My husband loves roast.  Tender, flavorful roast, cooked along with tender, sweet quartered onions and  carrots.  He remembers having this every week for Sunday dinner. 

He doesn't get it so often now, with the budget cuts of meat costing $3/lb!

Sometimes what I do make doesn't quite measure up to his fond memories, but this one did.  He raved about it for days.

This makes enough spice mixture  for a 2 ½ -3 lb. roast.  You can make a much bigger batch and save the extra it for future meals. You can vary the spices according to what you have and what sounds good.  This one is good on not only beef, but also chicken, fish, and pork.

Meat Rub- using essential oils
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 drop (or 4 tiny drops) garlic oil 
1 drop (4-5 tiny drops) oregano oil
1 drop (3-4 tiny drops) rosemary oil
2 tiny drops fennel oil (OK without but fantastic with)

I rubbed this on the top, then seared the roast only on the bottom.  To sear, put 1-2 Tbsp. oil in the bottom of a large pan, heat to almost smoking, and then add the roast.  Cook 2-4 minutes, until the bottom is well browned.  Add potatoes, peeled and quartered onions and carrots and sprinkle them generously with salt, 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt per pound of vegetables.  Add about 1 cup of water.

Cover and simmer (or bake at 350 F) for 3-4 hours, or until roast is tender, checking periodically to make sure the water hasn't all boiled away.

Meat Rub- using dried herbs
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 ½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder 
1 tsp. powdered oregano OR 2 tsp. dried oregano leaves 

Put the rosemary and fennel in a small non-plastic bowl and grind them using the bottom of a glass spice jar or similar. (If you have a mortar and pestle, use them!)  Add the salt, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano.  Stir to combine, then rub the whole mixture over the roast.

A tuna burger- filled with savory ingredients and topped with melted cheese...  a slice of tomato and a slabs of pickle would be good here, but I didn't add them this time.

The original recipe for this came from a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook featuring kids' lunches.  They had two versions, the "Mermaid Delights" using shredded carrots and dried basil, and "Buccaneer Burgers" using canned corn and dried dill.  The idea is to stir in 1/3- 1/2 c. of some small bits of vegetable and 1/4 tsp. of an herb.   Feel free to come up with your own!  Canned salmon can be substituted for the tuna, if you like, as could about 4 ounces of any cooked fish.  If you like mayonnaise on burgers, tartar sauce would be a good replacement here.

The patties didn't turn out as large as the book's photos showed, and today it dawned on me why.  When the book was written, several years ago, a can of tuna weighed 6 1/2 ounces.  They've shrunk since then, down to 5 ounces.  I opened and drained two cans and weighed them to see how much actual meat was in there; each can held about 3 1/2 ounces tuna.  So there you go.  For larger patties, either just make three for each can of tuna you use, or make them thinner.

Mermaid Delights

1 (5 oz.) can tuna, drained
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. dried basil
dash of pepper
14 rich round crackers, crushed, OR about 1/3 c. dry bread crumbs
1 medium carrot, shredded
1/3 c. shredded cheese (you choose which kind)
4 slices of cheese (your choice)

4 hamburger buns (the ones above are homemade)
4 lettuce leaves
sliced tomato and/or pickles

Put tuna in a bowl and break into chunks.  Mix in egg, then basil, pepper, and crumbs.   Stir in shredded carrot and shredded cheese.  Turn on the oven broiler.
Grease a cookie sheet, then scoop mixture into four (or three!) equal piles on it.  
Shape into flat patties, about 3 1/2" across.  Broil about 4" from heat, for 4 minutes or until browned.  Either flip patties over and broil another 3-4 minutes, OR turn the oven to 375 degrees F and let them bake 10 more minutes.  

Top immediately with a slice of cheese, then assemble burgers with the buns, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.
Do you have too much zucchini?  

You could give it away.  Or shred and freeze it.  Or puree it and then freeze.  (I prefer pureeing & freezing because it maintains the same texture when thawed. It hides better in zucchini bread and soup, too.)


dehydrate it and turn it to powder.  

It takes very little space to store it this way, and it's easy to use.  Mix 2-3 Tbsp. of powder with enough hot water to equal one cup- for one cup (8 oz.) of puree.

Try it in Lemon-Zucchini Bread or Curried Zucchini Bisque (creamy soup).  Mmm.

See this post for how to best store the powder.
September 17th is Constitution Day; the United States' Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787.

How big a deal was this?  Well, Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, recently pointed out, "After two centuries, every nation in the world except six have adopted written constitutions, and the U.S. Constitution was a model for all of them. No wonder modern revelation says that God established the U.S. Constitution and that it ‘should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles’ (D&C 101:77)” (“The Divinely Inspired Constitution,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 68) 

The same magazine, this month, asks, "Do Latter-day Saints believe the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document? The Lord Himself answered that question when He declared, “I established the Constitution … by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose” (D&C 101:80).  Since the time of the Prophet Joseph Smith, who called the U.S. Constitution “a heavenly banner” (in History of the Church, 3:304), latter-day prophets have said the Constitution is divinely inspired, declaring that America by divine design was prepared as the place for the Restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. The freedoms and protections enumerated in the Constitution—including freedom of speech, assembly, and religion—made the Restoration possible.

The Church respects the rule of law and constitutional government in every nation and expects Latter-day Saints to adhere to the law, to use their influence to promote and preserve their God-given rights, and “to make popular that which is sound and good, and unpopular that which is unsound” (Joseph Smith, in History of the Church, 5:286)."

Modern scripture also affirms "that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me. Therefore, I, the Lord, justify you, and your brethren of my church, in befriending that law which is the constitutional law of the land;  And as pertaining to law of man, whatsoever is more or less than this, cometh of evil." (D&C 98:5-7)

Another modern prophet, David O. McKay, declared "Next to being one in worshiping God, there is nothing in this world upon which this church should be more united than in upholding the Constitution of the United States! (1956, The Instructor, 91:34) 

Considering the importance of this founding document, both for political and religious reasons, shouldn't we study, understand, and teach this to our children and others?

There is a booklet produced by the LDS church, with "Family Home Evening" lessons about the Constitution, see this post for more on that.  It's out of print, but the post has a link to a pdf.  It's a great place to start.  For links to  ideas, games, videos, and more, see below.  There are lots; pick what will best help you and your family!

Videos and music


Teaching materials/lessons


Scriptures (links from a search on
  •  constitutional law should be befriended, D&C 98:5–6
  • the Lord caused Constitution to be established, D&C 101:77, 80
  • prayer that Constitution be maintained, D&C 109:54
  • Governments are instituted of God for the benefit of mankind, D&C 134:1–5 
  • Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, Matt. 22:21 (D&C 63:26).
  • Be subject to the higher powers, Rom. 13:1
  • Pray for kings and all in authority, 1 Tim. 2:1–2
  • Be subject to principalities and powers and obey magistrates, Titus 3:1
  • Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, 1 Pet. 2:13–14
  • Jesus Christ shall be the ultimate governor of the earth, Rev. 11:15

Yeah, I know that smoked salmon is a little expensive for a website with a name like this one has...  

Would it help you feel better to tell you I buy it during the after-Christmas "food gift" clearance sales?   It's at least 50% off then.  

OK, it's still not real frugal.  But it does have an incredible shelf life-- and is one of my absolute-favorite foods!- which is why I had a couple tins of it on hand when the idea for this sandwich struck.  I decided, the day of the contest, to enter the "Fleishman’s Yeast Sandwich Bread Contest 2012" at the Utah State Fair.  Which bread I wanted to make was no problem, the Autumn Harvest Bread came right to mind.  The contest this year, though, specified for 10% of your overall judging score to be from the filling (or "description of a filling").  This is what I came up with to complement the breads' flavors.    It will make your tastebuds "dance and sing"!  The judges agreed, this took first place in the contest.

Autumn Harvest Smoked Salmon sandwiches

Start with one loaf of Autumn Harvest Bread, sliced about 1/2" thick.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Cream Cheese Filling:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened 
2 Tbsp. very finely chopped (or pureed) red onion
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
2 Tbsp. finely chopped toasted pecans
¼ c. finely chopped celery
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
1/16 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Stir together, chill at least 30 minutes to blend flavors. 

To assemble  sandwiches, spread about 2 Tbsp Filling on each of four slices of bread. Top with 2 ounces smoked salmon, and any of the following you like (I used all of them): thinly sliced red onion, sliced tomato, roasted red pepper, alfalfa sprouts, and arugula.  Drizzle with red wine vinegar and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Makes 4 sandwiches.


 This bread has a thin, chewy crust with an exceptionally tender and moist interior, flavored with pumpkin and honey, scented with cinnamon, ginger, cloves,  with a toasty crunch from pecans.  (See a photo of the inside here.) It is one of my all-time favorite recipes.  It all started with an artisan bread cookbook, Amy's Bread.

My brother had just finished a two-year mission to Spain, and came back with a whole new perspective on bread.  He described how fresh, hearty, deeply flavored, and moist those European breads were, with their beautiful, flavorful crusts.  

That's it, I thought, I MUST learn to make bread like that.  

So I bought a book.  (I still have, it, use it, and love it.  Her Country Sourdough loaf is perfect, and the thin, crunchy, seeded breadsticks are addicting!)

The recipe below began as one from her cookbook.  I've tweaked it over the years, until it can be claimed as my own.  We usually just slice and butter it, or toast and spread with cream cheese.  It would make incredible French Toast, especially if you stuff it with lightly sweetened cream cheese and top with fruit syrup or homemade maple-flavored syrup.   For a sandwich filling that goes spectacularly well with it, see my next post!

See here for a post on making pumpkin puree, or see this one on making pumpkin powder.  I actually used the pumpkin powder & added water in my batch for the fair.

Autumn Harvest Bread
(Pumpkin-Pecan Yeast Bread)

1 Tbsp. Instant or RapidRise yeast               4 ½ c. bread flour
1/2 c. warm water                                           ½ c. butter, melted
½ c. (6 oz.) honey                                            1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. pumpkin puree                                          ½ tsp. ginger
1/4 c. cornmeal                                                ½ tsp. ground cloves
2 large egg yolks                                             1 ½ tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. dry milk powder                                 1 c. pecan pieces, toasted                                                                                

Combine yeast and warm water, stir to dissolve.  Let stand 3 minutes.  Mix in honey, pumpkin, cornmeal, egg yolks, milk powder, and 2 cups of the flour. Add butter, then the remaining 2 cups flour, the cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes.  Let rest 20 minutes.  Knead in pecans.   Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ -2 hours.  

While it’s rising, make a wash with 1/4  c. cold water and 1/2  tsp. cornstarch:

Combine the two, bring to a boil, and stir until thickened.  Cover it so it doesn’t form a skin, and let it cool.

Divide dough into two pieces. Shape into 16-20” long logs, and tie each into a knot.  (Or shape into a ball, seam-side down, or shape into two 8x4 loaves.)  Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, 1-1 ½ hours.  Using a pastry brush, gently coat each loaf with the glaze.  Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown and the surface is firm.  Brush again with the glaze.  This helps it have a nice shine and a thin, soft crust.  Cool before cutting into 1/2" slices. 
The Utah State Fair is going on this week and next.  Every year, in addition to displays and exhibitions, they hold Bake Off contests.  It's been a few years since I went, but it's something my family and I enjoy participating in.

The competition on Thursday was the "Governor Herbert's Favorite Pie" Bake Off.  He and his wife were taste-testers of all the pies, but there were three pastry shop owners/chefs brought in as the judges.  Long story short, this is the pie I brought.  They liked it (it earned second place), and nobody could believe what the 'secret ingredient' was!  Two whole avocados.  Sounds like an April Fools' Day food, doesn't it?

When made in a plain chocolate pie, the avocado can be detected only as a faint fruity taste.  I took advantage of that by using orange juice and zest in the pie.  I've made several flavor variations on this pie, but the chocolate-orange is my favorite.  Well, the favorite chocolate version, anyway.  I really, really like the Lime Silk Pie.

This filling is free of gluten, eggs, dairy, refined sugar, and nuts!  If that matters to you, just be sure that the crust and toppings you use are, as well.

The pie also freezes well.  The texture softens slightly after being thawed, but not by much.   To thaw one piece, let sit at room temperature 20-30 minutes.  To thaw the whole pie, let it sit 45-60 minutes instead.
If you cut the amount of orange juice or water in half and just pour it in a pan, you get fudge instead.

Chocolate Truffle Pie

Juice and finely shredded zest from one large orange or two smaller ones 
½ cup honey
 ½ cup coconut oil
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ripe avocados, about 5 oz. apiece
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1/8 tsp. salt

One 8” pie crust
Fudge sauce
Whipped cream

Measure orange juice; add a little water or more juice to equal ½ cup.  Put the orange juice, zest (should be about 1 Tbsp), honey, coconut oil, cocoa, avocados, vanilla, and salt in a blender or food processor.  Run on high for 1-2 minutes, until smooth.  Pour into prepared crust.  Cover and refrigerate 2-3 hours until set.   Let stand at room temperature 30-60 minutes before serving for a softer texture. 

Serve with a drizzle of fudge sauce and some whipped cream.


Who couldn't use another recipe for zucchini right about now?

This year I really HAVE seen cardboard boxes with a "FREE ZUCCHINI" sign written in permanent marker, along the side of the road.
As you can see, this we're not talking about zucchini CAKE... these are tender, flavorful pan-fried morsels, related to crab cakes.  Without the crab.  There's an endless variety of ways to make these, this particular batch has a Southwestern flair, served with a creamy cilantro-scented Lime Chipotle sauce.    We had them for dinner last night and had leftovers.  They would make a nice accompaniment to grilled chicken or beef, but I served them as a meatless main dish.  
This afternoon about 4:00 I suddenly remembered them again- and promptly finished off the last couple of them for a snack.  YUM! (Actually, I took a couple over to a neighbor, who immediately asked for the recipe.)

This is a pretty big batch, I think it made about eighteen 3-inch cakes.  Feel free to cut the recipe in half.  You can always make the full batch, though, and freeze extras.  Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes to reheat and recrisp, or toast in a toaster oven.  See below for the recipe.

I got a plainer version originally from, though her version was tweaked from one on TheLife'    
Neither one of those used corn.  I like it for the sweet flavor it adds, along with some non-squishy texture, but you can certainly leave it out.  If you do, you'll only need 2 eggs.
Feel free to add in different spices, use different kinds of cheese (the original used Parmesan, in half the amount), or serve with different sauces.  Ranch dip would be delicious.  So would honey mustard.    I intend the next batch to resemble crab cakes even more- I'll add Old Bay to them, a little finely-grated onion, add maybe a teaspoon of honey for a hint of sweetness, and serve with tartar sauce.
Southwestern Zucchini Cakes

1 lb. zucchini (3 small)
1 cup corn kernels (I used canned, then drained them well)
1 c. shredded mild white cheese (I used Havarti 'cause I found it for $2/lb)
2 Tbsp. salsa if you have it around  (OK without but good for color)
1 cup panko bread crumbs (or other crumbs- bread, cracker, gluten-free, etc)
1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 tsp. chili powder (to taste)
3 medium to large eggs, beaten
3-4 Tbsp. cooking oil 

Shred the zucchini on fine or medium holes.  Grab a handful, hold it over a plate or bowl, and squeeze hard to remove excess liquid.  Put the squeezed zucchini in a mixing bowl, and repeat with all the zucchini.
Stir in the corn, cheese, salsa, bread crumbs, salt, and chili powder.  Taste and add more of whatever you think it needs.  Stir in the eggs, cover, and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.   (You can skip this step, but this gives the mixture time to bind together, as the egg soaks into the crumbs.  This makes them much easier to form and flip.  While it chills, make the sauce below.)
Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil to it.  When oil is nearly smoking, scoop 3-4 Tbsp of the zucchini mixture into the pan, then flatten to about three inches across.  Repeat with as many as will fit in the pan with about 1" between them.  Cook for 4-5 minutes, then flip over.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes, until golden.  
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan before starting the next panful.

Makes about 18.   Serve warm or room temperature.

Creamy Chipotle Sauce (adapted from America's Test Kitchen)

Note: Chipotle is smoked jalapeno pepper.  I don't have any on hand, so I came up with a similar flavor  with what I DID have, though it wasn't nearly as hot.  If you like more heat, add a little cayenne or red pepper flakes.  If you happen to have canned chipotle around, use 1-2 tsp., minced, in place of chili powder and Liquid Smoke)

2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. sour cream (I didn't have this, either- use plain yogurt, or like I did, thick kefir)
1-2 tsp. chili powder (to taste- my kids were happy with just 1 tsp.)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or one minced clove fresh garlic
2 drops Liquid Smoke
2 tsp. minced fresh cilantro
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 drops lime essential oil if you have it

Stir together.  Cover and refrigerate about 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
Makes about 1/4 cup.

If you double the recipe, you can have leftovers to change into a fabulous salad dressing: Thin down with a little water or lime juice.  Salt and pepper to taste.

What is marinara sauce, you ask?

Call it spaghetti sauce.  Or a dip for fried mozzarella cheese sticks, breadsticks, or calzones.  It's a sauce for pan-fried cutlets.  Or pizza sauce.   It's just a spiced, meatless red sauce.   Stir in some cooked hamburger to make a meaty spaghetti sauce, or simmer meatballs in it until they're tender.   Try it instead of mayonnaise and mustard on a sandwich, on seafood, or over some grilled slabs of zucchini.  It's very versatile, and very easy!
Do you want all fresh ingredients, or all pantry ingredients?  Take your pick!  This is especially delicious if you use fresh garden tomatoes.

If using fresh herbs, you’ll need three times as much, i.e., 3 tsp. (1 Tbsp.) fresh oregano leaves.  

Marinara Sauce

    14-oz can crushed or diced tomatoes, OR 2 (8 oz.) cans of tomato sauce, OR 1 lb. pureed, or peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes
  1 (6-8) oz can sliced mushrooms, or 4-8 oz. fresh (optional but adds depth and ‘umami’)
  1 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  1/2 tsp. each thyme and basil, if you have them
  1/4-1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 1-4 minced garlic cloves)
  pepper to taste

Stir everything together, simmer for 15 minutes if you want the flavors to blend well.

You can also add a dash of cayenne, or red pepper flakes, Tabasco sauce or whatever else smells good with it.  I like to add a few crushed fennel seeds to it because it adds to the aroma.  The cafeteria I worked at in college made it that way...