Friday, November 4, 2011

Paper-Free Tip #1- How to Deal with Grease

Wanna make Bacon?? How about Fried Chicken? Doughnuts? Here are some tips and tricks I have found to be very helpful in keeping my kitchen paper free and still be able to enjoy fried things. (In moderation of course-wink wink!!)


I have had a few questions from some of my amazing readers about how to deal with bacon and still have a paper-free kitchen. I have come up with a few ideas.

Baking Bacon-


picture source-


I like this idea for a few reasons-

1. When you bake bacon it doesn't shrivel up and cooks flat.

2. it won’t fill your house with smoke.

3 Baking it on your broiler pan will help all the grease to render off the bacon and reserve it in the bottom. You can pour it into a glass jar and save the bacon grease for future baking needs.

4. Also you can leave the bacon on the broiler pan for a few minutes after you pull it out f the oven to it can drain. No need for paper towels



draining fried foods

Picture source-



Frying food- Fired Chicken, Onion Rings Etc.

Place a wire rack in a baking sheet. It will help the oil to drip off the food and it won’t get soggy like on a paper towel.


I’m sure you are thinking “this is all well and good Hona but that’s a big mess to clean up!” Well not so fast…


To clean these greasy pans put a few drops of dish soap right in the greasy pan BEFORE you add any water. Work into a lather. It will feel silky and turn a whitish color. Rinse the pan in hot hot hot water. Get as much water off as possible and add a bit more dish soap. Repeat a few more times until the pan is grease free. It usually take 3 rounds for me to get the pan clean.

To get the grease off your hand I have had more success using hand soap rather then dish soap. It tends to rinse off my skin a bit faster.



Look back in a few days for even more tips on how to make your Kitchen Paper Free!!!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November Challenge-A Paper-free Thanksgiving

I think this is truly a tough challenge but I have faith in you all!!! Here it is-






I Challenge you to make your kitchens paper free for the entire month of November. No paper towels, no paper napkins, no paper plates.


Think you can do it?? I Know you can! Good luck. Check back in the next few days for lots of ideas on how to de-paper your Kitchen.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dining Room Challenge Wrap-up

So…. how did you do? To be honest I did OK. There were times where I didn’t feel like dressing the table up or craft projects were too much fun to clean up for dinner so we at the counter bar, but for the most part my table had a cloth on it and a centerpiece. I will make one confession however… I don’t iron my table cloths!! Please don’t tell Martha Stewart!!


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And yes, I did sew that tablecloth myself! (don’t look at the corners too closely) 

I hope you all enjoyed this challenge. I found it was fun to focus on just one space and keep it pretty. My entire Kitchen/Dining room looked happier, friendlier, and cleaner with a decorated table. Watch out for another fun Challenge for November. Good luck!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homemade BBQ Sauce

I don’t talk about it much but I am in the (long) process of writing my first cookbook. At the moment I have been working on a sauces chapter.For those of you who follow me on facebook, you might have noticed I have been talking a lot about sauces for the last few weeks. Testing out recipes and tweaking to make them perfect is really fun, time consuming, but FUN!!! One such recipe is BBQ sauce. I just made a batch that is by far THE, BEST. EVER. And I just had to hop online at 10:00 at night and type it out before I forgot what I did. This stuff is amazing. You should go make it right now!


Leahona’s “It’s Gonna Be Famous” BBQ sauce

1 cup ketchup (homemade is best but store bought will work too)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup vinegar (I use plain but you could use apple cider vinager, I just don’t enjoy the flavor)

Raisin paste (recipe at the bottom)

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp cracked black pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp paprika

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon corn syrup (you could double the honey if you don’t want to use corn syrup)

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/8 tsp liquid smoke

1/8 tsp Worcestershire sauce

combine all ingredients in a sauce pan. cook on med heat stiring frequently for about 20 minutes. Cool and enjoy!!


Raisin Paste

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup water

Put water and raisins in a microwavable bowl. Heat in microwave on high for 3 minutes. let cool a few minutes. Pour raisins and water into a small blender and puree.



I had this sauce with some leftover pork roast. It was the best BBQ pork sandwich I have ever had. IF you get a chance to make this let me know. I would love to hear about it.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Product Review- MoBoleez™ - modern bonnets for breastfeeding babes!

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When I am not cooking up a storm in the kitchen I am a full time nursing mama to a beautiful baby girl. I am always on the lookout for the next best thing in baby products. Work at home moms (WAHM) come up with some cool stuff and I love trying them out.

A while back I was watching a web show with a lady who gives nursing/mommy advice. During the show she was giving out a prize to a lucky viewer and it was a nursing hat. I had never seen anything like it before and I really wanted to try it out.

I looked into the company and product and I really liked what I saw. MoBoleez nursing hats come in a wide array of designs and sizes. I loved browsing the website, looking at all of the awesome hats. I have the milky way hat in green. It is so easy to buy one. You can order from the website, or you can find them on One thing I love it their facebook page. They give our info and it is a great place to share with other moms.

When I got nursing hat in the mail I tried it out right away. There is a bit of a learning curve, at least for me in figuring out how to stay modest and get her on to nurse. I loved not having anything around my neck and I noticed It has great coverage but I felt much more comfortable using it when I was wearing a nursing shirt. The baby liked it very much. And looks stinkin cute wearing it as well. The hat fits very nicely in my diaper bag and it great for on the go nursing sessions. I really like that it comes in different sizes so it always fits baby snuggly. For those of you that are nursing I think you will love MoBoleez!!


Disclaimer- I received a MoBoleez Nursing hat in exchange for my product review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

October Challenge-Dining room

So I have decided to issue a challenge every month not only for you, my wonderful reader, but for me to help get my tooshy in gear around the house. This month I thought I would try a challenge I had done in the past with a bit of success. Ok here it is,,,

I challenge you to keep your dining room table clear and decorated all month long!

And I would love for you to send me pictures of your beautiful table arrangements for a future blog post at the end of the month. I know this is a big deal in my house. Being a home school family I use my dining room table as a classroom all the time. I don’t mean to say with the challenge that you can’t use your dining room table but when you are not using it to keep it looking pretty. It is amazing to me how much better my kitchen looks when the table is clean and has a fresh tablecloth in it. I must confess that with 3 little ones I take everything off my table before every meal and redecorate it after the meal is over.

I think this is going to be fun and I can’t wait to see all of your pictures!! Good luck everyone!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Braised Cucumbers

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Ever since i saw the movie “Julie and Julia” I have been intrigued by the idea of braised cucumbers. Well I finally got up the nerve to make them and let me tell you… THE ROCK!!!!!

The original recipe I found called for mint but I didn’t have any so I used some marjoram from the garden and wow it was awesome.


Here is the recipe I came up with…


4 cucumbers peeled, seeded and cut into spears

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tap fresh cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest

5 to 8 marjoram leaves, chopped


Melt the butter in a skillet and toss in the cucumbers. Sauté until they turn slightly browned all over. Add salt, pepper and lemon zest. Continue to cook for a few more minutes. Take off heat and stir in marjoram.



I love trying new recipes. I hope you like this one!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preserving Basil

I went a “tad” crazy planting basil this year. This is a bed of basil in my

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yard. I have another one I didn’t take a picture of.  I think there are 10 plants here. I had another 8 plants in that other bed.

I have enjoyed very much having fresh basil in the garden to run out and pick whenever I wanted. When the basil started to bloom it was time to pick it all. I ended up with about 5 pounds of basil!


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It smelled amazing in our house. But picking all the leaves from the stems took FOREVER!!!

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In this picture you can see all of the basil leaves in the basket. I was pretty excited and slightly overwhelmed on what to do with all that basil. The first thing that popped in my head was pesto! So I made 3 kinds!!!


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This one is Almond Lemon Basil Pesto. It’s pretty much amazing. I bet you want the recipe, huh? I found it here.

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I also froze some. I took some basil and chopped it up and stuffed it in ice cube trays, filled it with water and froze it. When the ice cubes were done I tossed them in a zip top bag and now whenever I make a soup I can toss in an ice cube of basil!


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The last of the basil I dried in the dehydrator. The garage smelled amazing!


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I also decided to try to save the seeds. We let a few plants go to seed and hung up the seed pods to dry to hopefully save the seeds for next years garden.


I hope you have found some interesting ideas on how to keep the flavors of summer with you all winter long.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roasted Veggie Pizza

So tonight for dinner I made this amazing pizza and I thought I would share with you how I put it together.

 First I sliced up onions, tomatoes, and zucchini. I spritzed them with a little olive oil and hit them with some salt and pepper. I stuck them in a hot oven (425) for 10 minutes, flipped them and baked them for another 10 minutes. I made my roll recipe and rolled half of the dough into a pizza crust. the other half I used to make cinnamon rolls for dessert!!
For the sauce I used Hunts brand chunky veggie pasta sauce. I love it! It has carrots, onions, celery, and zucchini in it along with the tomato sauce. I put all  the toppings on with some mozzarella cheese (except for 1/4 we left cheese less for Bella [dairy allergy]) baked in a 400 oven for 20 minutes. It was pretty much amazing! I love this pizza! Not only is it super good for you with all the veggies but the roasted veggies have some awesome flavor. I have found if you pre cook them your pizza won't get soggy.

Also I have to give a shout out to my awesome hubby who works so hard in the garden. The tomatoes, zucchini, onions, and basil (which was added after I took the picture, sorry) all came from our garden!! I hope the next time you have family pizza night you take a few minutes to roast up a few veggies to top it with. Trust me it's worth it!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna!!

I don't know who told me about this (if it was you... let me know!) But I have been making this for a few years now and we just love it! One thing I love about crock pots is the walk away factor. I love to cook, but every once in a while I just want a break and it is so fun to have the crock pot do all of the work for me.

Crock Pot Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion diced small
2-3 garlic cloves crushed
1-2 zucchini sliced into circles
2 cups mozzarella cheese
1 16 oz tub ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/8 cup dried parsley
2 bottles prepared Tomato Pasta sauce
1 package no boil lasagna noodles

In a skillet brown ground beef and onions and garlic. Add 1 1/2 bottles of tomato pasta sauce. Set aside. In a medium bowl combine ricotta cheese, egg, dried parsley, and Parmesan cheese. Set aside. In the crock pot first add the 1/2 cup reserved tomato pasta sauce. add a layer of noodles (I use 3 to 4 noodles per layer and break them in half to get them to fit). On top of the noodles spread 1/4th of the ricotta cheese mixture followed by several zucchini slices and a good handful of mozzarella cheese. After that ladle some of the meat mixture over top. Continue layering until you either run out of room or ingredients. Cover and set crock pot on high. Let cook for 3-4 hours.

It is so good and so easy to make. It serves 6-8 easy. We get at least 2 meals each time we make it. Enjoy!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

White Chicken Chili and Cornbread

Today it feels more October and not at all like July so I decided to make White Chicken
 Chili and cornbread for dinner.

 It was pretty amazing! And before I forget what I did if figured I would post a blog with the recipe.

White Chicken Chili

4 cups navy beans cooked and drained
1 onion chopped fine
2 cloves garlic chopped fine
2 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts cooked and shredded
1 cup Verde salsa
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 small splash of liquid smoke (I have chipotle flavored... YUM!!!)

Take 2 cups of the navy beans and mash them up. set aside. In a big, heavy bottomed pot saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add everything else and simmer for about 30 minutes. Serve with shredded pepper jack cheese if desired.


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
4 tsp baking powder
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk

Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl. Add additional ingredients and stir until combined. Pour batter into an 8x8 baking dish and bake at 425 for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center on the cornbread is clean.

It was a huge hit with the kids and it is very mild. If you want to kick up the heat (like I did) add a few drops of your favorite hot sauce.

I hope you are having sunnier weather wherever you are! Feel free to save these recipes for a far off fall day!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Seitan Tacos

Meatless Monday's around here are never going to be the same again! I have discovered Seitan! It is a sub. for meat made from wheat gluten. It's pretty fun to make and tastes really good. You can make it into lots of different things. I decided my first attempt would be to make taco filling.

I got out my trusty grain mill and milled up about 2 1/2 pound (weight AFTER milling) of whole wheat flour. I mixed it with water and made it into a dough. keeping the dough in the bowl I rinsed it in the sink with the water running. The starch and the bran washed away and left the gluten. It formed into a spongy ball. Once the water ran clear I cut the gluten into 2 inch pieces and rolled them out into a sort of cutlet type shape. I boiled them in broth (you can use any kind you want (beef, chicken, veggie, fish) for 1 hour. Then I drained them and chopped them up. at this point you could do just about any recipe that calls for ground beef. I decided to make taco filling. I sauteed the seitan with some mushrooms and onions, I added my taco seasoning and some water/corn flour mix and... bingo! Taco filling! The ladies at church tried the "meat" with some whole wheat tortillas I made. It got rave reviews! Everyone LOVED it! I hope you take a chance with this "wheat meat"! You won't be sorry! (unless you have gluten issues then this is totally not for you!)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Angel Food Cake!!

I have baked so many different things over the years I tend to forget there are some thing I still have never given a try, angel food cake is one of them. I have made it from a box mix many times and I have bought it from the store as well, but I have never made it from scratch. I have looked up the recipe several times but I just couldn't justify separating the 12 eggs it called for so I would go to the store and buy one. WAY easier! Well, this past week we has some people over for dinner and I made 4 kinds of pudding for dessert (butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, and non-dairy chocolate). Each batch of pudding called for 3 egg yolks, so in the end I had 12 egg whiles sitting in my fridge just begging to be made into angel food cake. I had fun making it but was not expecting to sift the flour and powdered sugar THREE times!!! *hand cramp*

Click here for the recipe I used from the Betty Crocker cookbook

 I love love love this picture! I think I am going to use this picture for my facebook profile picture/logo.

I think the angel food cake turned out great! I am going to have to try to make a sponge cake again sometime!

have you had success with sponge cakes/angel food cakes?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Car Accident!!

Earlier this week while running errands the girls and I were involved in a car accident. A lady, driving a Suburban was texting (at least that is what we heard... I didn't see it with my own eyes) and hit a small car (an older Honda I think) and that car hit us. As with all car accidents it happened very quickly and without warning. Even though it was pretty scary and a few of us were hurt (very minor compared to some people out there) I can't help but think of how thankful I am for how things are turning out...

=I am so thankful we were not hurt more.

-I am thankful we bought such a safe van and that it protected us during the accident

-I am thankful for good car seats

-I am thankful the baby is ok.

-I am thankful my 2 year old is still rear facing in her car seat and she was unharmed. This is a hot button issue among some of my friends and family, but instead of throwing this in there face saying "na na na naaaa I was right!!" I am just going to let the experience speak for itself. The Police, the EMT's the ER DR's the Chiropractor all were so glad and relived that Iyla was still rear facing and all agreed that having her rear facing saved her from lots of hurt. I am so glad I found out about rear facing toddlers, the car seats are rated 40 pounds rear facing for a reason!!!

-I am thankful Isabella's injuries are minor and she will be feeling better in no time. I just wish she was still rear facing like her sisters. Then she would not have any hurts at all.

-I am thankful the accident happened right in front of the police station and less then 5 mins. from my hubby's work.

-I am thankful for the responding police officer, he has 4 girls of his own and was so so great with my girls, talking with them, holding their hand, he was awesome!

-I am so thankful that when I was freaking out the EMT that was helping us was so sweet and kind. He went to high school with me and it was so comforting to have someone I knew taking care of me.

-I am thankful the other party has insurance and that all the costs relating to the accident are being taken care of.

-I am so thankful the ER staff let the baby room with me so I could nurse her. Funny story- I was in the neck brace strapped down to the back board, waiting to get a CT scan and the baby was hungry. She has never had formula and has not even ever used a bottle so I needed to nurse her. So laying there on the board I nursed her with her laying on top of me. She was a little distracted with the angle but was hungry enough not to care too much. The ER nurse had a Medic student shadowing her that day. That kid was green through and through! I think it might have been his first day in the ER. well, he popped his head in to check on me, saw that I was nursing, and turned around rather quickly muttered something about coming back later and was gone! It hurt my ribs a little, but I laughed!! I don't think he expected to see that and I was not in the position to cover up! Hehehehe!!

-I am so thankful I am receiving amazing recovery care at the chiropractor... Seriously the guy is amazing!

-I am thankful the ladies at my church are so supportive, I have received phone calls and one lady brought us dinner.

-I am thankful that even though I am hurt I am still functional. I know it could be so much worse. I have a hurt neck and upper back and some ribs are not too happy, and I have a huge bruise on the back of my head. Could be SOOOOOO much worse!!!

-I am thankful I have an amazing husband who is taking such great care of us.

Everything happens for a reason and even though I don't know why we were hit I do know that I am using the experience to better myself, to look for the blessings in my trials, to become closer to my Heavenly Father, who loves me and my children and sent his angels to surround us. I am so thankful for you, my dear readers who take time out of your lives to be there for us, supporting us and sending your love.

we are truly blessed even in our trials. I firmly believe that. Just know that we are ok, we are on the mend, and we love you all very much!!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lemon Cheesecake Bars

I still have some lemon juice in the freezer so I thought I would make a dessert with them. I LOVE cheesecake but I never make it because my oldest daughter is allergic to dairy and I just don't keep cream cheese on hand anymore. It was fun figuring out these bars. They are cheese cake on the bottom and lemon bars on the top with a shortbread cookie crust...YUM!! I did do some research on how to make lemon bars (my sister was always the Lemon Bar maker in the family, I had never made them before yesterday!!) but I got the general idea and started baking! That is what I tend to do. If I don't know how to make something I study several recipes/variations. I want to figure out the chemical reactions with the different ingredients, the order ingredients are added and the methodology used in preparing the food. Like with quick breads, I loved learning about the baking powder/baking soda reactions and the acids used as well as the different methods (biscuit, cream, or muffin) used in making the quick breads. It's the process I love, figuring out why recipes are written the way they are... I know it's a little nerdy but hey, that's me!!

Well back to the yumminess at hand... The Lemon cheesecake bars!!!



2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cold butter cubed
1/2 tsp salt
4 tablespoons ice cold water

In a food processer combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix ingredients together. add the butter and pulse until the butter is cut into the flour mixture and it looks like Bisquick/fine crumbs. Turn the food processor to 1 and while it is running add the water 1 tablespoon at a time. The dough will turn into little balls about the size of a pea. dump out the dough into a 9x13 pan and press down to form the crust. Bake at 350 for 20 mins or until light brown

Cheesecake layer

16 oz cream cheese (two boxes), softened
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice

combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl  and beat with egg beaters until smooth. Pour on top of crust and bake at 350 for 15 mins. Remove from oven.

Lemon layer

4 eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1.2 cup flour

In a small bowl combine flour and baking powder, set aside. In the food processor mix the eggs and lemon juice and sugar and salt. while food processor is running add the flour mixture. Pour lemon layer on top of cheesecake layer and bake at 350 for 25 mins or until the lemon layer is set and a knife come out clean.

These are amazing!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ask Hona!!

Here are another round of questions... Keep them coming!!

Amanda M Asks from Hona's Helpful Hints Facebook Wall :

Hona I need help... my oldest daughter is having a hard time reading her reading level is a 2.9 from a 3.4 when we moved back from Rochester back to moms. is there a special book you would use to help her kick start her reading... Help... Thanks so much Love ya

Dear Amanda,

First I would start with something she is interested in, find a book about say, bikes. She is far more likely to want to read about a topic she is interested in. Summer is coming up and you will have more time to work one on one with her. Ask her teacher she is going to have next year what curriculum she is using and if you can borrow the text book over the summer to give your daughter a head start in the class so she won't be behind the other students. When I was a nanny I had a child who was poor in math and we got the math book for the next school year and we went over the whole thing during the summer and when school started she was more then prepared for class work and was caught up. Also the library has a summer reading program with lots of fun book lists by topic. Have her pick out some she would like to read that are a little challenging. Like I said before, play to her interests  and she will be much more excited to read. Good luck and let me know how it goes.


Arin E. writes from the Facebook Wall,

Dear Hona,

I have a life long question... how do u keep you’re house organized and still find room for the kids? Lol.

And do u have any advice for my 2 year old and home schooling him? I want him to have a head start...

Dear Arin,

That's what ceilings are for right?! Hehehe!! Here is a blog post I did a while back on my family blog about how we got started home schooling. I think it will be helpful.


Nicole D asked via e-mail:

Dear Hona,

I have a problem and I was hoping that you would know the answer. My dishwasher smells. I have tried bleach, baking powder, Lysol spray but nothing helps. Every time I run the dishwasher, my dished come out smelling nasty. Do you have a suggestion?

Dear Nicole,

there are some dishwasher cleaners you can buy in the dish soap section. Finish brand has one we liked. You could also try adding a rinse aid to the wash like jet dry.


And one last question from Kelly C. also from the facebook Wall:

Dear Hona,

I have many recipes that call for vanilla which I cook on the stove (no bake cookies, syrup, etc) and I was wondering why you cook all the other ingredients and THEN add the vanilla after removing from heat. Does the heat change the effectiveness of the vanilla or something like that?

Dear Kelly,

Pure Vanilla extract contains Alcohol and you have to add it off the heat so it won't catch fire. also it evaporates fast and if you want it to keep the flavor in the cooking you need to add it last.

Thanks for the questions And if you have a question you would like me to ask I have set up an e-mail account:  I am hoping to make this a more regular part of my blog and facebook page.
Untill next time... Get Cookin'!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kitchen Confessions- Green Smoothies Not So Smooth!

So I don't know if it's because I am nursing my baby or what but I have been craving spinach like crazy! I even had a bowl of fresh spinach for breakfast the other day. I have been sneaking it into most of our meals as well. Chopped up in mac and cheese, pureed in spaghetti sauce, that kind of thing.  I have read on Facebook from my friends that are drinking "green smoothies" and I thought I would try to make my own. I have a small personal blender (a knock off of a magic bullet) and thought that would work OK to make it. So I put in a banana, some frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, orange juice, probiotic powder and a big ole' handful of fresh spinach. I blended it up as well as I could and took a drink... YUCK!! It was awful! I read that drinking veggies is better so you can get the max amount without having to eat veggies all day long but man that was not what I thought it was going to taste like. I also think I should save up for a Vitamix or something like that so I can get a better blend. This smoothie has good sized leaf chunks in it. YUCK!!

Next time I will just eat a big bowl of spinach!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

If your Neighbor Gives You Lemons...

You get to develop lemon recipes! My neighbor lady was sent a box of fresh lemons strait off the tree from a friend of hers in California and she gave some to us. They smell so amazing and are HUGE! So I thought I would take the opportunity to develop a few recipes using these lemons. Kind of an Iron Chef type of moment but with 3 little ones a time limit of an hour just ain't gonna work!

Ok so I am having a blast with this one. I am doing Grilled Lemon Chicken and Lemon Orzo Pilaf. Sounds good huh?

Grilled Lemon Chicken with Orzo Pilaf

4 Chicken Breasts
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
the zest of 1 lemon
the juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tablespoon sugar
 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp soy sauce
2 garlic cloves crushed
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine ingredients and Marinate Chicken for 30 to 40 minutes flipping chicken over halfway. Cook chicken on grill or pan fry or broil, 20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temp of 165 degrees.  Meanwhile, take used marinade and boil it in a small sauce pan for 5 minutes (this will ensure that all the chicken "stuff" is cooked all the way, also it will reduce down and thicken a bit. pour the sauce over the chicken when it's done.

Lemon Orzo Pilaf
1 cup orzo pasta
1/2 onion diced fine
1 stalk celery diced fine
2 cloves garlic crushed
2 carrots diced fine
1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color you like)
1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/8 tsp turmeric
3 cups chicken stock or 3 cups water and 2 bouillon cubes
1 Tbs. Fresh parsley chopped for garnish

In a large skillet saute the garlic, onions, peppers and celery in the olive oil until almost done. Add the Orzo pasta and saute until the pasta is a light golden brown color. Add spices and chicken broth. Cover and let simmer on low for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and pasta is tender stirring every few minutes so it won't stick to the pan. If you run out of liquid before the pasta is done, add more chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time. Garnish with Parsley.

We had this for dinner and it was super yummy! Not tart at all. I hope you enjoy these lemon recipes.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bread Bread Who Wants some Bread???

Ok, I have been asked my my sister in law if I had any bread recipes that were hearty, whole grain types. And the answers is OH YEAH!!!  love using grains. In fact next month I am teaching a grains class at my church.  I am really looking forward to that. I love the added bite and texture grains add to bread.

 First you need some special equipment (that is if you are going from scratch) to mill your wheat. Freshly milled wheat flour is amazing and produces a great bread. I like using white wheat but feel free to use the red. Upon researching for this post I discovered there is quite a lot of fuss about the kinds of wheat people us in bread making and which mill is best down to the alkaline of the water for goodness sake! All I know is I grind the wheat and make bread out of it! Sheesh!

 I do buy some grains already milled. Flax seed is not recommended to be milled by my mill so I buy it pre milled (How many times can I say mill in a sentence!!) I also have a grain roller, the secret of my success, that helps me to up the amount of grains I use. It is awesome. setting one cracks the grain setting two rolls it (think rolled oats) and the third setting makes a course flour. The main tip in making a muti grain bread is to have a good base. what I mean is a good basic bread dough you can go crazy adding grains too. I add a few tablespoons of flax to my bread dough. I like mixing flours too. But I make sure to add extra vital wheat gluten to the dough so I get a good rise. It is a little tricky getting a good rise from multi grain bread. I don't use dough conditioners so I have to get the gluten going on my own. The way I do that is my whipping my bread dough. I take the yeast and water an let it hang out in the mixer bowl for 5 minutes. While they are doing there thing, I heat up the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a pan to 115 degrees. I add the milk mixture to the yeast water. I add two cups of freshly milled wheat flour to the bowl along with my vital wheat gluten. Using the paddle I mix it for about a minute our until all of the flour is wet then crank it the high and let it whip for 5 to 8 minutes. I know it seems like a long time but it gets the gluten going. You can tell it's ready when the dough is very stringy-ish. Replace the paddle with the dough hook. This is the base I was talking about  At this point I feel free to start adding other grains to the dough. I like to add another 1 cup of flour (can be any gluten flour- barley, wheat, rye) and I add flaked/ rolled wheat or oats or spelt. I also like to add seeds. poppie seeds, pumpkin seeds, or sesame seeds. I run the mixer with the dough hook until the dough forms a ball around the hook and the sides of the bowl are clean. I rise the dough until double about 2 hours or more. the yeast needs time to do it's magic with such a heavy dough. When It's done rising I punch it down and roll it out flat as I can then roll it up like a cinnamon roll. I tuck the ends under an put in a loaf pan and let it rise until double, about an hour or so. Bake it at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or it reaches in internal Temp of 190 degrees.


3 cups flour  (fresh milled whole wheat, red or white)
1/2 cup water 115 degrees 
2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup butter, or oil, or coconut oil, or shortening; whatever kind of fat you want (just not lard)
2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar, or honey or agave or molasses
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten
1 cup additional grains (rolled oats, spelt flakes, millet, rolled barley etc.)
1/4 cup seeds (optional)

In mixer add yeast and water. Let sit 5 minutes. In a small pan add milk, butter, salt, and sugar. Heat to 115 degrees. Add milk mixture to yeast water. add 2 cups flour and wheat gluten;  mix to combine. with paddle attachment, whip for 5 to 8 minutes. Switch out paddle for dough hook. Add at least 1 cup of flour and additional grains. let mixer go for a few minutes. turn off and add seeds. when the mixer is going again the dough will start to pull away from the sides of the bowl. if it is not, add extra flour, about 1/4 cup at a time. Once the sides of the bowl are clean and the dough it in a ball around the hook. remove the dough and place in a well greased bowl. cover and let rise in a warm, draft free place for about 2 hours or until doubled.
Punch down dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured counter. Roll out flat and then roll up kind of like a cinnamon roll. tuck the edges under and put dough in a well greased bread pan. cover and let rise until double, about an hour. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Sorry no picture of this but I hope to get one soon.

Dear Hona...

I recently asked my facebook fans to ask me some questions that I could answer here on the blog and I am pretty excited to announce a new feature to the blog... ASK HONA!!

So here are a few to get us started. If you have any questions for me feel free to ask in the comments below or on my facebook page.

From Kelly C.

Dear Hona,
Favorite sore throat home remedies? I've done popcicles, tea, ok so I need to drink more water...I've tried to get lots of rest and I'm pretty sure it's not strep but we'll see how my throat looks and how I feel in the morning.

Dear Kelly,
The best thing I have tried was a recipe given to me by my amazing mother in law. Take equal parts honey and lemon juice and mix in hot water and drink it. I do 1 tablespoon of each in 3 oz. of hot hot water. It really helps calm down a sore throat. Honey is an amazing substance and it has natural antibiotic properties which will help heal your throat.

Laura M. writes...
Dear Hona,

 Kason (my 3 year old) has always been a bit sensitive to dairy but now it looks like he can't have any at all! We get test results back soon so we will know how severe it is but we cook with milk and cheese a bit, any good non diary recipes or subsitutes?? Any good cheese subsitutes that are good enough to pay for and eat?

Dear Laura,
This is right down my alley! My oldest has a milk protien allergy and we have to sub. for everything. There are so many amazing products out there that have helps us with the switch. The natural food section has been a life saver for us. We use soy milk as a sub. in bread recipes, soups and pasta dishes. You can make a rue with soy milk as well. For sweeter things like cakes, muffins, and the like, we use amlond milk. Knowing alternate names of milk will help in you label reading. 

Quoted from

-milk solids ("curds")

-casein (sodium caseinate, most commonly)
-lactose (sodium lactylate, frequently)
-lactalbumin and other names that begin with lact
-galactose (a lactose by-product) Most people with milk allergies will have no trouble with galactose
-protein (often "high protein" or "protein enriched" version of another ingredient, such as wheat) The added protein in foods (particularly "high energy" foods) is often milk protein.
caramel coloring. Many kinds of caramel coloring use lactose, a milk sugar, to help get that rich color. When in doubt, do without.
-Recaldent. This ingredient, found in some Trident brand chewing gums, is milk-derived.

there is even more info on their site.
I have not bothered with non dairy cheeses. In my opinion they taste gross and are very expencive. And most have milk protein in them anyway. For some great recipes get some vegan cook books. They are always 100% non dairy!
 Here is a good site to get you started-

I know that is alot of information all at once but I thought the better you understand the better choices you can make right!  I find cooking from scratch and not using processed foods keeps dairy out of our food.

Christina S. posted this question...

Dear Hona, 
 I'd like some tips on preparing meals for freezing. It seems like my pancakes and potato dishes always get frostbitten.

It sounds to me like moisture is getting into your food. First when you are done cooking the food you want to freeze make sure it is cooled all the way. If the food is still warm when put into the freezer they will produce condensation that will freeze into frostbite on your food. I suggest getting a vaccum sealer. I like Ziploc Freezer System. It gets all of the air out and keeps the food fresh for a long time.

Keep those questions coming and look for more ASK HONA posts in the near future!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


Head on over to my facebook page and enter the contest For a chance to win a set of recipe cards filled with some of my favorite recipes!! Good luck!!

Click here!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dinner Challange weeks 3 and 4

It just occurred to me that I never posted the last two weeks of my dinner challenge! The baby has been growing a ton and has been eating pretty much non stop for a few weeks now so my time has not been my own!

Week 3
Pineapple Chicken, Veggie Lo Mien, Brown rice and egg rolls
*Sweet potato peorgies, green salad and fruit tray
Hamburgers, potato salad, veggie sticks (carrots, celery, cucumber)
Ham, funeral potatoes, green salad, cranberry sauce, cucumber limeade punch, rolls (this was Easter Dinner!)
Sloppy Joe's, Green beans, Jello
*Matzo ball soup, salad and canned peaches
Chicken nuggets, frozen peas, macaroni salad

Week 4

Pizza bake and salad
Chicken sandwiches, potato salad, green beans
Steak Fajitas, Spanish rice, and apple slices
grilled chicken breast, broccoli with red peppers, garlic roasted potatoes
*Millet loaf, green salad, rolls
Cincinnati style chili, noodles, kidney beans, salad
*roasted zucchini and tomatoes with homemade egg noodles

*- vegetarian meals

I did it!! 4 weeks, one month all different meals. It was so fun and if I had a bigger food budget I could have been even more creative!! Did anyone else try the dinner challenge?? If not I highly suggest you try it.

Happy cooking!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meatless Monday Dishes

I love meatless mondays! It is so much fun trying out new recipes. Today I thought I would share with you what I had today for my meatless monday.

For Breakfast I had whole wheat blueberry pancakes with almond butter and apricot preserves. Not too pretty looking but oh so good!

For lunch I made this awesome salad. It is spinach, goat cheese, pecans, and raisins with Italian dressing.

I also had buttered homemade egg noodles with cracked black pepper and some goat cheese.

Yes, I did make those noodles myself but that is the subject of another post! I am LOVING doing Meatless Mondays! For dinner I was all set to make black bean and oat burgers but had to run an errand and left the hubby to fend for himself, he made Alfredo. What did you have???

Friday, May 6, 2011

Taco Ring

Taco Ring!!

This is a huge family favorite. It is so simple and easy, as you might have noticed I have been focusing on family favorites that are quick and simple. I guess with a very new baby and so little time that is my own, Simple is about all I've got at the moment!

1 pound ground Turkey
1 small onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1 cup salsa
1 package cresent rolls (pop in fresh kind)
1/2 cup shredded chedder cheese

In a skillet, brown the turkey, onions and peppers. When cooked add salsa. On a piza stone or baking sheet arrange dough in a ring with large sides in the middle. Arrange meat mixture around the dough and fold over ends of dough. I do it at an angle and press the corners to the side, kind of making an inner ring so the meat stays in place. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Once out of the oven, sprinkle cheese on top. Serve with a green salad and my spanish rice.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pizza Bake

Pizza Bake-

2 cups Bisquick mix
1 cup milk
1 can pasta sauce
1 small package pepperoni
1 cup sauteed onions and bell peppers
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix Bisquick and milk until it forms a dough. divide in half. Take first half and drop into a greased 9x13 pan by the spoonful. layer on half of the pepperoni, peppers/onion mix, cheese and sauce over top the dough. Repeat with the other half of the ingredients topping with sauce. Bake at 400 for 30 mins or until hot and bubbly in the middle. make sure dough balls are baked all the way.

This is super simple and oh so yummy!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Chinese Take In!

What's for dinner tonight?

I  LOVE making ethnic foods. We eat foods from all over the world. Tonight our taste buds traveled to China. I made egg rolls, vegetable lo mien, pineapple chicken (not exactly Chinese but close enough), and steamed brown rice. It was very fun to make and relatively easy. I aslo am very proud to only have burned myself once!  

Vegetable Lo Mien

3 Carrots sliced on the diagonal
3 ribs of celery sliced on the diagonal
1 small onion sliced into half moon slivers
1  small zucchini sliced on the diagonal
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 cup frozen pre sliced multi colored bell peppers (you can find them in most grocery stores in the frozen veggie isle)
1 package of lo mien noodles or 3 packets of Ramen noodles cooked (you can use the seasoning packet but it really ups the sodium content of the dish)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Heat a large skillet on med/high heat. When skillet is hot add olive oil. Do not use extra virgin olive oil, it has a low smoke point and is best used for salad dressings, plain old olive oil is fine. Saute onions, celery, and carrots until slightly soft. add zucchini garlic and peppers. Continue cooking until veggies are cooked, not soft. You want them to have a bite to them. Add the soy sauce and sesame oil. Coat veggies well. Add noodles and toss well. Serve hot.

 Pineapple Chicken

1 quart of veggie oil for deep frying in whatever pot you use for deep frying. I have a 3 quart soup pot that works great. Don't forget a thermometer to be sure your oil is at 350 when it's time to fry the chicken.
2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into bite size chunks
2 eggs well beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 crushed garlic clove
1 cup cornstarch divided
1/2 onion chopped
1 carrot sliced on the diagonal
1 rib celery sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup frozen sliced bell peppers
1 can chunk pineapple drain and reserve juice

1 tablespoon vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon soy sauce
reserved pineapple juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch

I know it looks like a ton of ingredients... trust me it's not hard, but the recipe does make a lot of dishes, just to warn you. The first thing you want to do in marinate the chicken. in a large bowl mix the eggs, soy sauce, garlic and chicken. Let it marinate for about 10 minutes. I always get the chicken going and while it's hanging out I prep the veggies and make the sauce. Heat your oil to 350. In a second bowl put in half of your cornstarch. With a fork fish out the chicken and toss them in the cornstarch and place on a plate. After you have coated all the chicken put it back in the egg stuff. Put the other half of the cornstarch in the bowl. Repeat the coating so the chicken had two coats of egg and cornstarch. In small batches deep fry the chicken pieces. Since you are using cornstarch the chicken won't get too brown so it's easy to over cook it. about 4 minutes in the oil is long enough. You can put your cooked chicken on a bunch of paper towels to drain but I like putting a cooling rack in a baking sheet and draining it that way. Once the chicken is all fried it's time to move on to the veggies. First make up the sauce. combine all ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a large skillet(if you have a wok by all means, use it!) Heat about a teaspoon of veggie oil and saute the veggies until they are about done, you want them to have a bite to them. toss in the pineapple and saute until the pineapple is heated through. add the sauce and stir until it thickens up. Cut the heat and add the chicken and toss to coat the chicken. Serve hot!!

I served the meal with plain brown rice that I made in the rice cooker. I thought it would be fun for the kids to kind of decorate the dining room up a bit an eat from nice plate so I pulled out the "good stuff" We ate a=our rice from the finger bowls. I thought it would be cute.

Here is the place setting, simple but elegant.

Our meal was super yummy and oh so fun to eat with chopsticks. I hope you have fun with your own Chinese night. Here is the table. Looks so good I can't wait to make it again. The best part is when it's all done, the hubby did the dishes! What a lucky girl am I!!

*Disclaimer- I do not profess to be a food photographer but that being said the pictures turned out ok. Also the egg rolls were from the store. I do know how to make them but that is a job for another day and another blog post!)


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