Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

One of my contributions to our Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin bread made from our Halloween pumpkins. When we carve our Halloween pumpkins, I always save the flesh we remove. I cook and freeze it for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. Yummy.

Worst peanut butter cookies ever

Worst peanut butter cookies everI was in the mood for peanut butter cookies today. Which is crazy since I don’t even like peanut butter. But sometimes I get a hankering for it, so I found this flourless recipe and thought we’d try it out.

It’s a pretty simple recipe:

1 cup peanut butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 °.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
Make 1 inch balls and place on baking sheet about 2″ apart.
Gently press each ball with a fork to make a criss-cross pattern.
Bake for 10 minutes until cookies are lightly browned.
Worst peanut butter cookies ever

They were really gross. Way too peanut buttery for me. I guess they’d be great for someone who really likes peanut butter, like the rest of my family. They loved them.

Not me. Next time I think I’ll stick with regular oatmeal, cranberry, chocolate chip cookies. Now those are really yummy.

Stuffed up noses

Rosemary Steam BathI think it’s time to clear the snot.

Whenever we have stuffy noses, I clip some fresh rosemary, peppermint or thyme from our garden and put it in a pot full of boiling water. These herbs smell wonderful and have natural decongestant properties. We inhale the steam. Oh, it smells so good and helps clear up the snotty stuff. For adults, it’s best to put a towel over your head and position your face to about a foot above. But I wouldn’t suggest that for kids. Instead, the kids and I gather around the pot and try to catch the steam with our hands and breathe it in that way. It may take a little longer, but it still works.

I sure hope our noses clear up soon.

Ham Chowder

Ham ChowderWe had some leftover ham from Christmas that I used to make Ham Chowder for dinner on New Year’s Day. It was delicious. Give it a try if you have any leftover ham.


1/2 onion, diced
4 carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, diced
4-5 large potatoes, diced
5 cups water or ham stock (see note at the bottom)
2-3 cups chopped ham
1 can cream of broccoli soup
2 1/2 cups milk
6 tbs flour
salt/pepper to taste


1. Put ham stock in a pot, add onions, carrots, celery and potatoes. Simmer over med heat until veggies are soft, about 20 min.

2. While veggies are simmering, mix soup, milk and flour in a mixing bowl until smooth.

3. When the veggies are tender, add the soup mixture and the ham.

4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn heat down and simmer for about 20-30 more minutes, depending on how mushy you like your potatoes. I like mine pretty mushy, so I simmer mine for longer, about 30-45 min. Taste it and add some salt and/or pepper if you like.

To make the ham stock, put your leftover hambone in a large pot and add an onion, a celery stalk, a bay leaf or two and some parsley. Cover with water, bring it to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer it for several hours until all the meat has fallen off the bone. Remove any white foamy stuff that forms on top of the water. Strain out all the cooked bits and reserve the liquid. That’s your ham stock.

If you don’t like Cream of Broccoli, you can use another flavor.

Try adding some sweet potatoes in addition to white potatoes for a flavor variation.

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Sweet Potato Quesadillas

Talk about YUMMY! This is definitely a favorite at our table.


1-2 lbs sweet potatoes, shredded or diced
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/4 -1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp paprika or cumin or any other spice you would like
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup cottage cheese
8″ tortillas
Toppings (You can use any toppings that you like but I typically have these)
plain yogurt (use this instead of sour cream)
shredded cheese
guacamole or plain sliced avocado
fresh chopped cilantro


1. Heat chicken broth over medium heat in a pot until steaming, then add sweet potatoes and onion, cook until desired softness, stirring often and adding more chicken broth if mixture gets too dry. I like mine mushy, so I cook ’em for a while (about 30 min.) Once the sweet potatoes are soft, add spices and cottage cheese and cook until cheese is melted, about another 10 min.

2. Spray a large non-stick pan with cooing spray and heat over medium.

3. Now for the fun part, the quesadilla assembly. When the pan is nice and hot, place a tortilla in the pan, spread a layer of sweet potato mixture, smooth it out so that most of the tortilla is covered, top with avocado (or guacamole) salsa, yogurt, any other toppings you’d like, add a layer of shredded cheese and finish with the top tortilla. It doesn’t have to look pretty, because it will taste yummy. Flip the quesadilla over when the bottom gets nice and brown. Cook on the other side until it is also nice and brown.

4. Serve with any extra toppings you and your family like: plain yogurt, salsa, guacamole, chopped green onions…

Hope you enjoy!

Shredded vs. Diced Sweet Potatoes – either will work, diced sweet potatoes cook faster and become more mushy, shredded sweet potatoes take longer to cook and will retain some of its crunchiness. It just depends on what you prefer. I personally like the mushy better.

Filling the Quesadilla – you don’t want to add too much filling, because when you attempt to flip it over all the stuff will fall out. Not that that’s ever happened to me, never. I’ve never had a pan filled with gooey, cheesy, sweet potato mixture. Well, maybe only once or twice…

If you want to lessen the possible mess, only cover half of the tortilla with the sweet potato mixture and fold it over to make a half quesadilla. Then you only have to worry about the filling falling out on one side.

Sonja’s Healthful Swirl-Bits:
Use Chicken Broth instead of Oil for sauteing the sweet potatoes – Using chicken broth brings out the natural flavors of your food and is much healthier than oil.

Cottage Cheese – you may ask, “Why the cottage cheese?” It contains more casein protein, vitamins and minerals and has less fat than cheddar cheese. I use it as a way to increase the amount of protein in our meals.

Use Plain Yogurt instead of Sour Cream – Plain yogurt has less calories, less cholesterol, more protein, Vitamins and Minerals (especially Vitamin A and Folate).

Banana and Oatmeal cookies

banana and oatmeal cookies

Whenever we have bananas that are too ripe to eat, I throw them in the freezer until I have enough to use in some sort of treat.  These cookies are wholesome, nutritious, moist, and delicious.


3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup soft butter
1/2  cup white
1/2 brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
2-3 mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 dried cranberries or raisins (or both)

Other add-ins you can throw in that increase yumminess:
blueberries, dried cherries, chocolate chips, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds


  1. Preheat oven to 400 ° F.
  2. Put cranberries/raisins in a small sauce pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil then remove from heat and let soak for 10 min. while preparing rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a medium sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  4. In an large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  5. Add the egg, vanilla, banana, oatmeal and nuts. Mix well.
  6. Add dry ingredients, mix well and drop by the teaspoon on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until edges turn lightly brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.

Makes about three dozen cookies.