Cranberry Upside-down Cake

This is one of my favorite holiday cakes, mostly because I love cranberries and this cake highlights them so nicely.  It’s quick and easy to make.  It is also tart, not too sweet (which is a good thing, because the holidays can easily be a sweets-overload on the palate), and is perfect with whipped cream. The inspiration is from an upside down cake in Fannie Famer Baking Book that used canned cranberry jelly (which turned out, shall we say… less than super?   So, I reworked the recipe a lot, and feel okay calling it my own because it is now an entirely different cake from Fannie’s.) Larksong’s

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Local Dinner II

We’re still trying to eat local when at all possible (Meaning, when it’s a prudent use of our financial resources.)  That includes growing our own food whenever we can.  This dinner contained: from Oregon - 8 young organic carrots (from our garden), 1 onion, 3 garlic cloves, 2 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 ambrosia apple, large handful of cranberries,  3 small links organic bratwurst, dried parsley (from a friend’s garden)  from Washington – merlot for drinking and in the sauce from California – organic brown rice, organic white rice (the sticking point on “all local” is always the grain or pasta, which I can never seem

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Simple Lunch

Some friends and I were talking about our “life is crazy, Mama is stressed and tired, but the kids need something healthy but quick to eat and I’m not breaking down and getting Taco Bell!!!” meals.  I’ve been having “one of those weeks” for the last 3 weeks straight, so I thought I’d share one of my standby quick/easy/fairly healthy meals.  It consisted of free-range scrambled eggs (cooked in butter and topped with smoked Spanish paprika), homemade organic blackberry-applesauce (which we had canned back in September), and a glass of whole milk.  I know, a little lacking on veggies, but it’s much better

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Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

This is the world’s easiest frosting.   It’s super tasty, not too sweet, doesn’t use refined sugar, and goes well with carrot cake, gingerbread, banana cake, or any spice cake, including Apple Sauce Cranberry Cake. Take the word of these two experts – it’s beyond delicious.  Larksong’s Honey Cream Cheese Frosting 1 stick unsalted butter, softened 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened 1/4 cup honey (I used local, organic lavender honey) 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract Directions: In your Kitchenaid stand mixer, with the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and butter until whipped and fluffy.  Beat in honey and vanilla until fully

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Apple Sauce Cranberry Cake

This is my favorite baking book.  My mother gave it to my husband for Christmas one year when we were still dating.  I bake from it at least once a week.  After Martha, it’s my old standby for great recipes (A Little Warning: I have found several recipes that did not work out well the first time, and needed quite a bit of tweaking, so my book is full of notes and corrections.  If you’re not an experienced baker, this book may disappoint because your recipe may not rise or set or fit in the pan, or may be too

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Making Chapatis

I’m a big fan of Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbooks (her vindaloo paste is one of the best recipes I’ve ever tried - just heavenly).   We tend to cook a lot of Indian food around here.  On Thursday, I had planned to make a Madhur red lentil/spinach dish and a side dish of spicy tomatoes/eggplants and I assumed I’d make a pot of basmati rice to go with it.  Agh!  We were out of rice!  No problem, I’d whip up some naan instead.  I check my fridge and what do you know – no yogurt!!  Real naan has to be made with yogurt, so we scrapped that idea and decided to try something new – chapati bread.

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A Hearty Fall Meal

It’s that time of year – cold days spent out-of-doors that chill your nose and toes, and the colder nights that follow.  At our house, that means slow cooked meals that can simmer on the stove for hours, warming our little home and filling it with wonderful aromas.  (I think I instinctually add richer ingredients as well, which often leads to a little fall padding on me and my hubby.  Good thing I’m nursing a ravenous baby boy, so my waistline is shrinking instead of expanding this fall!) I know we’re not alone, but lately we’re feeling the economic pinch a bit, so dinners

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A Little Cheer Up

Little Hen has been hit with a yucky stomach bug, and Tum Tum is cutting his first tooth, so it’s been a bit of a rough day around here.  To cheer everyone up and to ease Little Hen back into food with something gentle on the tummy, I made Blue Yonder’s Daily Bread.  (I was out of bread flour, so I used unbleached all-purpose flour plus 2 Tbsp gluten.)  The results? Easy and delicious.  We ate half a loaf in one sitting!  This recipe is a keeper. Thanks, Blue Yonder, for the inspiring recipe.   Wishing you a cheer-up in your afternoon, if you need one, too!

Local Harvest, Local Catch

We used to live on the Oregon Coast, and the girls were used to enjoying dinners of fresh caught salmon or steelhead, and sometimes even elk.  Now that we’ve moved back to the city, those days seem long gone.  The girls were very happy when, last evening, my hubby brought home some freshly smoked, locally caught, NW salmon from one of his students.    Dinner was almost 100% locally produced – the exception being the rice, which was grown in California (so, at least it was all West Coast produced).  We had steamed rice, topped with tomatoes and peas (from our garden), and local

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Blow out the candles on your birthday…pie?

Yesterday was my sweet hubby’s birthday!!  He had requested a beef pot roast with carrots, onion, potatoes (my mom’s recipe, it’s unbelieveably simple and ridiculously tasty) and a side of egg noodles for his birthday dinner (This is a real treat – we only eat meat about one or two days a month, and then usually only a small portion).  We are having cake later today with his family, so I made him a cashew pie (his favorite) for dessert.  Firecracker helped roll out the dough and she did the edging of the crust with a fork all by herself.  Larksong’s Cashew Pie One pie crust (see the

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Butternut Gnocchi

I roasted a Butternut Squash one morning this week in order to make flax-seed meal squash bread (tastes much better than it sounds!).  It was doubly nice, because it  warmed the chilly house and the smell of roasting squash was so yummy.  The bread only takes 1 3/4 cup squash, so i had quite a bit leftover.  My mom had told me how much she and dad liked the butternut squash gnocchi recipe from a recent issue of our favorite magazine (below).  So, I thought I’d give it a try.    The gnocchi were easy to make (and less fiddly than Martha’s recipe).  Firecracker and I whipped

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Green Tomato Pickles – Two Simple Versions

The cold nights here have finally done-in my tomatoes.  The other day, I spent the afternoon making two batches of green tomato pickles while the girls played under the back stoop in the drizzle (they fled the house as soon as the smell of boiling vinegar began to fill the kitchen!) Larksong’s Lemon Rosemary Green Tomato Pickles 6-8 large green tomatoes 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary 4 large cloves of garlic 4 3-inch long strips of lemon zest (I peel lengthwise down the lemon with a veggie peeler) 2 1/2 C water 2 1/2 C white vinegar 2 Tbsp white

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Sweet, Spicy Goodness of Fall

Earlier this week, I got around to making my Caramel Spice Pear Butter with some of the pears from our Hood River trip.  I’ve been fiddling with the recipe for years, and think i finally got it perfect this year – the right balance of homemade caramel, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice.  One batch uses 22 pears, so our stash is significantly reduced.  The rest will be eaten fresh, go into vanilla pear pie or pear-gingerbread cake (This recipe is so scrumptious, and I make it for Thanksgiving especially, but can’t take the credit for it, it’s all Martha) .   I

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New Babies = Baking Time!

Two friends recently had babies (both big healthy boys 9lb 9oz, and 10 lb 14 oz!) and I signed up to bring them dinners.  Wednesday was a marathon of baking – black bean and carrot stew with brown rice for both, beer bread and ginger chew cookies with plum jam filling for one family, and olive oil bread and apple crumble pie for the other (one family had an egg allergy, so i had to make no-egg bread and dessert for them)  I forgot to soak the beans overnight, so I did a quick soak at 8 am, and was cooking

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Busy Days, Simple Dinners

For homeschool, we are exploring the letter “B” this week and butterfly crafts, blowing bubbles, beekeeping books, and butter making abound.   Little Hen suggested that we bake Banana Bread this morning.  I thought a simple dinner of the bread served next to Black Beans with carrots and Brown rice would round out the B theme nicely.  I love the nutty, rich smell of black beans cooking on the stove.  Simple Banana Bread by Larksong 2 large bananas, mashed 3/4 C sugar 2 large eggs 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled 1 C unbleached flour 1/2 C whole wheat flour 1/2

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Grape Harvest

The few precious grapes from our grapevine were finally ready today (not sure of the variety, but they are very flavorful).  I snapped this shot as quickly as I could – because, well, as you can see below, they didn’t last long!

Brady Street Potato Dig

      I am a huge fan of Penzey’s Spices, and find that their spices add so much to the simple, mostly vegetarian, dinners we cook around here. Their Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle is awesome mixed with sour cream and tossed over garden veggies.  We had a heat wave last week that sent our potatoes over the edge a few weeks early, so two days ago we dug up the baby potatoes and tonight we’re enjoying the creamy new potatoes with the first of our fall shell peas in Brady Street sour cream sauce.  So yummy and so very

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Summer’s End

Sigh…we had such a beautiful summer.  Today was the first day it actually felt like autumn here in the Pacific Northwest, and i’m a little sad to see days of peach picking and making raspberry jam come to an end.  Peach-raspberry pie with oatmeal crumb topping I’ll just try to look forward to the pear butter, bread baking, and hours and hours of knitting that the short, dark, rainy days to come will allow.

Plum Pie

In the front yard of our old house we had a very productive Italian prune plum tree.  The girls would eat several every day, and I would make tarts and pies.  Now we have moved back to the city, and I miss my plum tree and its bounty.  So, when my husband’s coworker gave us a bowl full of Italian prune plums from her tree yesterday, I knew exactly what I’d do with them this morning – country plum galette.  We glazed it with some black plum jam that Firecracker and I made in August.  There were even enough left

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Getting it together

  This crafty/knitting/baking/homeschooling mama blog under construction   Please check back ina  bit!  thanks!

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