  3. Preheat oven to 375.
  4. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan.
  5. Spoon mixture into pan. Top with remaining sauce and parmesan.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

French bread is always so yummy, and is very easy to make. Served hot with butter is a given. Or do as we did, and make some salty garlic butter to spread on the loaves (sliced in half lengthwise), and then wrap in foil and bake until all that garlicky buttery goodness is soaked into the bread. Even if the rest of your dinner doesn’t turn out well, everyone will love you for the bread alone.  I wish I had a photo of the bread, it was so beautiful!

French Bread

  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups hot tap water
  • 4 ½ – 5 cups flour (can be half whole wheat; may need a teaspoon of gluten)
  • 2 Tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  1. Put sugar, oil, salt, and hot water in a large bowl. (Can also use a mixer with bread hook.)
  2. Add 1 cup of flour mixed with yeast, then rest of flour, ½ cup at a time, stirring after each addition. Add until dough comes away from side of bowl or easily holds a ball shape and isn’t too sticky if you handle it with floured hands.
  3. Cover bowl with waxed paper and a tea towel.
  4. Let rise until double, about ½ hour.
  5. Divide in half.  Roll out on slightly floured surface to about 12”x15”. Roll up jelly roll style, beginning at longer end. Place on greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Only one loaf per sheet! (Ask me how I learned this…) Cut diagonal slits. Cover.
  6. Let rise 30-45 minutes. Brush with egg-milk mixture.
  7. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

And thus ends the first half of cooking for the cob workshop.


Cooking Day 5 – Friday May 17, 2013


  • Oatmeal

I finally got the oats made that I had planned to make for several mornings. This ended up being the only day we actually had THESE oats, which was fine. I used two crock pots, and we had a lot of leftovers, but that was intentional so that we could have leftover oatmeal cake. We had enough leftovers for 4 cakes!  One of the nice things about making your oats in the crock pot is that people can just help themselves whenever they’re up and hungry, instead of waiting for you.  You know, in case you want to sleep in.

Crock Pot Oatmeal

  • 2 cups regular rolled oats (you can use quick oats, but they won’t keep their shape and you will end up with mush. Still edible, just not as pretty.)
  • 2 cups chopped apples (or you could use a can of apple pie filling and less sugar)
  • 1 cup raisins (or less)
  • 4 cups milk (or how I usually do it: 2 cups each water and milk)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar (allegedly optional, but IMO it’s not, especially if you’re using fresh fruit)
  1. Stir all ingredients together in crock; cover.
  2. Cook overnight or for 6 hours on low or warm.

You may have to get to know your own particular crock pot to know what works best. I was working with unknown tools, so I got up 6 hours before breakfast to turn them on. Overcooked oats aren’t that great, and you lose a lot that gets stuck to the pot.

I have made these with canned peaches, canned pears (not recommended – they get really mushy), no raisins, and other dried fruit like bananas or apples. Once I even used cooked squash and pumpkin pie seasoning rather than just cinnamon! Use your imagination and what you have on hand.

Coconut oil is a good substitute for the butter.

Another interesting addition that gives this a bit more body and protein is a couple of eggs, raw and scrambled, stirred in with everything else at the beginning.


  • Leftovers!

We heated up one of the pans of enchiladas and some potato salad. Possibly some other things, too, but I know the potato soup and lentils got saved for another day.


  • Green Salad
  • Taco/Burrito bar
  • tortillas
  • cooked pinto beans
  • ground turkey with Mexican-y spices
  • salsa
  • rice
  • lettuce
  • olives
  • cheese

These meals where everyone got to dish up their favorite toppings worked well for a crowd.

I made more tortillas, starting after breakfast since I didn’t have any lunch preparations, tripling the recipe so we would have two apiece. I took a few pictures this time of the process. The first shows all the little balls of dough after resting, with the first one I rolled.

Tortilla balls

I took each ball and flattened it with my hands into a circle about 4” in diameter.

flattened tortilla ball

Then, on a well-floured surface, I rolled them as thinly as possible. When rolling, you start from the center and work your way out. Keep your stack of raw tortillas covered with a damp cloth as you roll each one. You should keep the balls of dough covered as well, so they don’t dry out.

rolled tortilla

Once I’m ready to start cooking them, I heated up a cast iron skillet on medium. I think another type of skillet would need a higher temperature, but I’ve always used cast iron. No oil in the pan at this point. It only takes 20-30 seconds per side, turning when it starts to form bubbles. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.

finished tortillas

I suggest reheating any tortilla before eating, as leaving them cold makes them easier to fall apart, in my experience. My preferred method is to have oil in the pan so they end up hot and a little bit greasy – yum!


Cooking Day 4 – Thursday May 16, 2013


This was a breakfast prepared before bed. Steff was on my case about still cooking and working in the kitchen after dinner, but all I had to do in the morning was get up and put it in the oven. I think once she had breakfast she was fine with me doing “extra” work the night before.

I doubled the recipe, making two casserole dishes. And, yes, we had plenty of leftovers yet again. I followed the recipe almost exactly, except I tore the bread into chunks instead of leaving the slices whole.  I figured that would be easier for serving a large group. I also added an extra touch:

Pioneer Woman’s topping for overnight French Toast

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup cold butter
  1. Blend all ingredients together.
  2. Sprinkle on top of dish and bake.


I don’t remember if I boiled all the eggs the night before, or if I did it in the morning. But I do know that I boiled the potatoes in the morning. The recipe served 50, so I cut this one in half. Yup, plenty of leftovers, which nobody minded in the least. Caroline helped prepare the salad, and we had a lot of taste-testing so we could adjust the flavor as needed. I don’t think we made any significant changes.

The tuna sandwiches were pretty basic. I mixed the tuna with mayonnaise, S&P, some diced pickles and celery. If I have it available, I like to add cheese and tomato slices to the sandwich as well, but I don’t recall if I did that day. The outside of the bread was buttered (I do believe I actually used the last of some margarine – horrors, I know) and then the sandwiches were placed on a cookie sheet in the oven, at 425 *, I think, turning over halfway through.


  • Lentil Curry
  • Chinese Chicken Salad
  • Fried Rice

We only had nine people for dinner tonight, but I still quadrupled the recipe, to make 16 servings.  I cannot remember where I found the recipe, but at least I have it written in my notebook.

Lentil Curry

Serves 4

  • 1 cup dry lentils
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 1 Tablespoon curry opwder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 14 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  1. Cook lentils; set aside.
  2. In separate pan, cook onion in oil.
  3. Combine spices and add to onions; cook 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in tomatoes and heat through.
  5. Add cooked, drained lentils and combine.
  6. Serve over rice.

I got the recipe for the salad from a friend online.  I’m so glad I took the time to write this one down and put it on the menu.  It was a huge hit, and something I will happily make again for my family.

Chinese Chicken Salad

  • chopped Romaine and/or red leaf lettuce
  • chopped cucumber
  • chopped green onion
  • bean sprouts
  • chopped cooked chicken


  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
  • toasted almond slices for topping
  • toasted crushed ramen for topping

I think I doubled the dressing and just used what looked like a good amount of the salad ingredients. I remember there was some difficulty in acquiring bean sprouts. Apparently several stores were out because of a threat of salmonella, but I do think Kim was finally successful in locating some.  We did not have almond slices and I did not crush ramen, but I did have some of those crunchy Chinese noodles so we used those.

Have you ever made fried rice? I used to try it without any sort of directions, and it never turned out quite right, though my family would eat it anyway. After finally looking up a recipe and following it, and making the best stuff ever, I don’t need a recipe anymore. It’s not so much about what you add to it as it is about how you do it.

Fried Rice

  • Cold leftover rice (Some people make wonderful fried rice with hot freshly-made rice, but I prefer to use cold leftovers; it works better for me, and that’s how I learned to do it.)
  • Oil (Olive oil shouldn’t be used for high-heat cooking, but if that’s all you have use it. Sesame oil is great for fried rice, or even peanut or coconut oil.)
  • 1-2 eggs, scrambled
  • finely chopped veggies (Have all your additions chopped and ready to go. Leftover bits of cooked veggies work great, like onions and broccoli, but really you can use anything you have, even corn, though that isn’t authentic. If the veggies are small enough, you can start with raw.)
  • sliced green onions (I highly recommend green onions – save them for the very last.)
  • finely chopped meat (I like to have a bit of meat, too, so don’t feel compelled to always eat that last little bit of meat from a meal; wrap it up and save it for rice, since you don’t need much. Chop it into small pieces. I’ve used chicken, pork, roast, shrimp, even kielbasa and ground meat at times. But you can keep it vegetarian.)
  • soy sauce
  1. In a small skillet you need to scramble an egg or two. Cook them hard, not soft, in small pieces. Set aside.
  2. In a wok or very large skillet heat some oil. For a quart of rice I’d recommend ¼ cup. I think it’s better to have a bit too much oil rather than not enough.
  3. Add rice, making sure to use your fingers to eliminate any clumps. Stir constantly until heated through.
  4. Add soy sauce, enough to give it all a bit of a brown coloring. More can be added at the table to individual taste preference, which is better than having too much for the whole batch.
  5. Slide rice up sides of pan, leaving the bottom of wok empty. Using a bit more oil if desired, add veggies and meat, stirring until hot. Combine with rice.
  6. Add scrambled eggs and keep stirring.
  7. Remove from heat and add green onions. Serve to your adoring family or friends.


Cooking Day 3 – Wednesday May 15, 2013


  • Bagels
  • Yogurt
  • Scrambled eggs

Another fairly simple breakfast, but I know there are some, like me, who need protein to start the day off well.  Of course I didn’t make just plain eggs, I sauteed onions, garlic, peppers…whatever looked good when I went through the produce drawers in the refrigerator.


I baked 31 potatoes and we had 8 extra. I don’t remember for sure what toppings we actually had for the baked potatoes, but I think this was mostly it:

  • butter
  • sour cream
  • green onions
  • red onions
  • green bell pepper
  • leftover chili
  • grated cheese
  • salsa (both store-bought and homemade lacto-fermented)
  • turkey bacon bits
  • chopped tomato
  • olive slices
  • sliced pickled and fresh jalapeno
  • cilantro
  • garlic dressing

I got the bean salad recipe from an internet friend.  I tripled the recipe and used a variety of canned beans.  I didn’t have fresh basil, so dried had to work.

Cannellini Salad

  • 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed 
  • 1 small red bell pepper, seeded and chopped 
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves 
  • 2 Tbls olives, chopped 
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese 
  • tomato slices for garnish, if desired 
  • about 1/4 cup Italian dressing 

Mix all ingredients except tomato slices. Arrange tomatoes on top, if desired. Serves 4



I started the pie crust earlier in the day, since it needs to chill a while. I think I tripled the recipe, or possibly quadrupled. No food processor available, drat it, but I managed just fine the old fashioned way with a fork in the bowl and eventually my fingers to blend it. I had extra crust which got stashed in the fridge for later. When making this recipe for a dessert, I use half the salt.

Pie Crust

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
  1. Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand.
  2. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps.
  3. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan.

Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts

I just love the Pioneer Woman! I haven’t found a recipe of hers that I don’t like. However, one thing her recipe was lacking was potatoes, and I have a strong preference for potatoes in my pot pie! They got added to the pan after the carrots, celery, and onions had a few minutes of cooking. I made 3 casserole dishes, one vegetarian. How I managed that was to first assemble the veggie pan and then add the turkey to the remaining filling. We had plenty of leftovers, once again, which got put away for another day.

By this time we had tired of putting salad toppings into separate bowls, and just made it all mixed together.



Cooking Prep Work on Various Days

I hope I remember all of these accurately.  Regardless, everything listed here was done a day or more in advance of when it was required.

Sunday May 12

Three chickens were roasted. I think all three girls helped pick off the meat. The carcass, skin, and pieces that were determined to be less than desirable for enchiladas got put into a big stock pot. I covered them with water, added a glug of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to the pot, and let it sit for an hour or so before turning it on to cook. The ACV helps break down the bones so that the calcium and other minerals get into the stock making it more nutritious. Ideally you would want this to be from organic free-range chickens, and not conventionally-raised birds. Eggshells are another great addition for minerals and calcium, if they are from farm-fresh organic eggs rather than commercial grade.

We also mixed and baked and then froze the meatballs in preparation for the meatball stew later in the week. The onion skins got added to the stock pot.

At home when I cook I keep all onion skins (yes, the dried parts) and ends and other veggie scraps in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I have bones ready to be turned into stock I then add all the frozen bits for extra flavor and nutrition. I don’t use potato peelings, though they might be fine, I just have never tried it. Carrot ends, celery leaves, ginger peelings, tomato cores, etc. are all good additions.  Sometimes I will add whole garlic cloves and a slice or two of ginger to the pot for extra yumminess. It’s important to cook slowly! I get it to a boil, then turn it down to low, cover, and let it simmer for at least 24 hours. Sometimes I will strain off some of the broth and put it into glass jars at this point and then add more water and let it go another 24 hours. Another option is to use a large crock pot on the low setting, but still let it go a full day.

I started a gallon of Nourishing Traditions ginger ale.  In the past I made this per the recipe with Rapadura, and I much prefer the flavor with honey.  It sat atop the fridge to ferment for three days before we had some.  It was pretty, and fun to watch the lime and ginger pieces “dance” up and down the jar during the process.  When it was time to serve, it got diluted with 1/3-1/2 water.


Monday May 13

Salad greens got washed and then spin-dried. We borrowed Stephanie’s mesh laundry bag, put some of the greens in it, and then someone took it outside and swung it around to shake off the water.  Kind of fun.  🙂

Wednesday May 15

I had a turkey roasting all morning, and in the afternoon Caroline got to pick the meat off the bird carcass, which then went into the largest pot with more onion and veggies scraps to make more broth. This pot stayed on the stove top for several days, scooping out broth as needed and topping off with fresh water each time, and adding more scraps.


Andrew, one of the workshop helpers, brought his own food for meals, and was so good about sticking to a Weston A. PriceNourishing Traditions and GAPS diet.  I wish that we had the funding to cook that way for the entire workshop crowd, but I did the best I could with what was available. One of the items he brought was raw sauerkraut (purchased at a store) that was garlic dill pickle flavored. Oh my, did that smell and taste wonderful! This inspired me to start some homemade kraut.

Kim brought home 4 heads of cabbage and I got busy chopping and squeezing all of it. I divided it into two separate gallon containers, leaving one plain. To the other I added sliced garlic and cucumbers and dried dill, in an attempt to replicate Andrew’s.  (It was good, but not quite the same.)


Homemade kraut is really very simple to make. One head of cabbage makes about a quart of kraut. Start by slicing or chopping the cabbage into the size you want. Place in a large bowl, sprinkle liberally with sea salt, and start squishing it. If you have liquid whey it can be added, but it isn’t necessary; you will still get all the good enzymes and probiotics. You can pound it, but using your hands to squeeze it is actually more efficient, plus it’s kind of fun. Your goal is to get enough liquid to cover all the cabbage. Most fermentation processes, including kraut, require an anaerobic environment. This means that you want the kraut to be completely covered with liquid, nothing sticking up into the air. Whatever isn’t covered is likely to get moldy. This doesn’t mean you have to dump the whole batch, however; simply carefully scoop off the offending part and throw it away.

I put each half into glass gallon containers, so they were about half full. You will want to press it down firmly, using a knife or something to get any air bubbles out. If you don’t have enough cabbage juice to cover it you can make a salt water solution to supplement. Then the cabbage needs to be weighed down with something to keep it submerged. Since I don’t have a real crock with weights I use glass jars. I then take a clean large plastic bag bag, ziplock works great, and add water to act as a weight. One tip is to use salt water, so that if your bag springs a leak you aren’t watering down the kraut. Don’t fill to the top of the jar, though, because as the cabbage ferments it will bubble and possibly overflow. Another good tip is to set your jar atop a towel.

The jars got set on the fridge and left alone for a week before we taste-tested, and was served after 9 days total at the final dinner.

My notes say that I was supposed to boil eggs for Thursday, but I don’t remember if I did it, or if that happened the next morning. I did 3 dozen.

Breakfast was prepped this night to go into the oven Thursday morning.

Thursday May 16

I’m pretty sure this is the day I started soaking pinto beans and white beans (separate containers) for about 12 hours. They then got rinsed and drained 2-3 times a day until I was ready to cook them.

Before bed I prepared two crocks with oats for the next morning’s breakfast. It only requires 6 hours of cooking, so hubby set the alarm for 2am so I could get up and turn them on.

Saturday May 18 and Tuesday May 21

Two more nights where breakfast was prepped ahead of time, though technically it was all done on the 18th.  We just made enough for two meals.


Cooking Day 2 – Tuesday May 14, 2013


  • Rice with raisins, sugar, milk
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit bowl

I had originally planned to make oatmeal for breakfast, but we had so much rice I decided that was a better choice. I left the rice in the cooker overnight on the warm setting, so people could scoop some out, add raisins, sugar, milk to their liking. We also had some individual serving sized flavored yogurt as well as a larger vanilla container. Apples and oranges were available, as well as the ever-present coffee and tea choices.


  • Chili
  • Cornbread
  • Green salad
  • Rice

I did not follow a recipe for chili; I winged it, and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I used canned beans rather than the preferred soaked and sprouted. I didn’t record quantities used, but this is my method:

  1. Brown ground turkey. Set aside.
  2. In separate pan, saute plenty of chopped onions and minced garlic. Put into large pot.
  3. Add chili powder and canned tomatoes and tomato sauce.
  4. Add canned beans. Put small portion (2-3 servings?) into smaller pot for our resident vegetarian.
  5. Add meat to large pot.
  6. Simmer until lunch time, tasting and adding more spices (salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, etc.) as needed.

Corn bread was from a mix, so that was easy. Green salad was green…with assorted toppings. Rice was still warm in cooker. There were bowls of grated Mexican blend cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, cilantro, and red onions as optional chili toppings.



I had originally scheduled this to be Wednesday’s meal, but I didn’t have the meat ready for Tuesday’s plan, so they got swapped.

The meatballs were in the freezer waiting for us, prepared ahead of time on Sunday. Yay, us! After lunch all we had to do was cut potatoes and mushrooms and then layer in the roaster with the meatballs and let the oven do its thing. I had to use chicken broth since I didn’t have any beef broth on hand, but nobody noticed or complained. There wasn’t really a way to make a portion of this recipe vegetarian, but the meatballs were large enough that they could be picked out.

For the dinner rolls I knew we’d need a bit longer than an hour so I asked the girls to come in around 4:15. We still weren’t quite ready at 6, but hunger makes everyone appreciate the food all the more, right? The recipe makes 24 rolls, but I figured everyone would want at least 2 apiece (and there were about 12 of us) so we made 1.5 times the recipe rather than doubling it. We had 10 or 11 rolls left over, as predicted, and they went into a ziplock bag in the freezer. I had to do a mix of white, pastry flour, and whole wheat flour again, but I tried to keep the ww down to ¼ of the mix so that they would be light and fluffy. Courtney helped knead the dough.  Caroline, Courtney, and I each worked on a pan of rolls, and we decided that next time we’d do fancy shapes instead of plain round rolls.

Caroline made some Ranch Dressing, loosely based on the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, and it turned out VERY garlicky, which nobody seemed to mind. We didn’t have fresh chives or dill, but used finely minced green onions and dried dill. There also wasn’t any flat-leaf parsley to be found when we did the shopping, so we were forced to use regular curly parsley. It worked, but I highly recommend using the flat-leaf variety. I also made some Italian Vinaigrette.

  • 1/3 cup Apple Cider or Balsamic vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 clove pressed garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk all ingredients together and let sit 1 hour before serving for best flavor.