The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice

The ultra-simple ways to make healthy food taste delicious – isn’t that what we’re all looking for? This one goes down easy with my family. If you want to stay vegetarian with this recipe, simply use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.

The Sunday Recipe: Savory Brown Rice


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 4 teaspoons low sodium chicken bouillon powder plus 2 cups water OR  2 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup of brown rice


  1. Prepare a medium-large pot with non-stick cooking spray or just the olive oil and heat over medium low heat.
  2. Dice the onion, carrot, and celery. (I use a plunger chopper with multiple blades to make this part go very quickly.)
  3. Sauté veggies in pot for a few minutes until softened.
  4. While they are cooking, in a fine mesh strainer rinse your rice until the water runs clear, leave to drain. (Because our water is not drinkable, I pour the rice into a small bowl, cover with water, stir until water is cloudy and drain off then repeat two more times.)
  5. Add the bouillon and water or chicken broth with the brown rice to the pot, and salt if using.
  6. Bring to a boil then stir and reduce heat to lowest setting.
  7. Cover and allow to cook for 50 minutes.
  8. After 50 minutes, remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 10 more minutes.
  9. Stir the rice and serve.  

The Friday Poem

The Sunday Recipe: Non-Traditional Irish Soda Bread Muffins

This is definitely not what you would call a “traditional” Irish soda bread.

I started out with a muffin recipe from A Spicy Perspective, which can be found here – ttps:// – if you want a recipe that uses regular flour.

Then I started making my substitutions to create something gluten free and a little more friendly for me. Here’s what I came up with. It’s similar, in some ways, but also different. However, my husband and I agreed that it was delicious – buttery, sweet, and tender. (I actually think he liked it better than regular Irish soda bread.)

If you give it a try, let me know how you like it.

Paleo Irish Soda Bread Muffins


  • ½ cup unsalted butter, gently melted
  • 1 egg plus 1 egg white
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • ¾ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut flour, sifted to break up clumps
  • 1 cup raisins, plumped in hot water and drained (I used golden raisins.)


  1. Plump your raisins in hot water for 20 minutes then drain.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350.
  3. Prep 18 muffin wells with cooking spray or paper liners. (I have a 12 cup and two 6 cup tins so I used one large and one small.)
  4. Cut up the butter and warm it gently in the microwave, stirring to melt every minute or so. Set aside.
  5. Whisk the egg with the maple syrup.
  6. Add in the buttermilk.
  7. Add the almond flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  8. Stir in the melted butter.
  9. Add the coconut flour and raisins last, folding to combine quickly but gently. (Coconut flour has a tendency to stiffen dough quickly.)
  10. You will have a fluffy dough. Spoon gently into the prepared tins. (This won’t puff a lot when baking so you don’t want to deflate the air you have in there.)
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Little Rituals

The Sunday Recipe: Cottage Pie

Cottage Pie

I don’t remember having this dish when I was growing up but my daughter saw it online and wanted to give it a try. We’ve made it half a dozen times since then and customized it to fit our tastes, cobbling together a couple recipes into something we really enjoy. It is the ultimate comfort food.

This version is not vegetarian but I could easily see making it vegetarian by using mushroom gravy and either tofu or seitan in place of the meat.

One thing that makes a huge difference, I have found, is the quality of the Worcestershire sauce. We were using the standard grocery store sauce, and it was good, but then I ran out and grabbed a bottle of organic at our local farm store. It was amazing – the flavor was so much more complex and rich.

The other thing that makes a big difference to me is how finely minced the ground beef is, the trick is to keep the meat moving with a wood spoon or spatula as it browns. This produces a finer mince than you would get if you just turn it a few times during this step. It allows the sauce to fully incorporate and makes it so much better.

We have tried adding no peas, a cup of frozen peas, or a whole package before putting it in the pan and putting the mashed potatoes on top. Personally, I prefer to either leave the peas out or put a cup in and just serve the rest on the side. I think it dilutes the flavor of the casserole just a bit.

We’ve also added a cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese to the mashed potatoes, but it really isn’t necessary, this is so rich and flavorful on its own. 

One of the hardest bits to me is getting the consistency right of the beef and gravy so that the mashed potatoes don’t sink in, and also spooning the potatoes on evenly so they don’t sink in. Last time I used a cookie scoop to drop them on and that worked pretty well.

This time I was impatient and didn’t simmer the gravy for five minutes, so it was a bit soupy. It was still delicious. This serves our family of three for two meals.


  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large carrots or two handfuls of baby carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 1/2 pound of ground beef
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 1/2 pounds potatoes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen green peas (optional)


  1. Chop vegetables.
  2. Peel potatoes and cut into half-inch pieces. Rinse, if needed, then place in a pot and cover with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. While the potatoes boil, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and cook the meat filling, directions as follows.
  5. Mix together the starch with a couple tablespoons of cold water, set aside.
  6. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
  7. Add olive oil and chopped carrots and onions, and minced garlic if using.
  8. Saute a few minutes.
  9. Add the ground beef and keep it moving until it is thoroughly browned and broken up into a fine mince.
  10. Add the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic powder if using.
  11. Salt and pepper as desired.
  12. Stir in the broth and bring it to a gentle bubble. Let it go for 5 minutes to reduce.
  13. Stir in the starch slurry.
  14. Allow to cook for a minute then remove from heat.
  15. Stir in a cup of frozen peas if using.
  16. When the potatoes have simmered for 20 minutes, drain and mash with butter, milk, as well as salt and pepper to taste.
  17. Pour the meat and vegetable filling into a prepared 9 by 13 casserole dish.
  18. Dip the mashed potatoes over onto the filling.
  19. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  20. Allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. (This comes out piping hot!)
  21. Serve with additional vegetable, peas are particularly good with it.

The Friday Poem: Circling ‘Round

Here’s a little poem I wrote last month in response to a prompt on circles.

Read-An-Ebook-Week – Discover New Authors

Discover some great new-to-you authors and their binge-worthy series books on Smashwords


#books #BookSale

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups

I asked my husband if the peanut butter flavor was TOO light in these but we agreed that if it were stronger, it would quickly overpower. With this amount, you can taste it but easily eat the cup and kind of wish you had more.

For perfect cheesecake, everything has to be room temperature. Some people can remember to take things out ahead, I just grab everything and nuke it on low power. Except the egg. That I warm up in hot tap water for a few minutes.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Cups


  • 1 8-ounce block cream cheese (preferably full fat (Philadelphia has been the most reliable but I’ve used lots of other brands.)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey or sugar)
  • ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Set two cups of water to heat in the microwave on high for 2 minutes.
  3. Cut the cream cheese up into chunks in a bowl.
  4. Pour the maple syrup over the cream cheese.
  5. Microwave on medium power for one to two minutes, until it stirs easily with a wire whisk.
  6. Whisk together gently, side to side until everything is incorporated without any lumps.
  7. Stir in the room temp peanut butter, sour cream, and heavy cream.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then incorporate into the cream cheese mixture.
  9. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. Divide the filling between four ramekins.
  11. Place the ramekins in a square tin or glass dish.
  12. Pour the water into the tin, around the ramekins.
  13. Carefully place in the oven.
  14. Bake for 30 minutes.
  15. Turn the oven off and set the timer for another 30 minutes.
  16. At the end of the hour, remove the tin from the oven.
  17. Use tongs to place the ramekins onto a towel. Alternatively, use a turkey baster to remove the water from the tin without taking the ramekins out.
  18. Allow to cool for 30 to 60 minutes then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  19. To make the chocolate ganache topping, place 1/3 cup of chocolate chips in a measuring cup.
  20. Pour just enough cream over the chocolate chips to bring it level with the top of the chocolate chips.
  21. Microwave on 50% power for 1 minute.
  22. Stir gently with a small whisk or fork until it comes together, this can take a few minutes.
  23. Divide over the chilled peanut butter cheesecakes, shake and turn to smooth to the edges.
  24. Enjoy!

The Friday Poem: Concussed