Bonnie Bread


I've had this photo sitting in the drafts for ages ...

I made this up years ago.

I use bake at home bread rolls that I sometimes have in the freezer.

You can put anything on top.

My favorite things include but are not limited to :

olives ... any and all kinds
sundried tomatoes
artichoke hearts
pine nuts
feta cheese
top with a bit of mozzarella cheese

Cut open the bread rolls, top with your choice of toppings, bake in oven til cheese is melted ...

Freezer Organization

So, the other day I saw this article in Better Homes and Gardens about organizing your freezer, and I totally wanted to do it.

As luck would have it, we were given a stand-up freezer a couple weeks ago. So, this weekend I went to work. I cleaned the garage, moved the freezer.. plugged it in and got it freezing things... then today, I organized:

Everything is labeled and in it's proper place. I found that I couldn't stick my labels to the metal, so some sections have standing signs like this:

The plastic baskets are great. It keeps things where they belong, and when you need peas.. or something else.. you take out the veggie basket, close the freezer door and search for the peas. You save energy, and don't get frostbite looking for peas.

Things in the door are labeled with clips holding the label in place. I'm so excited to know what I have in my freezer. And then use it.

If you look at the BHG picture at the top, you can see that they have soups in their freezer. They freeze them flat in ziploc bags and then stand them up in a basket once they're frozen. Brilliant. I tried to find the article online to link it, but couldn't. I have a ton of new ideas for the freezer... we'll see if any more of them make it to the garage.


This is a tip, not a recipe, but it's the first time I've ever seen a way to convert cooking times on the stove or in the oven to the crock pot. I adore crock pot cooking and since the cool autumn weather is heading our way, my thoughts are turning to crock pot meals. Happy first day of Autumn/ Spring to you all! I love this day, the balance of it, the daytime hours equalling the nighttime hours precisely today, something that only happens once more all year! Crock pot cooking helps me bring balance at home; nothing like getting home from work to find supper ready to usher in a lovely evening. Enough philosophizing---here's the tip! Hope it's as useful to you all as it seems like it will be to me! Credit goes to a crockpot recipe of the week newsletter I receive.

Crockpot Conversion Chart

If original recipe calls for 1/4 to 1/2 hr, cook on low for 4 to 8 hours or cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours

If original recipe calls for 1/2 to 1 hr, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 3 to 4 hours

If original recipe calls for 1 to 3 hrs., cook on low for 8 to 16 hrs. or cook on high for 4 to 6 hrs.

Low is 180 to 200 degrees
High is around 300 degrees

The cooking times sure aren't very specific, but only a guideline given by the Culinary Arts Institute.

Couscous-stuffed Peppers

4 bell peppers (any color)
1 T vegetable oil
1 medium zucchini, shredded
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T lemon juice
2 c cooked couscous
1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans, drained
1 tomato, chopped (small pieces)
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
3/4-1 c crumbled feta cheese

Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove stems, seeds, and membranes. (May parboil for 5 minutes if desired--I omit this step as I prefer the pepper a bit crunchy.)

Preheat oven to 350.

Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients. Place pepper halfs cut side up in lightly greased shallow baking dish. Fill each pepper half with couscous mixture. (Any extra filling can be put around peppers in dish.)

Bake 20 minutes, until filling is heated through.

Recipe adapted from Reader's Digest.

Peanut Butter Cups

This is for Bonnie.

1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate morsels

3 T butter

1 T oil

¼ cup smooth peanut butter

1 T powdered sugar

If you have those cool Teflon muffin cups, spray with a little non-stick spray. Otherwise, line a muffin pan with cupcake papers.

Melt chocolate, butter and oil. Melt peanut butter and sugar together.

Using a spoon or a pastry bag (I used a spoon but I imagine bags would be MUCH easier), divide half the chocolate mixture between the muffin cups (how many depends on how thick you want your finished candy. I used 6 and they were a little too hefty).

Next, divide the peanut butter evenly among the cups, making at least a half-hearted attempt to keep the peanut butter in the middle.

Cover each cup with the remaining chocolate mixture.

Put muffin pan in freezer for 30 minutes, or until it sets up.


Teriyaki Chicken


I found this recipe at Imperrfections but changed it up a tiny little bit.
The biggest change being the substitution of agave nectar for the sugar !

3 chicken breasts, cut intro strips
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon water
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 of 1/3 cup agave nectar (does that make sense ? it called for 1/3 cup sugar so I got out my 1/3 cup and half filled it with agave nectar ...)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp ground pepper

Preheat over to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, 220 degrees Celsius.

Line a 9x13 baking pan with foil (I used baking paper) and lay the chicken in it.

In a small sauce pan whisk together cornstarch and water until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until combined, then stir constantly until thickened. It doesn't take long and you HAVE TO watch it because it will go from thickening to burning in less than 2 seconds ! I think that is because of the agave ...

Once the sauce has thickened, pour over chicken and mix to coat.

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Menu Plan Monday - Khrista - 09.14.09


Chinese - made at home the healthy way...

One day when I have the gumption I am going to attempt to make Bonnie's gyoza, but for now, I buy it already made. :) We eat this with our Chinese, even though it is technically Japanese...or Korean as Bonnie states in the above linked post. I also buy pre-made spring rolls...It's healthier, but still quick, like take-out!

Hurry Up Alfredo
No picture because this will be our first time having this...will let you know how it turns out. :)

Tomato Tart

I thought I had posted the recipe here, but upon searching I cannot find it. I will look a little more later, and if I can't find it, I will post the recipe! :)

Falafel Pitas

Since our favorite pita place is closed for the season, I am going to attempt to recreate these for my Mom, who will be visiting. I bought and froze pitas from them before they closed. :)

Pizza Night!

We are planning to go to the farmers market this day, so we will most likely eat out, and then we are going to a potluck picnic later. I plan to take Blackeyed Pea Salad, and Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese frosting.

Eat Out or "Raid the Pantry"

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 14 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

I had less than $100 left in the grocery budget for this week ... That is less than half of what we budget. We budget $220 a week. That is for toiletries and food ... I find it hard to stick to but am trying my darndest. Truth be told, I'd like to come in under the $200 a week mark. Way under. But it seems like an unrealistic goal. I buy VERY LITTLE PROCESSED food so can't really cut much out there. Crackers, I buy two or three boxes of them a week but that's about it. We eat very little meat. This week I bought $7 worth of chicken, and $10 worth of sausages that I separated up into 3 meal portions and froze. The bulk of our bill is fresh fruit and veg. ANYWAY ... I went to the grocery store yesterday and spent only $89.57. I was thrilled !! That is only for 4 days ... But it gets us through this week. And next week I'm going to aim to come in under $200 ... We will see. Any of you care to share your budget struggles ? or non struggles ? Do you have a budget ? Do you stick to it ? Thoughts, people ... I'd love to know your thoughts !

Onto the menu ...
( I had to forgo the fish tacos due to budget restrictions
and Aunt Jo's chicken will be tried soon, but not this week as I originally thought ! )

Lasagna from freezer stash !!

BBQ with Mum and Dad (hence the sausage purchase!)

Teriyaki Chicken
(this was a new recipe ... delicious and easy ... I'll post the recipe soon !)
Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli

Spaghetti Aliolio
Black Olive Salad

I'm trying another Closet Cooking recipe.
I love his blog ! Have you been there ? No ?? Oh man, you need to go check it out !!!
Corn and Black Bean Quinoa Salad
Sausages for the kids and Rory who will revolt if I just serve this by itself.
Roasted Cauliflower and Broccoli
(Yes, again ! We love this stuff ! )

Tortilla Espanola
and I'll rummage around and make something with the veggies that are left ...
or maybe leftovers on the side ...

Avocado Salad

Aunt Kathy discovered this yummy salad. It is Cuban in origin. Apparently many Cubans do not have access to fresh greens, so they make delicious simple salads out of avocados. This recipe is very easy and wonderfully refreshing!

1-2 ripe avocados, thinly sliced
1/4 of a small red onion, thinly sliced
1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 T red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Mix. Eat.

Heather's Apple Crumble


My friend Heather gave me this recipe years ago ... we still love it !
It's quick and easy and so yummy ... especially good on a cold winter's night !

4 cups sliced/peeled apple (we like granny smith's best)

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oats
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp nutmeg

ice cream, to serve

  1. Microwave apples 2 - 4 minutes on high, til tender.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients & microwave on high til hot and bubbly (a couple minutes) stirring 1/2 way through.
  3. Spread mixture on apples. Microwave all together on high 4 - 6 minutes.
  4. Serve with ice cream.

Black Olive Salad

This has been my favorite salad for my whole life !
So simple. So delicious.
This is why my Mom mails Italian Dressing mix to me !!
(can't buy it in Australia and the ready made ones just aren't the same !!)


I use iceberg lettuce because it is so crispy !
Sliced black olives but only because they are the only ones I can buy pitted.
Onion. Thinly sliced.
Italian Dressing.


Chicken Kabobs

1-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (may use turkey)
1/4 c soy sauce
2 T canola or olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 t crushed or ground red pepper
1-2 red peppers, cut in large cubes
2-3 small zucchini, cut in think slices
4-6 large mushrooms, cut in fourths
(may add or substitute any like veggie)
6-8 oz plain yogurt
1/4 t ground cumin
2-3 T chopped mint

Remove fat from chicken and cut into 1 inch cubes (and/or 1 inch by 2 inch strips).
Combine soy sauce, oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Add chicken and mix. Cover and marinate in fridge for an hour (or more).
Thread marinated chicken and veggies on 4-6 long metal skewers. Brush with marinade.
Broil or grill kabobs 5-6 minutes, turn, and broil/grill 5-6 minutes more, until chicken is cooked through.
Mix yogurt, cumin, and mint. Serve as a dip on the side.

Turkey Tostadas


This is another recipe out of my delicious magazine.

Modified, like this ...

half a red onion
6 tomatoes
garlic, 2 or 3 cloves (to your liking)
bunch of coriander (cilantro)
4 cups shredded cooked turkey
can refried black beans
flour tortillas
shredded lettuce, avocado, sour cream and lime wedges to serve

Roast onion, tomato and garlic in 180C oven for about 20 minutes. Peel tomatoes and then process the three in the food processor til smooth. Add coriander. Season to taste. Heat beans. Warm tortillas. To serve ... put beans on tortilla, add turkey, sauce from food processor, lettuce, avocado, and sour cream. Season and garnish with lime and coriander sprigs.

I love gadgets ...

My mother in law gave me these cute little soy sauce holders years ago. They are perfect for sending with sushi lunches. However ... I've always had difficultly getting the soy sauce into them. When I was last in the States, I found a tiny little funnel at The Container Store. I bought it, brought it home, unpacked it and haven't seen it since. I think it must have gotten thrown away by accident. It was really tiny.


Anyway ... one morning, after pouring soy sauce all over my counter yet again, I had a flash of brilliance !! You know those little syringes that come with kids medicine ? Well ... I've got a bunch of them and they are perfect !! You just suck the soy sauce up into the syringe ...


and then squeeze it down into the bottle !!


Works wonders and now, these are not only handy, they are easy too ...


Getsuyobi no Menyu no Ishi

Getsuyobi no Menyu no Ishi is my best attempt to translate Menu Plan Monday into Japanese.
Bonnie asked me to reproduce what I originally posted on my blog. It isn't a recipe, but it's a translation of a menu. Before we get to the menu, however, a few words about the Japanese writing above. Getsuyobi translates Monday literally, meaning Moon Day. The first character, Getsu, is the Kanji (Chinese character used to write Japanese) for the Moon. The third character is the Kanji for the Sun, which in this case means day. They are both pictograms, originating from pictures of the objects they represent.
The second Kanji (Yo) is a wonderful illustration of how pictograms can combine to form a new character, in this case an ideogram. There are three parts to this character, the sun, wings, and a bird. The idea is that the sun flies by on bird's wings as the days of the week fly by!
The fourth symbol above is the Hiragana pronounced "no." In this case it signifies that Getsuyobi modifies the noun following the "no." Hiragana is a 46-character syllabary used to write Japanese words and to add grammar to the Kanji.
The next four symbols are characters in another syllabary, called Katakana, used to write foreign words. They simply transliterate the English word "menu" into Japanese. Then comes the Hiragana possession indicator "no" once again.
Finally, the last two Kanji are very interesting. Taken together and pronounced Ishi, they signify will, intention, aim, or plan. The first part of the word is a Kanji meaning will, heart, mind, thought. The bottom of the Kanji means heart, the top half means sound. So a thought is the sound of the heart. The second part of the word is a Kanji meaning will, intention, or aim. It is formed with a man or scholar on the top and the radical for heart on the bottom. Put the two together and it means will, intention, aim, plan. Thus Getsuyobi no Menyu no Ishi—Menu Plan Monday.

Our niece, Pam, and her friend, Becky, recently went on vacation in Hawaii. Knowing how I love Japanese, they sent me this picture of a Subway menu in Japanese. Becky pointed out that BLT is in English. What is fascinating is that about 80% of this menu is in English adapted into the Japanese language phonetically. It's something we might call Nihonglish (Nihongo is Japanese for the Japanese language). By learning a 46-character syllabary called Katakana, you could read 80% or more of this menu.

There are only a few actual Kanji (Chinese characters used to write Japanese) on the menu, and since they mostly use the On-yomi (that is the Chinese reading of the Kanji), they represent Chinese sounds/ideas adopted into Japanese.

In fact, the only real native Japanese on this menu, in one sense, are the few Hiragana (another 46-character syllabary, used to write native Japanese words and to add grammatical endings to the Kanji) along with a couple of Kanji using the Kun-yomi (Japanese reading of the character)!

Top Line says "Sabuay"-wa furesshu de Shinsen dakara itsumo oishii!" Subway fresh. Because it's fresh, it's always delicious). The two Kanji are read Shinsen, a second way to write the meaning "fresh."

Second line: "Okisa-wa 6 inchi to 12 inchi, rappu mo arimasu."—Sizes we have: 6-inch and 12-inch, and also wraps.

Third line: "Yasai-wa oSukinamono o oErabi Kudasai." Literally (Regarding) vegetables (polite prefix) favorites or choices (polite prefix) choose please (humble word)—Choose the vegetables you would like. The prefix "o" added to the beginning of Sukinamono and Erabi is an example of word beautification and makes the language more polite. The word Kudasai is a form of please that shows humility on the part of the speaker (writer). When written as a Kanji, it points downward, as follows:

* Beji Deraito (Yasai to cheezu)"—Vegi Delight (Vegetables and Cheese)

* Tahkee Buresto (Shichimencho Muneniku)—Turkey Breast (Turkey Breast, but the word Shichimencho is interesting. It is the designation for a Turkey, but literally it means something like "Seven-Faced Bird," perhaps in reference to the various colors reflected by the turkey’s wattle.)

See more discussion of the word turkey in various languages on my blog here.
* Roesto Bifu —Roast Beef

* Sheefudo to Kurabu (Sheefudo to Kanikama) — Seafood and Fake Crab

* BLT (Baykon, Retasu, tomahto)—BLT (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato)

* Hamu—Ham

* Roesto Chiken Buresto—Roast Chicken Breast

* Sabuay Kurabu (Tahkee, Roesto Beefu, Hamu)—Subway Club (Turkey, Roast Beef, Ham) (Notice crab and club are both transliterated the same into Katakana.)

* Itarian BMT (Peparoni, Sarami, Hamu)—Italian BMT (Pepperoni, Salami, Ham)

The BMT was supposedly originally named after the "Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit," but now is called Biggest, Meatiest, Tastiest.

* Tsuna (Tuna—this is the closest we can get in transliterating Tuna into Katakana).

* Teriyaki chiken—Teriyaki chicken

* Korudo Kahto Conbi (Hamu, Buroeni, Sarami)—Cold Cut Combi(nation) (Ham, Balogna, Salami)
* Chiken, Baykon Ranchi (Chiken, Baykon, Yasai)—Chicken Bacon Ranch (Chicken, Bacon, Ranch) (Note here that the word Lunch would also be transliterated Ranchi.)

* Steiki to Chizu—Steak and Cheese

* Pasutorami—Pastrami

* Beji Maxu (Yasai Hahmbahgah)—Vejimax (Vegetable Hamburger)

* Kizzu Paku (Kora Paku)—(Hamu, Tsuna, Softo Durinku, Tahkee something and it fades out-can't make out the characters, Durinku, and more unreadables)--Kid's Pack (Children's Pack) (Ham, Tuna, Soft Drink, Turkey, ........, Drink,....

* Onomimono: Softo Durinku (Okii, Chui, Chiisai) Kara oErabi Kudasai, Gyunyu, Uroncha, Kocha mo Arimasu—Beverages: Soft Drinks (Large, Medium, Small) Choose, We also have Milk, Oolong Tea, and Black Tea.

* Supu: Kuramuchyaudah, Burokkari Chizu, Chiken Nudoru, Bifu Vejitaburu—Soup: Clam Chowder, Broccoli-Cheese, Chicken Noodle, Beef Vegetable

The Black Circle in the upper righthand corner says that you can add Bacon for 50 cents to the 6-inch or a dollar to the 12-inch sandwich.

Jill's Fish Tacos

It's only fair to warn you that this is an original recipe and all the amounts are my best guesstimate. I hardly ever measure anything unless I'm baking. But I trust that everyone reading this recipe is already a competent cook and will forgive me!

Although the idea of fish in a taco is weird, stay with me, these are amazing blow-your-hair-back yummy!


Fish – I used Dover Sole, but any mild flaky white fish will work

Corn Tortillas

¼ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

Pinch salt

½ tsp chili powder


Flour for dredging

Oil for frying


¼ cup lime juice

1 T water

Pinch salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp chili powder

For the sauce:

½ cup mayonnaise (real mayo, no miracle whip of nastiness)

¼ cup half and half or cream

1 clove garlic*

1-2 Serrano chilies, seeded

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro Lime Rice:

1 cup short grain rice

1½ cups water

1-2 T fresh cilantro, chopped fine

2-3 T Lime juice


Step 1:

Cook rice and water on high until it begins to boil, then turn it down to low heat and cook for 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Add cilantro, lime juice, and salt.

Step 2:

Cut fish into taco-sized pieces, about 1 ½” x 2 ½” (thin pieces work best). Mix marinade ingredients and add the fish pieces. Let stand.

Step 3:

Put all the sauce ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If desired, you can add some parsley or cilantro to the sauce. Put in fridge.

Step 4:

In shallow bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt, and chili powder. Add water until a thick batter forms.

If you have a deep fryer, skip to step 6.

Step 5:

Heat about 2” of oil in a skillet. Put on a jacket.

Step 6:

Dredge the fish pieces in flour, coat liberally with batter and deep fry until golden. (It is okay if your fish does not get completely opaque, if your pieces are thin enough, the lime juice will have already cooked them) Drain on a paper towel.

Step 7:

In a dry skillet or griddle, heat tortillas for about 30 each side. The tortillas MUST be heated or they will crumble in a most untoward fashion.

Step 8:

Lay fish on a bed of the rice on a tortilla, top with sauce. Try not to gobble.

* usually when recipes say 1 clove garlic I put in 3-7, but in this case, I really really mean ONE clove.

Your {Guess} Is As {Good} As Mine

My husband is an amazing cook.
Take for instance this stir fry he cooked the other night ...


He started with the meat and a bunch of sauces and seasonings.


Added a bunch of veggies and no doubt more seasonings.


But that, my friends, is as much as I know !
He never uses a recipe and he refuses to write down his masterpieces !

Sometimes I get it out of him before it disappears from his memory.
Like this amazing salmon and of course his carbonara.

But this stir fry is a one and only ...

Menu Plan Monday - Bonnie - 7 September 2009

Menu Plan Monday is hosted by Laura at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Chicken Wings
Carrots/Celery & Ranch
Hot Chips (from fish and chip shop)


boys to football game !
girls to do something fun ... eat out ??

Salmon Salad


Falafel with Salad

Photobucket Image Hosting

Black Bean Chili Soup from the freezer
with corn chips, avocado, yogurt and cheese


Spaghetti Bolognaise from freezer
Roast Cauliflower and Broccoli


Spanikopita meatballs
I'm going to serve with quinoa
peas and corn (because Jono has been asking for them!)


Asian Chop Salad

This could more accurately be called "stuff I had in my fridge salad." But it sure was good!

To make:
chop up some cucumber
a nice ripe tomato
throw in a couple green onions
and some faux-crab

give the sesame seed jar a good shooka-shooka
drizzle some olive oil
a splash of rice vinegar
add a touch of sesame oil
and a sprinkle of cilantro



I'd imagine that it would be even better if it sat for a while, but it was so yummy I couldn't wait!

Wings Wings Glorious Wings

It's a crime, really, but Australian's don't do Hot Wings. At least ... not that I've seen. And certainly not like we Yanks do ! So ... I have to make them myself. I have made the hot ones before but this time I also tried to recreate the Parmesan Wings that the kids liked when we were last in Colorado.

I've been told that Franks is the best sauce to use for the Hot Wings but I can't buy that here so I use tabasco.

As for the photos ... let's just ignore the way the wings look and focus on how they tasted which was GREAT !!

So ... I chopped up the wings ... you know, separating the wing and the little leg bit and cutting of the tips of the wings. Good thing I have a big meat cleaver now ! After that, I laid them all on a lined baking sheet, sprayed them with olive oil and then put them into a HOT (between 450 and 500 F) oven for 25ish minutes.

Then I tossed the wings in the bowls with the sauces to coat ...


Now ... for the sauces.


4 TBLS butter
2 - 3 TBLS hot sauce
1 TBLS white vinegar

Heat in saucepan to melt butter and combine ingredients.


Butter ... I didn't measure because I was only doing it for 6 wings (for the kids)
Garlic Powder
Parmesan Cheese

Melt butter in microwave. Mix in other ingredients to taste ...

Pumpkin {Lentil} Salad


I loved this.
Rory thought it was ok.
Next time I might make him some chicken on the side, then he might like it ! :)

Here's the recipe that I modified from one I found in a magazine.

1 kg pumpkin ... I like kent or butternut but any that is good for roasting would be fine.
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp moroccan seasoning
1/2 a red onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cans lentils (I actually only use 1 can but you could use two if you like lots of lentils!)
spinach and rocket mixture

So .... spray your pumpkin with olive oil and roast in bite size pieces in a 200C oven - 20 minutes or so.

Make dressing by combining orange juice and 1/2 the olive oil, sugar and moroccan seasoning.

Heat remaining oil in a frying pan over med heat. Cook onion and garlic for a couple of minutes ~ until soft. Add lentils ... heat through.

In serving bowl, combine lentil mixture, pumpkin, greens, and feta. Top with dressing.

Serve with toasted turkish bread. I did ours in the sandwich press ... topped with olive oil and dukkah.

PS ... this was great as leftovers along side
a delicious omelet cooked by the omelet master - Rory !