Welcome Friends!!!

I am a scientist at heart, and my kitchen often looks like a laboratory with all kinds of jars and containers fermenting and brewing on the counters. I love to share my recipes, my herbal remedies and health tips, and I really LOVE to save money! We have a large extended family....two sons, their wives, eleven grandkids (and often a friend or two), my sister, Lanny's brother, and my parents that come over every Tuesday night for dinner...kind of a family reunion, only weekly instead of yearly! That adds up to from 17 to 22 or more people here every week. So I have to cook big, and cook economically!

So here we go! For all my friends and family that have been encouraging me to put all my recipes and ideas in one place like this....if you don't see what you are looking for, and cannot find it by using the "Topics" or the search field below right, just let me know and I will be sure to post it as soon as I can.

Be sure to check out our African Mission Adventure - we traveled to Malawi in August 2014 and you will find photo's and stories about our trip! LanDebLewAfrica.blogspot.com!!!

Lanny and I also have started devotional blogspots that you might enjoy:

Thursday, July 13, 2017

A Morning Walk Thru Our Garden....

A Morning Walk Thru Our Garden....

We love our back yard paradise and spend every minute we can out here...we love the flowers, the birds (Oak Ridge is a Bird Sanctuary, you know), our own little critters...we have lots of turtles and fish and now a small flock of sweet hens. We also have two fur babies, Maggie (a Dachshund mix that did NOT get the doxie legs ) and Mitzi (a Jack Russel). What more could we ask for?!
Hope you enjoy the tour!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Spaghetti for a LARGE crowd!

A group of us ladies from my church minister to a small community here in Tennessee through our Baptist Association. We take lunch and have a Bible Study and fellowship time every second Wednesday of each month, and usually have 20 to 25 community ladies along with the dozen or so of us. So, we make lunch for around 35 ladies each month. 

This time I was in charge of the spaghetti...We could have taken the dry pasta and cooked it there but we don't have a lot of time for that, so I cooked it up ahead of time and took it in giant sized freezer bags. Then, all we had to do was get a big pot of water boiling, drop the refrigerated spaghetti into the boiling water for a couple minutes, dump it in the colander, and serve...easy peasy :-)

Boil as much as you need. In this case I used two family sized boxes, about 4 pounds of spaghetti. Cook it al dente (maybe even slightly under done) and rinse it with cold water in your colander. Put it into large heavy duty freezer bags and refrigerate (for this much I used extra large 2.5 gallon bags so I'd have room to close the bag). I have done this for our family night dinners up to 3-4 days before the event. You can even freeze cooked spaghetti, but that will be for another post.

Then when you are ready to serve it, just boil up a BIG pot of water, gently pour your spaghetti in and just warm it to serving temp without cooking. Pour it in a colander, rinse with hot water if desired, and serve as usual. It tastes great!

My Tramontina Pot is 16 Quarts...I LOVE it!


Tidbits of Tips

OK, so today I am making broth, cooking a big pot of beans and making some freezer French Toast for my Mom (it's Saturday morning and Lanny is spending the day with his brother...).

I apologize right up front if this is a no-brainer for you, but I was talking to a friend recently and mentioned "dipping the scum" off my beans and she was like "huh?".... She also doesn't overnight soak her beans which is another subject entirely, but I highly recommend both!

Soaking your beans overnight has LOTS of health benefits, but that's another topic. Skimming the scum off has taste benefits. As your beans begin to boil just use a ladle and gently scoop the bubbly scum off the top and discard. After a few minutes it should stop "scumming" and you can cover and boil until the beans are done. The scum is just a bit bitter and you will find your beans taste better when it isn't part of the mix.

You will also have scum when you are making chicken bone broth, so just scoop the scum, whatever it collects on :-)

Now, for the freezer meals. I am really getting into the "Dinner's in the Freezer" craze. I have always put leftovers in the freezer to use for soups, but lately I am experimenting with the entire meal in a container for a quick and easy meal. There are lots of good books about the practice that I will list later on. I also like to have meals ready to prepare for my parents...they are not "old" by any stretch of the imagination, but they are in their late 80's and just need a break now and then :-)

They love easy breakfast meals, and Mom told me they ate their last Freezer French Toast Casserole for dinner...so I make them French Toast casseroles in small, 5x7 aluminum freezer tins I get at the dollar store. I also make them pancakes and waffles and freeze in packs of 4 in freezer bags. Super easy to take out and put in the toaster oven...but that will be another post....

I use my left over homemade bread, but you can use French bread or even regular store bought white bread for this recipe. For today we will use two tins because that's how much bread I have...arrange sliced (or torn) bread in a couple layers, dot with cream cheese if you desire...I leave it out because I seldom have it. Mix up 6 to 8 eggs, 3/4 cup sugar. 6-8 tablespoons melted butter, 2 1/2 cups milk and 1/4-1/3 cup Maple Syrup. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread in the two tins. Use a fork to smoosh the bread until it's all covered. I then sprinkle the tops, liberally, with cinnamon/sugar. I always keep a shaker full of cinnamon/sugar for just such an occasion, but if you don't have the mix you can just sprinkle cinnamon and sugar as desired :-) Cover with foil, label French Toast - thaw - bake 350 for 30 minutes - uncover and bake until bubbly and golden. You can also put it in the oven right out of the freezer and bake a bit longer. It's great either way. Mom knows the drill so I just label "350 for 45 minutes"...she checks often and uncovers when it's warmed and cooked thru.

As I said, this was just a couple of tidbits that were on my mind. 

If you need more information PLEASE just send me a message with any questions and I will be happy to help. You can find info about bone broth, chicken broth, "Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink" soup, etc., in other posts in this blog. Just use the search. And really, PLEASE do send me an email. I'd love to chat!!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cookies Anytime!

You just never know when the craving for a warm, fresh, "right out of the oven" chocolate chip cookie will hit you. Usually it hits us when we are ready to snuggle down on the couch to watch a movie....I could keep cookies in a jar, but we want it fresh and hot. I certainly don't want to get up and whip up a batch of cookies right then. So....I make them up ahead of time and freeze them.

Fresh, warm cookies any time we want them!

I use my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (which I will give you at the end), whip up the batch, drop and shape them on a cookie sheet, freeze, and store them in a ziplock freezer bag. Then when we want a cookie or two I can take out as many as we want and bake them in a 350 oven and we are in cookie heaven!

So, here's what you do....whip up your cookies dough, drop by spoonful on a cookie sheet...they can be close together because you aren't baking them :-) Slide the sheet into the freezer and leave it for a couple hours until the dough is frozen solid. Take 'em out, dump 'em in a gallon sized freezer bag and store 'em in the freezer. I am sure they will last months there, but we have never had them there long enough to test that. When you want cookies just take out as many as you want, put them on a cookie sheet at least an inch apart and bake at 350 for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown.

Here is the recipe I use and it makes the most delicious chocolate chip cookies on the planet! I use organic ingredients when possible. You could add walnuts if you like.

1 cup Buttersoftened
1 cup White Sugar (I use raw)
1 cup Packed Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
½ tsp Salt
2 cups Semisweet Chocolate Chips 
             (you can use one cup if you want to cut down on the calories)

Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Add baking soda to batter along with salt. Stir in flour, chocolate chips, and nuts if desired. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans. Bake or freeze for later.

3. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until edges are nicely browned.

The recipe above is 7000 calories. You can divide by the number of cookies you make if you are keeping track of your calories. I usually get about 50 to 55 cookies from this recipe so the cookies are 130 to 140 calories each. Not too bad. If you use only one cup of chocolate chips the total is 5880 so you can get your per cookie value down to 110 or so. Up to you. Either way, they are delicious and well worth the calories!

Family Night Photos

For the latest Family Night photos you can check out our website link:
Family Night Photo Albums

I'm Back....

It's been a while since I posted anything new, and I apologize for that.

It's been a crazy year. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2016 and that caused a hiccup or two.  I had a bilateral mastectomy, no reconstruction and decided against any other treatment. I am happy to report that I am doing very well. Lanny and I try to walk every day (weather permitting) which makes our two pups very happy....not to mention that I've lost around 40 pounds and feel better than I have in years.

We didn't skip a beat with "Family Night". We continue to gather every Tuesday for food, fun and fellowship...it's just the highlight of my week!

I hope you will check back regularly as I plan to devote a little more time to this page. I do have a few new dishes to share and some ideas that have been rattling around in my head.