About Me

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IN, United States
I love the Lord and my big crazy family. My husband and I have been together for 43 years. I am a mother of two grown children and a grandmother to four biological grandchildren and six others. I own and operate my own home care business primarily for the elderly. Many sites have been sold or did upgrades which messed up back links, if you find a broken link let me know and I will fix it.I have written online articles for Bubblews, Seekyt, TopicSpotter and Triond. You may still find some of my articles on Ehow/Demand Studio.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic Virus Disease

garden fresh tomatoes

2 years ago, our daughter was new to planting her own garden. She had helped while living at home with us; however, now that she is a momma with a home of their own the garden duties are a bit different. My husband, her father, was telling her about the Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic Virus Disease; well, I had helped and planted many plants along side of him, however, this was all new to me too. Our grandson has worked as an organic gardener for many years. He worked at a Bed and Breakfast, on an island off the Georgia coast, providing not only their food but for others. He also traveled to South Africa for 6 months; teaching them how to plant and harvest food for themselves.

When I asked Andy Schwartz about the Tomato-Tobacco Mosaic Virus Disease, this is what he said, “Yeah it is very real and I have seen people mishandling plants at nurseries often. Smoking, especially if you roll your own, and gardening do not mix. I do not think about this virus too much because I do not smoke but when volunteers are present I make sure that people are aware. Wearing gloves is good practice. I’d say that buying plants from hardware stores and similar places is the most common way of getting plants infected. People are shopping for plants just after smoking and they handle a couple six packs or pick up something and put it back. I’d say it is not something to be overly concerned about just something to be aware of particularly if you are a smoker.”

diseased tomato leaf
The University of Minnesota Extension website explains it this way, “The most common method of transferring the virus from plant to plant is on contaminated hands and tools. Workers who transplant seedlings should refrain from smoking during transplanting and wash their hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water. Tools used in transplanting can be placed in boiling water for 5 minutes and then washed with a strong soap or detergent solution. Dipping tools in household bleach is not effective for virus decontamination. Any seedlings that appear to have mosaic symptoms or are stunted and distorted should be removed and destroyed. After removing diseased plants, never handle healthy plants without washing hands and decontaminating tools used to remove diseased plants.”

If you are using your precious time to plant and grow your own tomatoes, doesn’t it make sense to do it properly? Play it safe; follow the rules for a happy harvest of fresh garden tomatoes.

The picture of the diseased tomato leaf caused by the tobacco mosaic virus is provided by University of Minnesota Extension website.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Black Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burger

Black Bean and Pumpkin Veggie Burger

I am not sure how I found the butternut black bean burger, but as usual, I had to revamp it a little to suit what I had on hand and to suit our taste buds.  After using the homegrown pumpkin puree, I can understand how the butternut squash or even a sweet potato could be used in its place. Making this one very vitamin packed veggie burger recipe.

Now days I also rarely purchase buns as I make wheat or herbbreads to reduce the chemicals and preservatives we are consuming, however, place your black bean and pumpkin veggie burger bread or bun of choice. Build your burger to suit your taste buds as I did ours.
Ingredients to make black bean and pumpkin veggie burger:

  •  1 egg
  • 1 cup mashed black beans
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin or butternut squash
  • ½ onion; diced
  • ⅓-cup celery; diced
  • 1 red or orange pepper; diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed and minced
  • Olive oil; for sautéing vegetables
  • ¾ tsp favorite Italian seasoning blend; oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, garlic
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
Instructions to make black bean and pumpkin veggie burger:

  1. Using a large bowl mash the black beans and set aside. The original recipe said using refried black beans was acceptable. Add the pumpkin or butternut squash to the beans and set aside.
  2. Sauté the onion, celery, red pepper and garlic in olive oil and cook until the vegetables are tender. Add the minced garlic towards the end to prevent burning.
  3. Add the Italian seasoning blend, salt, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parsley and stir to coat.
  4. Combine the freshly sautéed veggies to the beans and pumpkin, stir in the egg and oats and mix.
  5. Pour a tablespoon or two of oil in a skillet and heat to medium-high, add the burgers and cook for a few minutes on each side until you have a golden crust.
  As with a hamburger or turkey burger; top with your black bean and pumpkin veggie burger with your favorite cheese and toppings. I like to use lettuce tomato and onion to all my sandwiches. On occasion I treat myself to a little avocado too.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Gluten-Free Magic Custard Cake

Gluten-free magic custard cake
I love it when a recipe from Facebook actually turns out as good as promised. Many times friends and family will share and share the post, and never even try it. I have gotten frustrated too many times following what I thought was a tried and true recipe, only to find out no one had actually made it.
With that said, I typically follow the recipe the first go round just to see if it will turn out, however, the original this magic custard cake was not Gluten-Free, therefore, I knew that modification needed done right off the bat. The other change I made was I used almond milk and pure vanilla. When you are making things Gluten-Free this is an essential part of baking.



Ingredients to make the Gluten-Free Magic Custard Cake:


·       4 eggs (whites separated from  yolks), room temp

·       1 tsp pure vanilla

·       ¾  cup sugar

·       1 stick butter; melted

·       ¾  cup Gluten-Free all purpose flour; I used Bob Red Mills

·       2 cups Almond milk; lukewarm

·       powdered sugar for dusting cake

·       cinnamon/sugar optional

Instructions to make the Gluten-Free Magic Custard Cake:

1.     Preheat the oven to 325-Fahrenheit degrees. Grease the sides of a spring-loaded pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

2.     Separate eggs and add the egg whites to a mixer and beat egg whites stiff. Place egg whites in a bowl and set aside.

3.     Beat the egg yolks and sugar until light in texture.

4.     Add the butter and vanilla and beat for two minutes. 

5.     Add the flour and mix it in until fully incorporated.

6.     Slowly start adding the milk and beat until everything mixed.

7.     Add the egg whites a little at a time; gently fold them in using a spatula, repeat until all egg whites are folded in.  

8.     Pour the batter into baking dish and bake for approx 60 minutes or until the top is lightly golden. 

9.     Cool and dust with powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar or both.

10.  Slice the gluten-free magic custard cake and enjoy.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Elephant Ears: Concession Trailer Style Recipe

For those living in the US, especially Indiana and Michigan, saying the words I want an Elephant Ear this time of year has impact. With Festivals, starting up, you will see food booths/concession stands popping up. I worked in Weaver’s Kitchen from 1983-2004, our main food was the Elephant Ears and I helped make thousands upon thousands. At the famous Blueberry Festival alone, we fried approximately 3000 elephant ears in one Labor Day weekend.

OK, not to keep you in suspense any longer, this is NOT the animal, the elephant, and NO, we did not cut off his ears. It is a pastry, usually covered in cinnamon and sugar. Some prefer confection sugar or even apple topping. It did not matter to us; if you wanted it we tried to have it, mom was funny like that.

Once mom passed away, I felt free to make my own here at home and share the recipe. We personally liked our elephant ear thicker like a roll while others prefer them larger and thinner, crispy like a chip.

Our oldest grandson liked them so well one year he requested an elephant ear for his birthday cake. No problem I can do that, however, the recipe makes a large batch therefore many people benefited from that. I also put some ears in the freezer, when they came over; I could pull some out, and fry them up.

Let’s get started, let me show you how to make Mom's Elephant Ear recipe.


Ingredients to make an Elephant Ear Concession Trailer Style Recipe:

  • 5 lbs raised donut mix
  • 10 lbs cheap flour
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 small (8 oz) bottle vanilla
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup yeast
  • 5 lbs sugar to 1 cup cinnamon for Topping your elephant ears
  • 5 gallon plastic bucket and big hook 

Instructions to make an Elephant Ear Concession Trailer Style Recipe

1.     In a large bowl, measure out the sugar, salt and yeast. Add in 19 1/2 cups of medium hot water, and the vanilla.
2.     You will have to work with a large container we used a new and clean 5-gallon plastic bucket. Put your water mixture in the bucket. Put in 5 lbs flour and 5 lbs raised donut mix. Add in, another 5 lbs of flour. Mix it well until all is moist, beat until the dough is glossy.
3.     Put in a warm place and let it rise in the 5-gallon plastic bucket until double in size. Be careful, as it will run over.
4.     Punch it down and start measuring out into 5-ounce balls, oil your hands good so dough balls don't stick to your hands. Place them on a well-greased counter-top, and let rise and double again.
  1. On an oiled, counter top, pat out a 10-inch elephant ear, however, make your elephant ears the size you needed to fry in the skillet you will be using.
    **We had a huge deep fryer in the concession trailer so we didn't have to worry about that.
  • Deep-fry the elephant ear, until golden brown, in oil that is 370-400 degrees. Watch the temperature on the oil and do not let it get too hot. Also, be careful so you do not over fry the elephant ear, as it will get too crispy. The idea is to be golden brown and soft like a breakfast roll.
    Brown it lightly on one side and take the tongs, turn it over and fry it on the other side.
  • Take the tongs and hold the elephant ear up to drain the excess oil off, then lay it on paper towel to finish the process. 
  • Sprinkle the hot elephant ear with either powdered sugar or cinnamon/sugar for the traditional ear.  Elephant ears are also fantastic topped with fruit pie filling sprinkled with cinnamon/sugar. Another great choice is to top them with chocolate pudding and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Make your elephant ear with your favorite topping.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Bird Watching

A Hawk
Bird watching is what has kept me sane the past few winters. Indiana has been quite snowy and at times frigid cold. We typically have doves, snowbirds, sparrows, nuthatches and on occasion a couple of cardinals. It is hard to miss those bright red cardinals against the white snow.  

Although the hawk does not eat the seeds from the feeders, we still like seeing the bird of his size come to visit. Last year he or she set in the blue spruce tree and this year I have seen it more in the front yard scoping out the empty field across the road.

Male Cardinal

This winter, we have been blessed with red finches, an abundance of red finches. I wondered what location has temperatures and winter conditions worse than we have that the red finches would migrate here. 

Grey Squirrel enjoying sunflower seeds
The birds are not fussy; we buy a large bag of wild birdseed with a blend of seeds, however, the last time my husband accidentally purchased a bag that had a lot of cracked corn but even the doves and squirrel will eat that.


I would say the most popular in all our feeders is the black oil sunflower seed; even the squirrel found them and decided to set in the feeder and enjoy them. We have already purchased two 50 lb bags from the Big R store to keep the eight feeders full.

Red finch on gourd feeder

Do you enjoy bird watching and feeding them? What variety of birds do you see in the winter and what is their favorite food?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake Recipe

Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake
Learning to bake gluten-free for family members that are gluten intolerant can be challenging but not impossible. While in the local Amish store looking at Gluten-free flours, she informed me that gluten-free baking could be done with only cornstarch. Here is an angel food cake recipe made with cornstarch instead of flour that is sure to please.

Ingredients to make a Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake:

  • ¾- cup  sugar,
  • 1-cup cornstarch, Gluten-free and GMO free
  • 1 ½ cups egg whites; 10-12 (room temp)large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
  • ¾- cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp.  salt
  • ½-1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla
  • Mixing bowls
  • Electric Mixer
  • Spatula
  • Tube or Bundt cake pan
Instruction to make a Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake:

  1. Move the oven rack to lowest position. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Properly pre-heating your oven will guarantee your cake to bake correctly.  Newer ovens have a beeper or light to tell you when it has heated but in case it does not 30 minutes will be sufficient.
  2. Mix in a bowl, the cornstarch and ¾ cup of sugar. Set aside for later use.
  3. Beat, in a separate bowl, the egg whites. Mix on high speed until they rise and get foamy. Add in the cream of tarter, remaining sugar, xanthan gum and salt. While still on high speed add in the pure vanilla. When you pull beaters out of the mixture peaks will form.
  4. Fold, not stir, the cornstarch mixture into your fluffy egg whites a little at a time until blended together.
  5.  Pour the batter into ungreased pan; the pan must be oil free, any oily residue has to wiped off with a paper towel, as your angel food cake will not climb the pan properly.
  6. Cut gently through the batter with the spatula and then level the top of cake.
  7.  Place the cake pan in the pre-heated oven and bake for 55-60 minutes. A gluten-free angel food cake takes longer than a regular angel food cake. In this case, over baking is better than under baking to keep your cake from sinking in. It will be golden brown.
  8. Turn the angel food cake pan upside down suspending it from the center hole onto a glass or bottle. Keep the cake inverted until it has cooled. By keeping the cake pan upside down, the cake can cool easier and will help keep it from compressing and deflating.


How to Live Gluten-Free or with Celiac Disease

Crispy Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip
If you have Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance, you’ve found out how hard it is to adjust your diet. However, it is not impossible and you can eat quite well. According to Celiac Sprue Association, “people with Celiac Disease, eating certain types of protein fractions, commonly called gluten, set off an autoimmune response that causes damage to the small intestine. This, in turn, causes the small intestine to lose the ability to absorb the nutrients found in food, leading to malnutrition and a variety of other complications.” Educating yourself on foods, manufacturers and restaurants that are or serve gluten-free products is a lifelong endeavor. 

  1. Read the label of everything you plan to use to make a meal or snack. It is not only wheat, rye and barley flours you have to watch for gluten. Gluten-free foods exposed to gluten by cross-contamination whether it be in the field, or processing plant could put you at risk.

  1. Call the company and ask if their product is gluten-free. It is easy to do, most have the phone number to their company on the label. If the number is not available, you can obtain the information via the Internet.

  1. Buy a small spiral notebook. As you acquire the information, make a list of gluten-free products to make your next shopping experience easier.

  1. Dining out and eating gluten-free does not have to be given up, the awareness for gluten intolerance is getting greater all the time. Simply and politely, ask your server for a gluten-free menu. As you find restaurants with food you enjoy your dining experience becomes more enjoyable.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread Recipe
·  Gluten-free foods
·  Celiac disease
·  Living gluten-free


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Cherry Nut Bread like Bob Evans

Many restaurants, such as Bob Evans Restaurant, make their own signature quick bread, using the fruit that is in season. Bob Evans cherry nut bread is one of those of breads, if you like theirs, you will love this easy recipe.
Cherries from the neighbors tree
My cherry nut bread recipe is a very easy bread recipe, it is so light and fluffy, and for me eating just one piece is impossible. 

The little red fruit called a cherry has many health benefits as well as making great tasting bread. According to NBCNEWS.com, Tart cherries contain melatonin, which helps provide a good night’s sleep, as well as being high in antioxidants and fighting arthritis pain.

Wow would have that one little cherry could be so good for you? What are you waiting for; bake a loaf or two of cherry nut bread for your friends and family.

Cherry Banana Bread
Ingredients needed to make cherry nut bread like Bob Evans:
• ½ cup olive oil
• 2 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp salt
• 16 oz sour cream
• ½ cup maraschino cherry juice
• 4 cups sifted flour
• 1 cup cherries; tart cherries have the best health value
• 1 cup walnuts; chopped

Instructions to make cherry nut bread like Bob Evans:
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, if you do not have a timer on your oven, 20 minutes will suffice.
2. Combine the sugar, eggs and olive oil. *The original recipe called for brown sugar and I tried it that way however I liked the results of the cherry bread better with white sugar.
3. Add the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
4. Pour in the cherry juice along with the sour cream and continue to mix. Little by little, add the sifted flour. * If you do not have a sifter, you can simply run a fork through the flour to fluff it up. In addition, it does.
5. Cutting your cherries up ahead of time is how the original recipe said to do it, however, I did that the first time I made the bread and the pieces were just too small. *On the second attempt to make the bread I put the cherries in the batter and used the beaters to chop them up a bit.
6. Add the walnuts and stir.
7. Pour the batter into 2 greased loaf pans.
8. Bake for approximately 50-60 minutes, depending on your oven, or until the cherry nut bread is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Healthy Shit on Shingles Recipe aka Chipped Beef on Toast

I have been thinking how my dad called chipped beef on toast SOS or Shit on shingles. He learned that term when he was in the service and he said it tasted like shit. My mom used to get so mad when he would say those words; however, it has made a wonderful memory for me.
I used to make chipped beef on toast just like mom, however, now days I am making it a bit healthier. Let me show you how you can make your SOS or chipped beef on toast healthier too.

Ingredients needed for Healthy Shit on Shingles:

• 2 (2 oz) packages of thinly sliced Chicken or Turkey
• 1 onion; chopped
• 4 Tbsp olive oil
• Molly McButter Sprinkles (optional)
• 4 heaping Tbsp all-purpose flour
• 4 cups milk
• Hearty healthy bread; choice
• Salt, Pepper and Garlic to taste

Instructions on making healthy shit of shingles:

1) Heat the olive oil; add the diced onions and sauté. Tear the thin slices of meat into little pieces and add to the onions. Stir around until coated with the olive oil and continue to sauté until the onions. 

2) Add the flour and stir until the olive oil is absorbed. This is making a rue. 
3) Pour in the milk and stir until it makes your white sauce gravy. Turn on low heat and let simmer.
4) Make your toast, with your good healthy bread.
5) Put your warm toast on your plate and pour your white sauce gravy over the top.
6) Enjoy your healthy version of SOS aka shit on shingles/Chipped beef on toast.

  • If you would rather have regular chipped beef on toast, replace the chicken/turkey for chipped beef and sauté in margarine or butter. Since I do not eat red meat, I will continue to use my recipe for Healthy Shit on Shingles.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Herb Bread Recipe: High Gluten and Delicious

Herb Bread: High Gluten and Delicious
Last year I made assorted breads for the craft show at our church and one of them was this Herb Bread. I do find it ironic that the Herb Bread Recipe is high gluten, and others I made was Gluten-Free Breads and yet all sold very well.
I have tried to make the Herb Bread Gluten-Free but it did not turn out fluffy at all. It tasted good but was very dense.
If you desire sandwich bread that is fluffy and delicious, this Herb Bread Recipe will do the trick.

Ingredients for Herb Bread:

  • 2 tbsp active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • ¼-cup oil
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 Egg
  • ½ cup Romano cheese, optional
  • 6 cups bread flour

Instructions to make Herb Bread:

If you prefer to make your bread the hard way by kneading and punching down that is your choice. I prefer to use the bread maker.
1)    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, if you do not have a timer 20 minutes will suffice.
2)    Using a bread maker, place the ingredients in the bread maker in the order listed.
3)    Set the bread maker to dough setting, it will do the mixing and the resting to rise all by itself.
4)    Upon the sound of the buzzer, remove the dough from the bread maker and shape the loaves and place into two greased 9-in x 5-in loaf pans. Allow to rise until doubled in size, and place in the preheated oven and bake for 35 minutes.

  • Since then I have made this same herb bread 1/2 whole wheat and 1/2 high gluten bread flour. It is equally delicious.       

Monday, February 2, 2015

BBQ Potato Chip Recipe

Homemade BBQ Chips
Saturday, I made regular crisp and salty potato chips with the new OXO SoftWorks handheld Mandoline Slicer the hubby bought me, and today I wanted to try my hand at something a little different, therefore, I am making sweet potato chips and BBQ potato chips. I must say from the sampling I did, they are might tasty.

Ingredients for BBQ Potato Chips:

  • Potatoes of all varieties; Red, Yellow, White and Blue
  • Oil; olive, peanut or canola
  • BBQ Seasoning:

o      2 tbsp Paprika

o      4 tbsp Chili powder

o      4 tsp Cumin

o      6 tsp Himalayan salt

o      2 tsp Onion powder

o      2 tsp Garlic powder

o      2 tsp Brown sugar

o      2 tsp Black pepper

Instructions for making BBQ Potato Chips:

Thinly sliced potatoes

  1. Wash and scrub the potatoes, I used our homegrown, nearly organic potatoes.
  2. Preheat the oil, we do not have an electric fryer, therefore I use the cast iron Dutch oven and fill it with oil.
  3. Slice the potatoes as thin as you can. I once had a wheel for my food processor however, it broke therefore I used the new handheld Mandoline Slicer, it has three settings and I sliced them on the lowest setting.
  4. Before frying, make sure the potatoes are dry.
  5. Fry the potatoes in small batches, stir or shake them to ensure all the potatoes are crisply fried.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the BBQ seasoning. The amount you use is totally up to you and your taste buds.

Store the extra BBQ seasoning in an airtight container for the next batch of BBQ potato chips you make.