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Apple Cake



This is another family recipe and comes from Grandma Lois, and has been at every family event since I can remember.  With a bowl full of apples that needed to be used, I talked to mom and got the recipe and made it.  I used three different varieties of apples, and used half whole wheat flour and half all purpose.  Turned out moist and sweet.  I think a drizzle of caramel sauce will set this off perfectly tonight for dessert.


Apple Cake

Dry Ingredients

3 cups flour (1/2 whole wheat can be used)

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp soda

1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

WET ingredients

2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups canola oil

2 eggs beaten

2 tsp vanilla


Throw the apples into the wet ingredients and mix, then dry and then the nuts. The batter will be VERY dense. Place in a 13 X 9 baking dish and bake in a 325 oven for 25 minutes, then turn up the heat to 350 and bake another 25-30 minutes or till center comes clean with a toothpick.



Canning Spaghetti Sauce


Years ago Chris’ grandma gave me a recipe for homemade spaghetti sauce to can. It couldn’t be any simpler.  With an abundant supply of Marzano tomatoes I decided to put up a couple dozen jars this year.  Here is how I did it!

Grandma Larsen’s Spaghetti Sauce

2 large chopped onion

2 cloves garlic (chopped)

12 tomatoes scalded and peeled and chopped (see note below)

2 cups water

2 beef bouillon cubes

4 tsp basil

2 bay leaves

2 tsp salt

1 tsp oregano

1 12 ounce can tomato paste or 1 quart tomato juice


Simply cook 1 or 2 hours until thick enough, seal in hot jars.  I use a crock pot and let it cook all day.  I then pressure can it according to manufacturers suggestion for our altitude.  I get about 5 1/2 pints out of this recipe

Note: Before dropping tomatoes in boiling water to scald and peel, mark the bottom with a small X. Drop in boiling water for 30-60 seconds, till skins start to crack and remove from water

Steak Marinade

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Easy Peasy!  That’s what this one is.  This came off the back of Montreal Steak Seasoning years ago.  I am forever asked for it.  Here it is.

Montreal Steak Seasoning Marinade

 ¼ cup Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce (I use low sodium)

2 tsp. Montreal Steak Seasoning

Mix all ingredients and marinade for at least an hour or overnight.  

Summer Zucchini

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Zucchini is growing out our ears again this summer.  We even decided to cut back to one plant this year, but can’t seem to find enough things to do with it.  Two recipes that have been a hit with everyone that has tried them is our baked zucchini fries and one that circulated through Facebook baking it like a quiche.  Both are simple, fast and very versatile.


Baked Zucchini Fries


1              cup panko bread crumbs

3              tsp seasoning salt

1              cup all-purpose flour

2              eggs whites beaten

2              medium zucchini, cut into French fry strips


Make three stations:

Station ONE: Mix Flour, seasoning salt, and any other seasoning you like.

Station TWO: beat egg whites till fluffy

Station THREE:  Panko Bread Crumbs

Slice Zucchini into French fry strips, dredge in flour, then egg white and lastly panko bread crumbs.  Place on a foil lined baking sheet with vegetable spray and back at 400 degrees for 20 min.  Time may need to be adjusted depending on your ovens heat.

Side note:   Grated Parmesan can be added to the panko station dredge to add a bit of salt to that layer.  Also I have added McCormick’s vegetable seasoning or lemon pepper or a pinch of Cayenne pepper to the flour dredge.  Great recipe to play with spices.


Zucchini Bites

2 cups shredded zucchini (squeezed to get the water out)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

*optional: season salt, Italian seasoning, lemon pepper or any other spice you love.


Mix all ingredients together and spoon into small muffin tin that has been sprayed with vegetable spray.  Fill to half.  Bake at 400 for 15-20 min, or till brown and crispy on the outside.

Side Note:  One of my friends added Italian sausage that she precooked and drained.  A great basic recipe to build on.

Not my mother’s salad

caramel apples

This past Thanksgiving I made a salad I found on allrecipes called Taffy apple salad. It got RAVE reviews by kids and adults alike. So my mother having Christmas dinner at her house decided to make the same salad. So she reads through the recipe and thinks, well we have a few diet restrictions, I’ll leave out the marshmallows, and my dad likes cashews, so I’ll put those in instead of peanuts, and it is lacking color, so I’ll add som maraschino cherries for color. Then she decided that grandma’s Lemon Goop, would be better than the sauce made with the pineapple juice in the recipe.

At dinner, she asks my brother, “How do you like Laurie’s salad?”, he replies, “I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet!”  This is a great salad made just the way it was written.  If you have have diet restrictions?  Don’t eat it.  It’s not for the faint of heart.

Taffy Apple Salad

1 20 ounce can of pineapple chunks

2 cups miniature marshmallows

1 1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg beaten

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped red apples

2 cups raw spanish peanuts

1 8 ounce container frozen whipped topping thawed

  1. Drain pineapple juice into medium saucepan. Combine pineapple chunks and marshmallows into a bowl and refrigerate
  2. Add vinegar, sugar, egg and flour to pineapple juice; mix well. Cook over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and refrigerate until chilled.
  3. Combine juice mixture with pineapple and marshmallows. Add apples, peanuts and whipped topping. Mix well and chill before serving.


lasagna noodles

What could be better on a cold winter night then a big old pan of Lasagna?!  After years and years of trying different recipes, following others, and adapting to my own, I have finally found the perfect combination of sauce to cheese ratio that my family just loves.



tbsp Olive Oil

1 Cup chopped onion

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 lb Sweet Italian Sausage (I have used both ground, and sausage I have removed from casings)

1 Large can of crushed italian tomatoes (good quality)

One 6 ounce can of tomato paste

1/4 cup of red wine for de-glazing the pan

1/2 cup chopped basil leaves

1 /4 cup fresh oregano

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp pepper

Tbsp of butter

12 lasagna noodles

1 lb Ricotta Cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 large egg beaten

1 lb fresh whole milk mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup parmesan to top last layer

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F and move rack to center position
  2. Heat olive oil in the pan over medium heat and add onions cooking till translucent.  Add sausage and garlic, cooking and breaking up till the meat is no longer pink and cooked through.  De-glaze the pan with 1/4 cup red wine, and scrap the bits off the bottom of pan for flavor for about a minute.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  Simmer uncovered on medium low heat for 20 minutes. Add the tablespoon of butter. This ensures that there is not bitterness from your tomatoes.  If the sauce seems too thick, you can add a touch of water, but I have never found it to be a problem.
  3. While sauce is simmering, soak the lasagna noodles in a pan with hot tap water.  (No cooking of pasta needed, just the soak.
  4. In a large bowl, start the filling.  Combine ricotta, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, beaten egg, parsley, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  5. Building the layers; start by covering the bottom of the 9 x 12 x 2 pan with sauce, about 1/4th of the sauce.  Next lay out your lasagna noodles.  I use three noodles across and one at the top to fill in the gap.  Then add your mozzarella cheese slices, leaving space between for melting, and then ricotta cheese.  Repeat layers, starting with sauce until your last layer is the sauce again.  Sprinkle with a 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
  6. Bake uncovered for 50 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

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