100% Whole Wheat Bread

This is the bread we eat around our house. No bread-buying for us. The recipe produces two loaves.

2 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast
1/8 cup gluten (I just take my 1/4 cup and fill it up half way)
1/3 cup oil
1/3 cup honey
1 Tbsp. salt
6-8 cups wheat flour

Mix the water and the yeast first and let the yeast get bubbly (~5 min.). Then add gluten, oil, honey and salt. Gradually begin adding the flour. This is going to be trial and error. You want it so it is not too sticky to handle and you also want it so that when you push in on it with your finger, it is still moist (moist, moist, moist, moist) enough to spring back out at you. Knead for 5 minutes. Shape into two loaves and put in pans sprayed with non-stick spray. Let rise for 50 minutes. Cook at 350 degrees for 27-30 minutes.

**You may have to try this a couple of times before you get it right. If you want, we can Facetime and do it together. The recipe says 27-30 minutes, and in Utah, that was about right. But here in Arizona, I cook it for 20 minutes and it is perfect. Also, the amount of flour can vary as well. The first time I made this recipe I used store-bought wheat flour and I used a little less than 6 cups. However, I now grind my own flour every week and I use just over 7 cups. Be patient. It will be worth it.**


Fried (and ultimately, Fire) Rice

Fried Rice is super easy it turns out. Just make some regular white rice. Scramble an egg (or however many you want. I only make single servings so I use one), put it in a bowl. In the frying pan you just used, pour a little oil and dump the rice in. Splash a little soy sauce (or oyster sauce, but I don't have that lying around), stir for a moment and make sure all the rice turns a light brown. Add the egg you just scrambled and some cut up green onion and stir for another minute. Take off the heat and enjoy*.

Or, if you're Whitney or myself, drown it in Sriracha sauce and enjoy our self-proclaimed Fire Rice.


Balsamic Chicken Noodles

I put off making this for a loooong time, and I'm kicking myself for it now. I thought this was super delicious (and I even left out the cheese!). It also helped that it was super fast (done in 20 minutes) and very filling.

1 pound linguine
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
4 tablespoons good-quality balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil (can substitute 1/2 cup fresh basil)
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken (if you don't have precooked, you can cook your chicken at the same time as the bell pepper)
1 1/2 cups shredded or cubed mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (even if I did use cheese, I don't like feta so I would've left this out and upped the mozzarella)

Heat a large pot of water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until just tender according to package directions. Drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper. When combined, slowly whisk in the 1/3 cup olive oil until the dressing is completely combined.

While the pasta is boiling, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat and add the bell pepper. Cook briefly until crisp-tender. Add the cooked chicken and cook for 1-2 more minutes, until the chicken is heated through.

When the noodles have been drained, add the hot noodles to the skillet with the red pepper and chicken and toss. Add the shredded or cubed mozzarella and the feta and toss quickly to combine before the cheese melts. Pour the dressing over the top and toss with tongs to coat all the ingredients with the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 6-8.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


Spinach Artichoke Pasta

Ok ya'll! I'm finally posting a meal I've actually made. It was my night to cook dinner, so I retreated to my Pinterest boards for something delicious looking. Let me just say, this dish is AMAZING!! And it's incredibly easy (after I burned it the first time) :)

  • 1 12-oz box pasta (I used bowties)
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 8 oz package reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 14 oz can artichoke hearts (packed in water), drained and chopped
  • 10 oz chopped, frozen spinach, thawed, with as much excess water squeezed out as possible
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Additional Parmesan for serving

Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Slowly stir in milk, then add sour cream, lemon juice, salt and red pepper flakes. Stir in artichoke hearts, spinach, and parmesan cheese.
Drain pasta and add to artichoke mix. Toss and season to taste with salt and additional lemon juice as needed. Serve with additional shredded Parmesan.


Creamy Chicken Enchiladas Verdes

This recipes is from a fabulous cook from my ward back in Pittburgh.  She keeps her own cooking blog which is fantastic.  When I made this yesterday I got 9 enchiladas, and since my boys don't eat a whole one each, I cooked 5 and froze 4.  There are instructions on how to freeze them included in the post, but here's a picture of mine (minus the cheese).  She writes in her post that the sauce is so good she could eat it with a spoon, and she's right, it's that good.

Here's the link.  Enjoy.  Creamy Chicken Enchilada Verdes

IMPORTANT UPDATE!  I had forgotten this tip last time I froze these enchiladas, but was unpleasantly reminded when I heated up a couple of these for myself and Neil yesterday.  The sauce separates and gets watery in the freezer but the enchiladas do just fine.  If you're pulling these out of the freezer, whip up a fresh batch of the sauce (it's really quick), it'll be so worth it.


BBQ Pulled Pork

We're not huge fans of pulled pork in general, but this was excellent! I've always avoided purchasing liquid smoke, thinking it was going to be super expensive or something, but it was actually really cheap and provided some great flavor! Give it a try!

  • 3 to 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (I've also used boneless pork loin – not tenderloin – but pork loin with good results)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce

Rinse pork with water and pat dry with paper towels. Rub salt and pepper all over the pork and put in crock pot. Add the water and liquid smoke. Cook on low 8-10 hours, until pork is very tender. Remove pork from crock pot and discard remaining liquid. Shred pork and put back in crock pot, along with the barbecue sauce and allow to reheat for another 20-30 minutes. Serves 10-12 adults. 


Skillet Chicken with Mexican Green Rice

This is a really flavorful meal and has no dairy in it, which is a plus for me because my pregnant body has decided to complete reject it. It's also really quick and only uses one pan. Yippee!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 poblano peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped (these are usually next to jalapeno peppers - don't worry, they're much less spicy than jalapenos)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 (10 oz.) cans green enchilada sauce (I recommend mild for those who don't want much heat)
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (we hate cilantro, so we left it out and upped the spinach)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves

  1. Gently pat the chicken dry and season lightly with salt and pepper. In a large (12-inch) skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until it is rippling and hot. Brown the chicken on each side for 1-2 minutes until it is golden but not cooked all the way through. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
  2. In the hot skillet, add the onion and poblano peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cumin and cook for 30 seconds. Add the enchilada sauce, rice and water, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil and set the chicken breasts in the simmering rice mixture, nestling them in a bit. Cover the skillet, set the heat to low and cook for about 15-20 minutes, until the rice is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed and the chicken is cooked through, stirring every five minutes or so to ensure the rice isn’t sticking to the bottom.
  3. Stir in the cilantro and spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Recipe from Mel's Kitchen Cafe


Slow-Cooker Chili

I made this a couple of weeks ago and it was great.  It's has a little more prep on the front end than most slow-cooker recipes but it makes a lot. It's from my favorite cookbook, America's Test Kitchen Cookbook.

Slow-Cooker Weeknight Chili

This recipe uses 1/4 c chili powder, which sounds like a lot.  However, after 6 to 7 hours in the slow cooker, the heat diminishes.  For a spicier chili, increase the cayenne and serve with hot sauce.

2 T vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped medium
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and chopped medium
1/4 cup chili powder
1 T cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 lbs (85% lean) ground beef
1 (28 oz) can tomato puree
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
2 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans, rinsed

1) Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering.  Add the onion, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and 1/2 tsp salt.  Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 15 seconds.

2) Add the beef and increase the heat to  medium-high.  Cook, until no longer pink, about 10 minutes.

3)  Stir in the tomato puree and diced tomatoes with their juice, scraping up any browned bits.  Bring to a simmer, then pour into the slow cooker.

4)  Cover and cook, until the meat is tender, 6 to 7 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.  Stir in the beans during the last hour of cooking.  Before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste.


Strawberry Milkshakes

These strawberry shakes are amazingly good. The part where you soak the strawberries is the key.

1/2 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pint vanilla ice cream (2 cups)
1/3 cup milk

In a mixing bowl combine the sliced strawberries, sugar and vanilla extract and stir to combine well. Set aside and allow to sit for at least 15-20 minutes. In a large mixer, place the strawberries, ice cream, and milk. Blend until smooth.

Here is the link to the original recipe. You'll notice I have reduced the amount of sugar and milk. We've made this recipe so many times over the years that we have it pretty fine-tuned. Trust me. Also, in the original recipe it says to let sit from 20 minutes to 1 hour. If you do it longer than 20 minutes, it makes the taste too strong.


Granola Bars

These are beyond easy. And delicious!


  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 cups quick cooking oats {not rolled oats!}
  • 1 cup crispy rice cereal
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

In a large bowl, stir oats and rice cereal together. Set aside. In a small pot, melt butter, honey and brown sugar together over medium high heat until it comes to a bubble. Reduce the heat and cook 2 minutes. Pour in vanilla and stir. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour into lightly greased small jelly roll pan {about 12x8x1} and press out to be about 3/4 inch in thickness. {If your pan isn't small enough, pack the mixture into one side. You really want to press them down so they stick together.} Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips and press down lightly. Cool on a countertop to room temperature for two hours or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in parchment or plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

Enjoy! Link here.


Banana Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are delicious! And healthy! They use only whole wheat flour, which is reflected in their dense, chewy texture (which I loved).


  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cups quick or regular oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ripe bananas, lightly mashed
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 teaspoons flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric stand mixer), beat together the butter, yogurt and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs and beat well. In a blender or food processor, process the oats until they are finely ground. Add the wheat flour, baking soda and salt and pulse one or two times until the dry ingredients are lightly combined. Pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture and mix until just combined. Mix in the lightly mashed bananas. Stir in the milk and vanilla. Toss the blueberries with the 2 teaspoons flour and then gently fold them into the muffin batter. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (watch the muffins carefully since each oven may vary slightly in temperature affecting exact baking time). Let the muffins rest in the pan for about 5 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.