Oatmeal Banana-Raisin Cookies



Adapted from a recipe in the cookbook Quinoa 365.

Cream together in a large bowl:

1 1/4 c. brown sugar

1/2 c. margarine

1/2 c. oil

Add to above and mix well:

1/4 c. milk

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

1 c. mashed bananas

Combine in a bowl:

1 1/4 c. quinoa flakes

1 1/4 c. flour

1 1/2 c. quick cooking oats

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 c. ground flax

1/3 c. sunflower seeds (unsalted)

1 c. raisins

1 tsp. cinnamon


Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix well.  Drop by rounded tablespoons (I used a soup spoon) onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bottoms of the cookies are browned.  Let cookies cool completely on cookie sheets before removing.  Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies. Notes:  These cookies spread while baking so ensure distance between each cookie when dropping the cookie batter onto the sheet. This makes a soft cookie.


No Bake Cookies {Gluten Free}

photo: avenafoods.com
photo: avenafoods.com

A classic cookie, easily made gluten free.

2 1/4 c. quick-cooking, gluten-free oats such as Only Oats from http://avenafoods.com/

1 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. butter

2 c. sugar

1/2 c. cocoa

1 tsp. vanilla


Combine oats and coconut in large bowl and set aside.  Combine milk and butter in a saucepan and heat to melt butter.  Stir in sugar and cocoa and mix well.  Bring to a boil.  Add oat mixture, stirring constantly.  Cook for one minute.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Drop by rounded tablespoons onto wax paper.  Cool and enjoy. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tamale Pie {Gluten Free}


Adapted from a recipe in Company’s Coming “Beef”

1.5 lb. lean ground beef

2 1/2 c. medium salsa (I used Pace brand)

1 c. GF flour

3/4 c. cornmeal

1 T. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

3 T. grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg

1 c. buttermilk or soured milk (sour by adding 1 T. vinegar or lemon juice and stir)

1/4 c. oil

Brown ground beef in skillet. Add salsa, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  In the meantime, make the topping. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In a small bowl whisk together egg, milk and oil.  Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir together until moist.  Spread ground beef/salsa mixture into a 10″ pie plate. Top with cornmeal mixture. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes until topping is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serves about 6.

Notes: For GF Flour, I used oat flour.  Also, you could probably make this using all cornmeal.


Speedy Pasta Primavera


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3/4 lb. pasta, cooked with a little salt and oil in boiling water (I used spaghettini which cooks to al dente in 5 minutes)

1 c.  zucchini cut into thin strips

1 c. carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips

2 c. frozen mixed vegetables

1/2 c. water (stock can also be used)

1 c. half and half or light cream

1/4 c. Parmesan cheese

2 T. dried dillweed

Pinch nutmeg

Saute zucchini and carrots in a large pan or skillet. Add stock and cook until vegetables are done.  Add frozen vegetables, cheese, spices and cream (heat cream a little in the microwave before adding).  Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta, mix well and heat thoroughly.  Serves 6 – 8.



The Albatross


{Originally written in 2008 and revised today} At times our house feels like an albatross around our neck and sometimes it feels like a sanctuary.  Lately, the albatross is winning.    The list of tasks to fix this house – even what would be necessary to do before selling – are endless and, by the time we get them all done, it’ll be time to start over!

Our latest project is a half bath in the basement. We have wanted to do this for a long, long time. Unfortunately it is not coming together as quickly as we would like. We can’t afford to hire someone and my husband lacks full knowledge and expertise for drywalling. Professional (paid) tradespeople don’t want a small job and friends aren’t able to help.

I’m tired.  We both are. Tired of the upkeep and the updating.  It’s not that big of a house but right now it feels huge and unwieldy and like someone who’s stayed too long at the party (it is over 25 years old and it shows).


  • Removed the wall-to-wall wallpaper in every room
  • Chipped out the Easy-Brick “trim” around the entryway into the kitchen
  • New hot water tank (2000)
  • Electronic air cleaner (2003)
  • Air conditioning (2002)
  • New dishwasher (2005)
  • New fridge (2002)
  • New stove (2013)
  • New front entry door (2001)
  • New windows or new glass in window casings in almost every room
  • New baseboards, flooring, window coverings
  • Completely re-developed family room in basement with new carpet, built-ins, lighting, window treatments, paint.
  • New light fixtures in kitchen, master bedroom, hallway, office
  • Repainted completely.
  • New linoleum in bathrooms and new carpet on stairs, lower landing  (2006)
  • New higher -end walnut stained 8 mm laminate flooring in bedrooms, living room, hallway (2006)
  • New baseboards and trim throughout (2005-2006)
  • New low flush toilets in bathrooms (2006)
  • Extensive landscaping and gravel RV pad
  • Ceilings repainted (2006)
  • Interior doors replaced / repainted
  • New high efficiency furnace (2010?)
  • New drywall in laundry/furnace room (2010)
  • New washer/dryer (2010)
  • Kitchen gutted and replaced (2011)
  • Roof replaced on garage and house (2011 I think)
  • Fence replaced (2012)

To do:

  • Replace bathtubs
  • Repair fireplace
  • Re-do concrete walkways/steps
  • New flooring in one room in basement
  • Re-do deck
  • Finish painting doors and trim
  • Re-paint the trim around the door and window
  • New complete bay window system in living room
  • Replace windows in garden doors in kitchen

I blame those design shows on HGTV:  houses listed for sale now have to be in darn near perfect, move-in ready condition.  So even if we were to list, and buy something newer that’s move-in ready, a lot of the improvements on the “to-d0” list would have to be completed.

Home ownership: SO completely over-rated.