Swedish Rye Quick Bread

“The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight…” ~ M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

 Quick Swedish Rye Bread

In my attempt to limit my white flour usage, I am always searching for new sources of information about grains. A new cookbook by Erin Alderson entitled The Homemade Flour Cookbook is a wealth of information.

As Erin indicates in her book, she started milling flours to have fresh, unrefined flour. She wanted flours that are not stripped of all their nutrients. The book provides all the information needed to start milling at home. The great thing is that a lot of the equipment needed, such as a high powered blender, a food processor, nut mills and coffee grinders, can already be found in our kitchens.

I had company last weekend and the Swedish Rye Quick Bread recipe seemed like the perfect recipe to try. It played double duty as a delicious bread and as the main ingredient for French toast.

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Homemade Potato Gnocchi

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” ~ Federico Fellini

Fresh Potato Gnocchi with Pesto Sauce

This potato gnocchi was one of the dishes I learned to make at the Villa Ida cooking school in Sorrento, Italy. A primo is the first course in an Italian meal. Pasta, such as risotto, polenta and gnocchi, is the typical dish served for this course.

We learned that potato dough is a frequent choice for fresh pasta because it does not need to dry before cooking. It is fairly easy to make and so satisfying, both in taste and in the knowledge that you made it yourself.

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Strawberry Balsamic and Olive Oil Breakfast Cake

“Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did.” ~ Dr. William Butler, 17th century English writer

Upside Down Cake with Strawberries, Balsamic Vinegar And Olive Oil

It is strawberry season in the Northeastern part of the US. It only lasts about five weeks, so I find myself at the fruit and vegetable stand at least twice a week. I can’t get enough. I eat them sliced on breakfast cereal. Tonight, I put them in my salad with shrimp and peaches.  I’ll share that recipe soon. They are also delicious dropped into a glass of Riesling wine.

Last year I was all about roasted strawberry rhubarb shortcake and Italian style strawberry shortcake. This year, I was craving something really unusual.

Well, I am never disappointed at the Food 52 blog site. The Strawberry Balsamic and Olive Oil cake from Indieculinary fit the unusual bill.


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Peach Basil Sorbet

“Juicy summer peaches are turned into a velvety sorbet spiked with basil. A perfect ending to a summer meal.” ~ Cooking Light

Fresh Peach and Basil Sorbet

Summer arrives tomorrow Saturday June 21st at 6:51 am. EDT. After the snowy winter and the wet spring that has enveloped the northeastern part of the US, I am crossing my fingers that summer will actually descend upon us.

With that thought in mind, summer brings to mind ice cream. I remember piling into the station wagon with my siblings and driving to the ice cream shack near the airport. After getting our cones, the entire family would sit and watch the airplanes land. As children we looked forward to this weekly event.  To this day, when I drive by the airport, fond memories come flooding back, and there are still designated parking areas to watch the planes.

This peach-basil sorbet, from Cooking Light, combines two of my favorite flavors.

Peach Basil sorbet

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Whole Grain Danish Pastry

“Light and tender, just a little bit sweet, fresh Danish are a treat by any measure.” ~ King Arthur Flour

Whole Grain Fruit Danish Pastry

When I asked my husband what he wanted for Father’s Day his reply was, “Pastries from Monica’s.” On our recent trip to Italy, my husband walked to Monica’s pastry shop almost every day. He had to get there early or his favorite breakfast treats were gone.  Everything in this pastry shop was delicious.

Monica's Pastry Shop

Since I couldn’t get what he wanted, I decided to try my hand at making my own pastries. I actually was excited because I have never tried to make pastry dough.

I wanted them to be as healthy as possible so I looked for a recipe in the King Arthur Flour’s Whole Grain Baking cookbook. Whole Grain Danish Pastry was the recipe I chose.  They came out quite well.  My husband loved them even though they were not exactly like what we had in Italy.
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A Junior Girl Scout Celebration

Celebrating Healthy Food Options

According to Merriam Webster, a celebration is doing something special or enjoyable for an important event or occasion. A few days ago, I attended an end of the year celebration for Junior Girl Scout Troop 1546 in Delmar, New York. This event was particularly memorable for the girls because it marked the end of their scouting career which began when they were in kindergarten.


The troop had been learning about healthier food options such as organic products, free range eggs and unrefined sugars. In order to demonstrate their understanding of these options, each Girl Scout was asked to choose a recipe, replace the original ingredients with healthier choices and prepare the revised recipe for café night.

Girl Scouts

My role was to sample these delicacies and to choose a winning recipe. Let me say that this was not an easy assignment because the creativity that was demonstrated by each and every scout was outstanding.

Here is a list of the recipes that were prepared:

  • Organic Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Chocolate covered strawberries

  • Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Smoochy Smoothies
  • Summer in a Jar Lemonade

Summer in a Jar

  • Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberry Short Cakes

  • Teddy Bear Beach Cupcakes


  • Easy Cheesies

Easy cheesies

  • Cinnamon Buns

cinnamon buns

  • Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy Brownies

  • No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies

  • Chouquettes


Since both treats and beverages were prepared, I decided to choose a winner from both categories. After sampling every treat and questioning each Girl Scout about her choices and substitutions, I want to congratulate the following winners:

Caleigh for her Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gennavie and Joanna for their Smoochy Smoothies

Smoochy Smoothies

These recipes were not only delicious but every ingredient in the recipes was a healthy option.


Girl Scout

I would like to thank troop leader Michelle Heffernan for the opportunity to participate in this event. Additionally, I want to congratulate the entire Girl Scout troop for a job well done!

Girl Scout


For the recipes, please see the posts entitled Smoothies and Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies.


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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies


Healthy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This post contains  the winning cookie recipe from Cafe night with Junior Girl Scout Troop 1546.  Learn about the whole experience here.

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies



Caleigh modified Carolyn O’Neil’s recipe found in The Southern Living Slim Down South Cookbook by substituting organic peanut butter, organic sugar and free range organic eggs for the original ingredients.





These cookies are absolutely delicious!!


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Healthy Smoothies

These are the winning smoothie recipes from Cafe night with Junior Girl Scout Troop 1546.  Learn about the whole experience here.


Smoochy Smoothies

Strawberry Orange Smoothie:

Blend together

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup organic strawberries
  • Juice of one orange

Strawberry Banana Smoothie:

Blend together

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 organic banana
  • 1 cup organic strawberries

Kale, Pineapple Strawberry Smoothie:

Blend together

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup pineapple
  • 1/2 cup organic strawberries
  • 1 -2 cups organic kale

Blueberry, Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie:

Blend together

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup organic blueberries
  • 1/2 cup organic strawberries
  • 1/2 cup pineapple

Orange Banana Smoothie:

Blend together

  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 organic banana
  • Juice of one orange

Each smoothie serves 2

Genna and Joanna

Genna and Joanna said that protein powders could be added to the smoothies for additional energy.  They replaced any fruit on the Dirty Dozen List with an organic option.



The smoothies were wonderful.  My favorite was the Kale Smoothie.

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Fried Zucchini Flowers

“The edible flower of a zucchini is a delicate and ephemeral treat.” ~ Neda Ulaby, NPR

Batter Dipped and Fried Zucchini Blossoms

My husband and I have been vacationing in Italy for the past month. During our travels, I had the opportunity to take a wonderful cooking class at the Villa Ida in Sorrento, Italy. The experience was absolutely delightful, and I had the opportunity to learn about regional recipes that have been a part of the Italian culture for generations.

One of the dishes we prepared was fried zucchini flowers that was served as an appetizer. In Italy, there are zucchini flower plants that produce flowers that will not grow into a zucchini, but are used instead for stuffing, frying or raw accents in salads.

If you are able to find zucchini or squash blossoms at a farmer’s market or food co-op, these are a wonderful treat.

Fried Zucchini Flower blossoms

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Chocolate Chip Cookies


“Cookies are made of butter and love.” ~ Norwegian Proverb

Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Most everyone loves a chocolate chip cookie, especially when it is fresh from the oven. There is something intoxicating about warm buttery cookies that have melted chocolate chips in them.  For me it is a favorite.

One of the best things about this recipe is that you hand mix the ingredients.  The simplicity gives it that old fashioned feeling that is reminiscent of our grandmothers.  I love it!!

Additionally, I sent away for a very lovely mason jar that comes with a glass straw.  I used it for a creative way to serve a cookie with milk.  It would be great for parties.

chocolate chip cookies

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