Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Vegan Time

This is an odd week for me. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of losing my husband and today is my baby's 30th birthday. In honor of my daughter's birthday, I thought I would share this post I did a few years back. It's rather timely because I've been eating a lot of lentils and hummus as spring rolls around. It's a great, easy lunch.

Every year for Thanksgiving, the vegan girl and I dig into the recipe books looking for something new to share while the others eat turkey and ham.  This year, for Christmas, we didn't want the standard nut loaf. Instead we decided on a recipe she found for lentil balls.

To be precise, we made Lentil mushroom walnut balls with cranberry pear sauce. They come from the Oh She She Glows Cookbook and you can find her recipe and a wonderful picture tight here.

For anyone unfamiliar with this cookbook, it is amazing. We call it the cookbook that never fails.  We have yet to make a recipe that isn't just out of this world fabulous. (Although if you love to see recipe  fails, she does show a pretty epic pie explosion on the page with the lentil balls!)

Since you have her recipe, I'll just give our photos.

Disclaimer: we used pecans instead of walnuts.

My favorite part was the leftovers. That's where I got creative.

The first night I spread plain hummus on pita bread, added the smashed lentil balls and added some roasted red cabbage. That was delicious, but I was so busy eating, I forgot to take photos!

As I'm typing this, I'm eating defrosted lentil balls on pita with lemon rosemary hummus, beets, and beet greens. YUM!  (And sshhhhh - so very healthy!)

Two mini pitas spread with this luscious hummus.

Frozen lentil balls

These beet greens were so gorgeous in the January market!

I chiffonaded the leaves and boiled briefly.

 Added on the oven-roasted slices of beet and Voila!

Or, if you want to do an uncomplicated version - I cook lentils, mix them with hummus, and put them in pita with roasted sweet potatoes and beets. Delicious and healthy.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Manly Meal

You know, I hate it when I finally cook a big meal and then completely forget to take pictures. The intention is always there and yet I still end up kicking myself when it's time for a blog post. Fortunately, most of what I made I've posted about before, so I'm not completely at a loss. 

So my guys were planning a big hog hunt for Sunday morning. I've told you about those nasty feral hogs that are prone to tearing up the ranch land. 
This time, my husband decided to bring in a professional. A fella that uses dogs to locate and hold the pigs, then they are captured so they can be sold. Yes, wild hogs are still a source of meat.

Knowing my guys would be getting up early the next morning, even before things turned bright, mama decided to make them a manly dinner Saturday night. Big Daddy wanted wings (recipe here).
I also threw in a small slab of ribs I'd bought on sale, but I don't have a pic. 

Then there was corn on the cob and cowboy beans (recipe here) to help round out the meal. 
Those chunks of bacon and a hint of sweetness make these a real crowd pleaser.

And, of course, no meal is complete with dessert. At least not in my book. And what's more pleasing than a classic chocolate chip cookie (recipe here). 
What's cooking at your place?

Three time Carol Award finalist Mindy Obenhaus lives on a ranch in Texas with her husband, the youngest of her five children and two dogs. She passionate about touching readers with Biblical truths in an entertaining, and sometimes adventurous, manner. When she's not writing, she enjoys cooking and spending time with her grandchildren. Learn more a

Monday, May 20, 2019

Avocado-Feta Salsa Recipe Reminder

Jan here, with another Recipe Rerun ...err...Reminder...

I've been traveling - our semi-annual trip to Michigan and Indiana to visit family - and that means no cooking at all!

But we did stop by Jacob and Katie's (our son and daughter-in-law's) new home in Illinois on the way back! Visiting family is a great reason to love traveling!

Anyway, I wanted to make this recipe this week, so I dug it out of the old posts. I get so hungry just looking at those pictures!

* * * * *

Avocado-Feta Salsa

Yes, you read that right - Avocado and Feta together in a salsa.

It's fabulous!

Start here:

Avocado, tomato, red onion and cilantro. Chop it all up.

And then add a bit of this:

Throw in some garlic and a bit of oregano, and then mix it all together with a splash of olive oil and some apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar - whatever you have handy).

And here's the hard part.

Refrigerate for 2 to 6 hours.

*tap, tap, tap*

And then it's good to go! You can eat it with tortilla chips, pita chips, or.....

Twice-baked Zucchini Rounds! 

Take one of those big zucchinis - you know, the ones that were hiding in your garden until they're gargantuan size and you don't know what to do with them - and slice a few 1/4" thick rounds.

Cover both sides with olive oil, and bake on a cookie sheet for 5 minutes or so at 375°. Then take them out of the oven and top them with your favorite combo. I used the Avocado-Feta Salsa. Stick them back in the oven and broil them for a few minutes, or until the cheese starts melting.


I had a few of these for lunch with my Salmon with Garlicky Spinach (recipe here). It was a low-carb extravaganza!

And last week I put the salsa on my hamburger - now that was delicious!

Okay, I know I need to give you the official recipe:

Avocado-Feta Salsa
(originally from

1 plum tomato, chopped
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1 teaspoon oregano
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar (apple cider vinegar, or red wine vinegar)
2 Tablespoons crumble feta cheese

Mix together gently. Cover and chill for 2 to 6 hours.

* * * * *

This is another quick and easy lunch! Just right for me since I'm trying to squeeze eating in between writing and packing up the house for our big move! Stay tuned for the details!

Jan Drexler spent her childhood dreaming of living in the Wild West and is now thrilled to call the Black Hills of South Dakota her home. When she isn’t writing she spends much of her time satisfying her cross-stitch addiction or hiking and enjoying the Black Hills with her husband of more than thirty-six years.

Friday, May 17, 2019

A Graduation!

Missy Tippens

Our daughter graduated from college this past Monday! We had such a special day celebrating her achievement on the beautiful Emory University campus. But the day was also filled with gratitude for our son. He'd been in a terrible car crash on Saturday on the way down for graduation. When we saw his car (which was destroyed), we knew it was a miracle that he wasn't gravely injured. He had what we're hoping will be successful surgery on Thursday. We're so grateful to God that he's going to be okay!

So graduation day was also a celebration of life and God's provision! We're so proud of our daughter. She worked so hard for 4 years! And she earned her B.A. in linguistics and psychology. Future plans TBD.

I thought I'd share a few photos and a video. Emory's graduation is so cool in that they always have bagpipes play as the students enter! They did it way back in the dark ages when my husband and I graduated from there (grad school) and have continued today. :) I'm including a short video for you to get to hear some of the music.

We're thankful for a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Eclairs From the Farm!

I blame Beth.

She bought eclairs at Jackson's Bakery (a favorite hometown bakery in Greece, NY) and shared them with us last week...

And I remembered how much I love eclairs and cream puffs, and how amazing they are.

And.... honestly.... not so hard to make! You want to make the pudding first and chill it thoroughly, so here's the Vanilla Custard recipe (yes, you've seen this before, it's my go-to base for cream pies and cream puffs and custard filling for cakes! Why change greatness?

Vanilla Custard

4 tablespoons butter (melted in 3 quart pan)
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup corn starch
4 cups milk
4 egg yolks
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Melt butter in 3 quart pan over low heat. Mix sugar and cornstarch together. Add to butter and stir to combine thoroughly. Stir in milk. Whisk sugar/butter mixture into milk.

Return to heat and raise temp to medium/medium high. Whisk in egg yolks one at a time, then cook to boiling. Remove from heat, add vanilla.

If you don't like "skin" on pudding, lay plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. Chill thoroughly.

Now we're going to bake the eclairs. Eclairs are simply an elongated egg puff, so they're not hard at all...

Pastry shell (or Choux pastry)

1 cup water
1 stick butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Bring water and butter to a boil until butter is melted.

Add salt. Stir in flour. Dough should "clean" sides of pan when thoroughly mixed.

Add in eggs, one at a time and mix in thoroughly with heavy spoon.

For cream puffs you spoon a generous glop (technical term!!!) onto baking sheet, making all mounds about the same size. For Eclairs, it's easiest if you use a pastry bag and you cut off the tip end to leave a 1" to 11/8" opening, and then pipe "tubes" of pastry onto the baking sheet. Egg puffs rise and spread, so leave space between each puff, on all sides.

Next time I'm going to make the opening in the pastry bag slightly bigger....

Here are the puffs part-way through:

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes (depending on oven) until puffs are golden brown, puffed nicely and tender to touch.

Cool thoroughly.

When pudding is chilled and shells are cool, you can fill them in either of these ways:

Split the eclair, fill with pudding and then cover with sliced off top.


Using a wide circular tip, inject pudding up into eclair from top down from three evenly spaced spots along middle of eclair. This way your injections spots are covered by chocolate frosting.

When all eclairs are filled, trim with chocolate frosting:


This is my go-to frosting I use for so many things. I always double it because it only makes a two-cup batch and two cups is about half as much as a Ruthy-cake needs... and chocolate frosting never goes to waste at our place!

1 stick butter
2/3 cup Hershey's Cocoa
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk

Melt butter in 3 quart pan. When melted, stir in cocoa and salt. Add sugar and milk, then whisk in... Frosting thickens as it cools. Should be a nice spreadable consistency and if it's too thick, add a tiny bit of milk or water.

 Eclairs and cream puffs can be filled with chilled sweetened whipped cream, whipped to firm peaks, if preferred.

We love a selection of both!

And just for fun: The old Box Elder tree (and it's bugs and ants) is now down.... and the wood is being used for campfires and fun wood rounds for farm customers.... And there might be something interesting going on in the base of the tree if it ever stops raining! More on that later!

And Ms. Lena with a bow in her hair.... it lasted about five minutes, but I got pics while it was in there! :)

And then for Beth's birthday, I used the same pudding and frosting to create two Boston Cream Pies... her favorite...
So I scored points and made people happy.

And isn't that a nice thing to say about any old day?

'Til next week it's Ruthy, signing off!

Multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne lives on a crazy fun (or just crazy) pumpkin farm in Western New York where she has a couple of miniature donkeys, two dogs, three cats and occasional kittens, many bugs, more garter snakes than she would have thought possible, some random critter that was living the dream in her attic mid-winter and the occasional mouse. (Note to all, Ruthy does not now, nor does she ever intend to, make cute tiny mouse outfits for the small rodents that seem to find a way into her house on an annual basis. Mouse clothes are only cute in story books, and she will stand by that assessment. Find her on Facebook, visit her website, e-mail her at or follow her on Twitter.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing

Anyone know where I can buy an ark?

I'm starting to feel like Noah because it has been raining and raining and raining for weeks.

We did have one day of sun that seemed so special I had to snap a photo.

But mostly it's skies like this that are the break from torrential rains.

Do you find yourself getting blue when the skies are gray? I've found that so many days of bleak weather really take a toll on me. I crave some sunshine!

Or some bright flowers.

So, I decided that I needed something sunny, and then Jan's Monday post inspired me, so I'm sharing one of my favorite posts (because I have cooked nothing new recently!).

Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing

I was looking through the old food blog I used to do at Healthy Writer and found this from May 13, 2013.

Blizzards in April, snow storms in May.
We have a freeze warning tonight!
All of which is just an excuse for why it’s taking me so long to get into my spring/summer healthy mentality.
The allure of soups has worn thin as winter dragged on
and on
and on.
Roasted vegetables, so delicious back in November, are getting boring.
Still, it’s hard to drum up enthusiasm for those summer salads when you’re still wrapped in sweaters and winter coats!

Sound familiar?

I know some of you in other parts of the country are well into the warm weather, and we've had a few days, but they don't seem to hang around.

So I settled on this summery dish to pick up my spirits. I may have actually posted an in-progress rendition of it a few years back, but it seems just what I need right now.

A health food restaurant in my neighborhood sells an amazing Black Bean and Corn Quinoa Salad with Avocado Dressing that my daughter and I love. I wanted to try to duplicate it at home. Most of the duplication was easy; only the dressing gave me fits.

So here’s the easy part:
Quinoa – Do you cook with quinoa? It’s easy to make, so healthy, and has a nice nutty bite.
Black beans – I used Goya canned beans.
Corn –Have you ever tried cooking corn on the cob in the microwave with husks still on?  Missy Tippens taught me about that right here at Yankee Belle Cafe. For this recipe I nuked it, then cut it off the cob and chilled it.
In my opinion the corn was the best part!
Greens – I used a package of mesclun greens because they’re my favorite salad greens. I love the variety.
Red onion thinly sliced – This gives the salad a nice zing.
Tomatoes – I used little red grape tomatoes.
Avocado slices for the salad – yum
Toasted tortilla strips – for these, I decided to make my own. Sort of. I bought corn tortillas. My daughter chopped them into thin strips and then we toasted them in the oven. (Note: for this part, it’s better to toast longer on a low temperature. I did it on a higher temp and they got mostly chewy. I lowered it so they could just sort of dry out.)

Onwards to the salad –
That first part is all pretty basic.  Just cook the quinoa and chill, prepare the beans however you like (I always cook them because it seems to make them easier to digest) and then chill.
Wash the greens.
When everything is chilled you’re ready for the dressing. This is where my copycatting fell apart.  What I made tasted good, but it wasn’t exactly right.
I took another avocado and juice from a lime and blended with some cilantro. I wasn’t totally thrilled with that version so I did some after the fact googling and found this recipe from  Trader Joe’s. I think it would have been better so I may try it tonight.
So mix the dressing in with the cold quinoa and arrange on the bed of greens, add the beans, corn, tomatoes, onion, avocado, and top with the toasted tortilla strips.

Apparently I never took a photo, but it's pretty and delicious too! Which is why I’ve been craving it.

Do you ever try to duplicate meals you’ve had in restaurants? How does it work for you?

And finally, just like Noah, we got a rainbow!

It didn't photograph all that well, but it sure was a welcome sight!