Lemony Cupcakes

Easy to make and just up our alley in terms of taste!

For this recipe you need two standard 12-cup muffin tins.

Lemony Cupcakes


  • 2 1/4 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp poppy seeds (we omitted them)
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 sugar
  • 2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbl lemon juice
  • sprinkles of your choice


Mix all the dry ingredients together.  In a different bowl, beat the butter, sugar, and lemon together.  Add eggs one at a time and beat in.  Then add half of the flour mixture and mix it in.  Now add the milk and then the remaining flour mixture.  Mix until it is all blended well.

Preheat the oven to 325ºF.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin tins with paper.  Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each three-fourth full.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown and a wooden skewer inserted comes out clean.  Take out the pans and set them on a wire rack.  Let cool for a few moments, then take the muffins out of the tins and let them cool completely on the rack.

Now for the glaze:  Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar until the glaze has the right consistency, adjusting the amount of sugar as you go.  You don’t want it too thin so it doesn’t run off the cupcakes.  Sprinkle with sprinkles or other decoration right away, if desired, then let the glaze dry and harden for about 20 minutes.  And there’s that.  Enjoy!


Applesauce Bread

This cake-like bread tastes wonderful with butter!

The same recipe works for Banana Bread: Simply substitute the applesauce for banana (you will need two medium sized ones), and omit the cinnamon from the dry ingredients.

Applesauce Bread


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of apple sauce or mashed banana
  • 1/3 cup  milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts, if desired.  If omitting, add 1/4 cup more flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon (omit if making banana bread)



Heat oven to 350ºF.  Grease BOTTOM ONLY of a 9×5″ or 8×4″ loaf pan.

In a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy.  Beat in eggs; add applesauce (or banana), milk and vanilla.  Blend.

In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, nuts if using, salt, baking soda, cinnamon) and mix well.

Add dry ingredient mixture to wet ingredient mixture and stir until just mixed.

Pour into greased pan and bake for 50 – 60 min.  The bread is done if an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and let cool completely.

For storage, wrap tightly and keep in the fridge.

IMG_3005 - Edited
The texture and look of all breads is determined by the flour you use. For this bread as for most everything we bake, I used freshly ground wheat flour. If you use all purpose flour, your applesauce bread will look a lot lighter than ours.

Sourdough Pancakes

Prepare the sponge the night before, and you can make fresh sourdough pancakes in the morning!

How’s your starter doing?  Mine took a while to mature, so to speak.  It really only started to get frothy this week, and it has been going for at least a month.  In the meantime, I have been baking with it regardless: There are plenty of recipes for baked goods with sourdough that you can use even if your starter doesn’t rise all that well yet, like the sourdough biscuits I posted recently.  Here is another such recipe: sourdough pancakes.

Sourdough Pancakes


  • 2 cups sourdough sponge (proofed batter; see below for instructions)
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 Tbl sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbl baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup melted butter



  1. Prepare the sourdough starter the night before, that is, take your starter from the fridge and measure out 1 1/2 cups.  Put into a bowl (preferably glass or porcelain rather than metal), add 1 1/2 cups of flour and 1 cup of tepid water.  Mix well.  Let sit over night, lightly covered; return the rest of the starter, if there is any, to the fridge.  In the morning, measure out 2 cups of starter for your pancakes into a mixing bowl and reunite the rest with your starter in fridge.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and leavening agents) together.
  3. Add the milk and the eggs to the two cups of proofed starter and mix well.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well, then let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Gently stir in the melted butter, then fry in batches like you would any other pancake.

Recipe courtesy of the Frugal Gourmet Jeff Smith.


Perfectly Puffy Pancakes

If you do not like baking powder, this pancake recipe is not for you. Otherwise, it’s wonderful, and suitable for sweet or savory toppings.

We found this recipe in an Amish cookbook.  Works out great for us.

Perfectly Puffy Pancakes


  • 4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbl plus 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups of milk


Sift flour, mix together with salt and 1 Tbl baking powder.  Add melted butter, eggs and milk until the batter has the consistency you desire.  Just before baking, add the last 1 tsp of baking powder for extra thick, fluffy pancakes.

Bake in a skillet in batches.  You can slice apples and add to the pancakes in the skillet, or add slices of bacon and onion, or tomato slices and onion, or just fry plain and use sweet or savory toppings of your choice.

In this family, applesauce and maple syrup are a favorite for sweet pancakes, bacon and onion for the savory variety.

Beef and Cheese

Here’s a quick and easy spaghetti casserole recipe.

No vegetables in this dish, so plan on making some on the side for a complete meal, or serve with a salad, or both.

Beef and Cheese


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 3 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cups cheese


Cook spaghetti until tender.  Brown beef and onion in butter.  Add flour and milk, mix well.  Cook until thick.

Mix 1/2 cup of cheese with the spaghetti and place half of the spaghetti in a baking dish.  Put in the meat mixture.  Add remaining spaghetti.  Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

Bake at 350ºF for 25 to 30 minutes.




German Pizza

If you use potatoes instead of dough for pizza, you must be a German!

This is a tasty main dish from the skillet that can help you deal with leftover meat and vegetables in a delicious way.  It also makes for a hearty breakfast.

German Pizza


  • 1 tbl fat for the skillet
  • 2 cups shredded raw potato
  • cooked or smoked meat of your choice
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 slices of cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste


Heat a skillet, melt fat in it.  Add potatoes, salt and pepper.  Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked.

Arrange meat on top of potatoes.  Beat eggs and pour over top.  Cover with cheese slices.  Cover and simmer until the eggs are set.


  • This recipe is for ready-to-eat meats only.  Don’t put, say, raw chicken or ground beef on top of the potatoes and expect it to cook through.
  • You can add other vegetables if you wish, like peppers, onion, garlic, zucchini, sauerkraut and the like.  If they are raw, add them with the raw potatoes in the beginning.  If they are cooked, add them before pouring in the eggs.
  • If you have a fairly deep skillet, you might want to flip your German Pizza to help the eggs on the top set, so don’t add the cheese right after you poured in the eggs, but add the cheese after you flipped it back, then cover and continue to simmer until cheese is melted.
  • Using cooked or canned potatoes (and other veggies) will make this meal even quicker and easier.

Summer Johnny Marzetti

Grandma never made this Ohioan recipe as a casserole, so this is mostly a summer dish for us.

This pasta recipe is a spin-off of spaghetti Bolognese, and a quick favorite.  As long as our own canned tomato sauce lasts, I use it instead of the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices listed below.  The recipe will feed a family of five unless you are raising young hobbits.  Serve with green beans and salad on the side.  If you are avoiding carbs, substitute pasta for spaghetti squash or sauteed cabbage (see below).

Johnny Marzetti


  • 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, each 30 oz or thereabouts
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
  • lots of oregano and basil, dried or fresh, pepper and salt to taste
  • red wine to taste
  • splash of maple syrup or 1 Tbl of brown sugar to taste
  • 2 lbs bulk maple sausage
  • 3 cups of elbow macaroni


  • Use crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, spices, wine and sweetener to make a tomato sauce.
  • Brown the sausage until cooked.  Add sausage to sauce.
  • Add red wine to the skillet you browned the sausage in, boil for a moment and scrape the skillet bottom.  Pour into the sauce.  Let sauce simmer.
  • Cook pasta according to directions.
  • Serve with grated cheese, Parmesan or otherwise.



Any thick-ish pasta will be fine with this, and if it is cold outside, you can turn it all into a casserole, too, which is what most people make when they prepare Johnny Marzetti.  Just mix pasta and sauce, top with cheese and and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F, or until the cheese is bubbly.

If you are using spaghetti squash instead of pasta, bake squash halves upside down in the oven on a baking sheet with a little water on it, at 300 F until it is soft.  Time depends on the size of your squash.

If you use cabbage instead of pasta, sautee a chopped onion in butter and bacon fat, then add chopped cabbage.  Season with ground or fresh sage, and pepper.  Sautee for about two hours, stirring frequently and adding more fat when necessary.


Light-Green Coleslaw

Here is our favorite no-mayo coleslaw recipe.  It has become a staple in our diet, in other words, there is always a bowl of it in the fridge.

When I first came here, “Coleslaw” seemed like a strange word for what I knew as Krautsalat, until I realized that “cole” was just the Americanized pronunciation of the German word “Kohl” which, like “Kraut”, refers to cabbage in one form or another.

This is a no-mayo coleslaw, by the way.  Drenching Kohl in mayo was another thing I was quite unused to, and I still prefer coleslaw with vinegar and oil over the mayonnaise variety.


Light-Green Coleslaw


  • 1/2 a head of cabbage
  • 3 tblsp minced celery
  • 4 tblsp cider vinegar *
  • 2 tblsp olive oil *
  • 1 tblsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • parsley for garnish, optional

* As for the ratio of oil and vinegar, you have to figure out how much of either you like.  I usually reverse the ratio given, i.e. I use about twice as much oil as vinegar.



Chop or shred the cabbage, add minced celery.  In a small bowl, combine vinegar, oil, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper.  You can substitute the dry mustard for normal mustard.

Pour over salad, toss well.  Turn into a glass serving bowl and garnish with parsley, if you wish.

This salad keeps well in the fridge and can be doctored up with small cuts of sandwich meats or leftover cold chicken, pork or beef.  Add nuts to it as well, and you have turned this side dish into a nourishing and delicious cold summer dinner.


The recipe was taken from Jane Watson Hopping’s The Country Mother’s Cookbook.  New York, 1991.   The photo is not mine, either.

Yorkshire Pudding

This recipe is from the schooling material for Lassie Come-Home.

I am reading Lassie Come-Home, and in the schooling material for it was this recipe for Yorkshire Pudding.  The picture is not ours because ours was eaten so quickly that I could not take a picture of it!  Here is the recipe for it:


Yorkshire Pudding


  • 3\4 of a cup of flour
  • 1\2 a teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3\4 of a cup of milk
  • pan drippings from pork chops


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees  F.
Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
Beat the eggs and milk in a separate bowl until light and foamy.
Stir in the dry ingredients, but don’t overmix.
Pour the drippings in a cast iron skillet.
Put the skillet in the oven and get the drippings smoking hot.
Take the skillet out of the oven and pour in the batter.
Put the skillet back in the oven and cook until puffed and dry, about 15 to 20 minutes.

yorkshire pudding


Valentine Sandwich Cookies

The oldest daughter suggested the design and so these cookies look quite fancy.

Valentine’s Day came and went, and this year we tried out a new cookie recipe for the occasion.  The oldest daughter suggested the design and so the end result looks quite fancy, but they are still easy to make and easy to modify for any occasion that you want to make cookies for.  Plain ol’ biscuit cutters of different sizes work fine, too.  This is a shortbread cookie, so plan in some time to let the dough chill in the fridge.

Valentine Sandwich Cookies

6 tablespoons of butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup strawberry jam
powdered sugar

In a large bowl, mix the butter with the brown sugar, beating until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and vanilla and blend.

Add flour and salt, beat well.  Wrap the dough and chill 1 hour or longer.

Roll the dough in batches to 1/8-inch thickness.

Cut with cookie cutter of your choice.  Transfer the cookies to a lightly greased baking sheets.

Cut out the center of half of the cookie with a smaller cookie cutter.

Bake at 350°F. for 5 to 6 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned. Cool slightly on the baking sheets; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Spread the solid cookies evenly with strawberry jam, and if desired, dust the cookies with the cutout centers lightly with powdered sugar.

Top the solid cookies with the sugar-dusted cookies, pressing lightly together to fill cutouts with jam.

dusting with powdered sugar

We used the cutouts for more sandwich cookies of the less fancy kind as shown below.  How many cookies this makes depends on the size of your cookie cutters; we got 13 out of the deal this time around.

Very tasty!

Valentine sandwich cookies instagram.jpg

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