Mastodon Recipes —

Category: Recipes


September 23rd, 2023 — 5:28pm

Bad sleep so very tired today but Henry and Lulu came over for hours so it was a wonderful day anyway. Henry brought leftovers for my freezer, a sriracha barbecue sauce, chicken, and beans dish, very strongly flavored, sweet and spicy, so I could actually taste it. I made cilantro-lime rice which went with it very well so we ate lunch all together. My stomach is not too miserable today. I think the extra dose of diuretic helped. I only weighed 97 pounds this morning, so there’s not a drop of extra fluid in me.

Henry did tons of chores and housework while Lulu and I snuggled in bed and I helped her read the words in her new Nintendo game, Fae Farm. Super cute but lots of reading to get started. She’s got the hang of it now and can probably have fun on her own, exploring and crafting.

I am plum worn out now, hoo boy. Time to zone all the way out in front of Fargo, s01e05.

Oh! This morning for breakfast I made a lemon yogurt that’s as good as or better than my favorite lemon yogurt that Trader Joe’s discontinued! Whisk together a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, then whisk into a half-cup of thick yogurt. I used my homemade whole milk strained-kefir yogurt but storebought Greek yogurt should work fine. Add more lemon or sugar to customize, or some lemon zest if you like it. So good, so sharp and fresh-tasting!

2 comments » | Recipes


July 26th, 2023 — 6:57pm

No night sweats at all last night. Not even a sweaty forehead. Oh my god the sweet relief of waking up DRY. Maybe it will happen again soon.

My stomach didn’t bother me at all today and I was able to ate a lot. Sorry I talk so much about what I do or don’t eat. I’m dreadfully, painfully underweight (96 lbs at 5’7”) and I have so many digestion and appetite problems that it’s rather a constant concern. Anyway today I was hungry, or at least interested in food.

Smoothie for breakfast — kefir, banana, pineapple, strawberries, protein powder. Then I read about how to turn a can of garbanzo beans into a crispy snack so I tried it and it worked and they were super-snacky and easy to eat without thinking about it! Here’s what I posted on Mastodon:

Snacky Garbanzo Beans

A can of garbanzos, rinsed, drained, patted very dry. Toss with olive oil, salt, herbs/spices. Roast on baking sheet at about 415° for 20-30 minutes, stirring partway through. Some get crunchy, some get dense and chewy. Delicious!

I used a little paprika. Would be great with onion or garlic powder, chili/lime seasoning, cayenne if you want ‘em spicy.

So I ate a whole can of garbanzos over a few hours, painlessly. So much good nutrition!

Then I ate a ton of tabbouleh, and then Dave brought me a little strawberry milkshake from Burgerville and I drank most of it, and ate a few of his onion rings, which are made of local sweet Walla Walla onions and were incredibly good.

Now I’ll finish my tabbouleh so I can make a fresh batch tomorrow, and maybe make a quesadilla too. Fruit, grains, beans, cheese and plenty of fat all in one day, yay me!

Definitely want more of those onion rings before the very short Walla Walla season ends…

Mom has gone home after a nice visit and the house is quiet again. I read for hours and hours and hours this afternoon, a really excellent book called “The Best of Everything” by Rona Jaffe. The Wikipedia page is disappointingly inadequate, so this blurb from the publisher will have to do:

For a novel published in 1958 (oh god that’s only 11 years before I was born) it is surprisingly frank and modern, and it feels like reading 466 pages of Mad Men’s cousin. I can’t recommend it highly enough, seriously.

3 comments » | Blog, Recipes


July 24th, 2023 — 5:37pm

Better day, yay! Felt well enough to to make fishcakes and tabbouleh this morning. My tabbouleh recipe is here somewhere if you use the search bar in the right margin, and fishcakes couldn’t be easier too.


Amounts don’t really matter here. Use your own judgement. Mix leftover mashed potatoes, a can of UNDRAINED tuna in water (I bet tinned salmon would also be good), some finely-minced onion, an egg, salt, pepper, and enough flour to make a stiff paste. Herbs or spices, as you wish. I put some dill in this batch. Heat up a good lump of butter in your skillet, drop in a big blob of paste (it should sizzle), and pat it down to maybe a scant half-inch thick. Cook on medium-low till golden-brown on one side, flip, cook till golden-brown on the other side. Drain on paper towels. Add more butter to the skillet for each cake. So good! I’m always happy when I end up with a little portion of leftover mashed potatoes AND there’s a can of tuna in the pantry.

Mom was incredibly helpful in organizing my horrible pile of fabric today. I had the mental energy to guide her, and she did all the work. We ended up with two boxes of garbage-scraps, two boxes of scraps big enough for Jayla to make things with, a bundle of goodwill stuff, and two shelves of nicely-folded yardage for me to use in case I ever feel well enough to sew something. I do really want to make a doll for Freyja to grow into, like the one I made for Lulu, and if possible a small quilt for Freyja too. She missed out on 2019, The Year of Keepsake Quilts. I absolutely cannot wrangle large pieces of fabric and I don’t want to piece anything together, but I could hand-quilt the individual 10” squares of the one layer cake I have remaining, which is luckily a very cheerful, colorful set of prints but not babyish, and then join the squares together after the quilting. Maybe. Oof. Sounds ambitious.

Maybe I’ll make polenta for dinner. It’s so much fun cooking for Mom now that her food requirements are so much more flexible, and I think she might eat polenta.

3 comments » | Blog, Recipes

Lemon Chiffon Cake

May 20th, 2023 — 5:08pm

Oh god this is good. So light, so fluffy, so lemony. I tinkered with all the recipes until they were just right. You’ll need a lot of lemons and a chiffon cake pan, the kind with a tube in the middle and little feet to rest on when you flip it upside-down. I got mine at the Goodwill for like $3.

I did this in several stages because I’m tired. Cake one day, wrapped up well and waiting in the fridge. Lemon Goop the next day. The rest of the filling the next day. Then assembled on the fourth day.

Don’t be intimidated! Everything is easy. Just read it all very carefully before you begin.

First make the filling so it can chill:

Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Enough light yummy lemon filling for a big three-layer cake. Lighter than traditional cream cheese frosting; richer than plain whipped cream. You’ll need a lot of lemons! Tip: keep a bag of lemons in the freezer.


Lemon Goop
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/6 cup cornstarch
1 c combined lemon juice and water, half each, more or less. The more lemon, the better.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz cream cheese cold (1/2 block)
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c heavy whipping cream cold
pinch of salt


Lemon Goop
Whisk all ingredients together in a small saucepan, adding liquid a little at a time to avoid lumps. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Cool completely and refrigerate.

Whipped Cream/Cream Cheese Frosting
In stand mixer bowl, using paddle beater, beat cream cheese until soft. Add sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat until thoroughly mixed. Use a scraper to scrape the bottom and make sure it all mixes together well. Work fast so it stays cold. Now switch to whisk attachment and add heavy cream by drizzling it down the side of the bowl while the machine is running. Beat until very stiff peaks form.

Now add the Lemon Goop in dollops while beating a little more. Don’t make butter!
Refrigerate until ready to use. Same day if possible.

Lemon Chiffon Cake

1 3/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
6 egg yolks
1/2 c lemon juice
1/4 c water
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup white sugar

One batch of Kara’s Lemon Cake Filling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 1/2 cup sugar. Add oil, egg yolks, lemon juice, and water. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth.

In a small bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until peaks form. Gradually add 3/4 cup sugar, and beat until very stiff and shiny peaks form. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the batter, then quickly fold in remaining whites until no streaks remain. Turn batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 50 minutes (a little dry. try 47?) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Invert cake and cool completely in pan. When cool, loosen edges and shake pan to remove cake.

To Assemble Cake: Slice COLD cake horizontally into 3 equal layers. Spread each layer with 1/3 of filling. Leave a half-inch margin so it doesn’t all squoosh out. Spread remaining filling on top.

Original recipe said to bake for 60 minutes but mine was well-done after 50. Your mileage may vary.

7 comments » | Blog, Recipes


March 8th, 2023 — 7:56pm

Physical therapy today — a reassessment, to see what progress I’ve made, so it was someone new. The PT Bossman, Matt. He was jock-ish and bluff but perfectly pleasant; however, I preferred Kristina, Christina, and Lisa. I think I’ll have Lisa for the next couple weeks until it’s reassessment time again. Matt seemed blown away by my progress, despite my setback! He said I’m “crushing it” and that he’ll need to come up with new tests for my next assessment because I blew today’s tests out of the water. He gave me two new exercises to add to the mix. One where you start seated and stand slowly and sit again. God it’s hard. I can only do three, barely! And the other where you take sideways steps back and forth, three in each direction. That’s not so hard but it’s very tiring. I’m just colossally proud of myself.

NEW DATA in the Ongoing Saga of the False Alarms. No alarms last night. But I think I forgot to mention that when I did the factory reset, I noticed that the internal clock was set incorrectly. It has a 24-hour clock (so 1pm should display as 13:00) and it was set the opposite way, so it was 12 hours off. As I reset it I thought, in passing, huh, I wonder if I’ll get false alarms in the afternoon now? (All my false alarms always happen between about 11pm and 6am, so logically they should now happen between 11am and 6pm, right?)

Guess what? I got a frickin’ false alarm at 2:30 this afternoon!!! It woke me up from a nap but that’s better than being awoken in the middle of the night. And it absolutely proves that the fault is in the software. 100% proof. IT’S NOT ME. I’ve reported it to my specialty pharmacy nurse who says she’ll pass it along to United Therapeutics, who will of course do nothing about it. But they COULD do something if they wanted to. They have the info. I gave it to them on a silver platter.

I made the world’s best soup for dinner and it was so easy. Ten minutes start to finish.

Bok Choi, Mushroom, Ginger, and Dumpling Soup

Three cups of chicken broth; a thing of crimini mushrooms, halved; a small head of baby bok choi, sliced; a big pile of grated ginger; and a box of 6 frozen soup dumplings (pork and ginger) from Trader Joe’s. Simmer about ten minutes or until the veggies are tender and the dumplings are hot (they’re pre-cooked). All the veggies and the ginger were from my organic veg box. Dave and I WOLFED it down! He said it reminded him of soup he’d had in China!

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January 31st, 2023 — 6:15pm

Jesus the fatigue is real. What is going on?? Had to spend the afternoon napping again. I did manage to take an outdoor very slow walk for six whole minutes without resting in the middle so that’s something.

Took a bath this morning and then made really amazing soup for breakfast and lunch. Based it on a chicken soup recipe but I didn’t want actual chicken in it so I altered it quite a bit. It’s really kind of neat that Dave and I each cook for ourselves most of the time, because I can make small batches of experimental recipes and not worry about anyone else’s likes and dislikes.

Kara’s Noodle Soup

Makes two very hearty servings

Put 5 cups of chicken broth in a saucepan.

Add 2 peeled and sliced carrots, a few inches of sliced leek or celery, and a spoonful of grated ginger (keep your ginger root in the freezer and grate it frozen. No need to peel)

Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to low and simmer while you make noodles:

Mix a pinch of salt with a cup of flour. Mix in an egg, then add a spoonful of milk at a time and knead well to make a very stiff, smooth dough. Let rest ten minutes, then roll out 1/8 thick with lots of flour and slice into noodles. Drop noodles a few at a time into the soup and simmer for ten minutes.

Mix a spoonful of cornstarch with a little water to the consistency of cream and add to your simmering soup until the broth is the thickness you like. Done!

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Kara’s Mini Veggie Cottage Pie

January 29th, 2023 — 8:20am

Kara’s Mini Veggie Cottage Pie

Start a few potatoes boiling for the mash.

In a small cast iron skillet, saute half a medium onion and whatever veggies you have handy, diced. I’ve used carrots, celery, beets, leeks, green beans, cabbage, peppers, and frozen peas. The peas are a constant — I don’t think it would be right without them — but everything else varies. If all you have is peas and an onion, go for it. I don’t think you can go wrong as long as you have peas!

Get your little skillet nearly full of veggies (they’ll cook down) and add about half a cup of water or broth. I use “Better Than Boullion” beef broth. Add some herbs and a little salt. Turn the heat down, cover, and cook till the veggies are tender but not mushy. Then mix a spoonful of flour with enough water to make a slurry and stir it in to the veggies to thicken the gravy. When thickened, turn off the heat.

Meanwhile keep an eye on the potatoes and, when tender, mash them with LOTS of butter, cream/milk, and cheddar cheese. I dice the cheese instead of grating it. So much easier.

Then dollop the mash over the veggies, stick the skillet into the oven on a tray in case it bubbles over, and broil until the potatoes get golden brown peaks. YUM!

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Torstai again

January 26th, 2023 — 4:40pm

I baked those chocolate chip cookies today and they are phenomenal. I used a different recipe than usual and they’re WAY better so this is my new chocolate chip cookie recipe forever! I baked about half the dough and froze about half in lumps to bake later.

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 c butter, room temperature
1 c white sugar
1 c packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp hot water
½ tsp salt
3 c all-purpose flour (note says can sub 1c flour for 1.5 c oats, have not tried)
2 c semisweet chocolate chips (one sack is enough)

Oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Beat butter with all the sugar until smooth.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.
Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Add to batter along with salt.
Stir in flour, chocolate chips.
Drop spoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
Bake in the preheated oven until edges are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. (12.5 in my oven. Sit and watch!)

We treated ourselves to a new Kitchenaid tilt-head stand mixer for Christmas to replace the crummy bowl-lift model from Costco that we had been using and omg it is SO MUCH BETTER. Plus it’s bright red and shiny. Oh it’s wonderful, so wonderful. I want to mix ALL the THINGS. Mix mix mixxy mix!

And then I sat on the sofa and did embroidery and listened to podcasts, and then I made an actual dinner of polenta with tons of Parmesan stirred in and a chunky sauce with onion, red pepper, and eggplant. I’ve just eaten a healthy bowlful and will have second dinner and possibly third dinner later, heheh.

The difference to my mood and energy that’s made by better sleep plus relief from anxiety is astonishing.

Daylight photos of the 100 Circles sampler!

1 comment » | Blog, Recipes

Perjantai aamu

November 25th, 2022 — 8:05am

(Friday morning)

Oh yeah I wayyyyy overdid it yesterday. But it was so much fun to cook a feast! Next year I’ll make one dish per day starting Monday and just keep everything in the fridge till Thanksgiving.

My Apple Dessert Invention turned out GREAT. See, Dave doesn’t like cinnamon and I much prefer puff pastry to shortcrust, so I wanted to invent something small and apple-y that would fit that brief. Here’s what I did:

Kara’s Apple Dessert Invention 

Peel, core, and chop one big green apple. Cook until tender in a little saucepan with 1 Tbsp butter, 1/8 c packed brown sugar, 1/4 tsp allspice, 1/8 tsp nutmeg, 1/8 tsp cloves. When tender, sprinkle in about a tsp of flour and cook to thicken. Then chill this mixture.

When apples are chilled, cut 4 squares of frozen puff pastry (thawed in fridge) about 4 or 5 inches square. Divide the apple mixture evenly among the squares and kind of pull all the corners into the center and pinch closed.

Put them on a square of baking parchment in a little pan (I used my smallest cast-iron skillet) and bake at 400° until puffy and golden. Yummy!

This is VERY lightly spiced and not very sweet. If you like things sweeter/spicier, taste the apples before you thicken with flour and adjust.

Another note for next Thanksgiving — I won’t bother with turkey. It’s the least interesting part of the whole feast. I’ll just roast a single turkey breast for Dave if he wants meat.

In other news, I’ve locked my twitter account and deleted my “following” list except for eight friends who haven’t migrated to Mastodon yet, so that the Fedifinder tool will still look for them. I haven’t said anything over there since the 17th, so I’m not giving Musk any traffic or ad views. What a colossal prick he is. He fired a whole bunch more engineers the night before Thanksgiving, and now the work visa folks have 60 days to find new jobs or get deported. Over the Christmas and New Years season. I feel so awful for them, god.

So anyway! Yesterday I basically passed out from exhaustion at 8pm. Had a pretty good sleep, if a bit patchy and nightmare-y, and woke up around 6:00am. I’m gonna STAY IN BED today, yessir.

Oh! Bob the Plumber worked for hours yesterday and we have a new water heater and HOT WATER! YAY! I will perhaps have a nice bath today, later on.

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November 23rd, 2022 — 7:28pm

Ok! Definitely on the downhill slope of withdrawal! Last night I went to bed at 7pm, turned out light at 8, lay awake an hour, got up, read Mastodon for a few minutes, lay back down and was asleep within half an hour. Woke up 4-5 times in the night but went back to sleep right away each time, then woke up for real at 6am. I felt pretty darn good today! I did some sewing — cut out and assembled a pair of rainbow print comfy pants for Em. All I need to do is attach the waistband tomorrow, and then I can get started on the jammies for all the Littles.

Then I was worn out and rested and played games and read Mastodon all afternoon, and then I made killer Chinese cabbage egg drop soup for dinner! I based it on a recipe I found online but made a few changes. Here’s my version:

Napa Cabbage Egg Drop Soup for two

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken stock
napa cabbage, roughly chopped. I used six large leaves
1-2 Tbsp grated ginger root (keep it in the freezer!)
2 eggs, whisked
a FEW DROPS of sesame-chili oil
optional topping: thinly sliced green onions

Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté for until softened. Add garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes.
Add in the stock, chopped cabbage, and ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until the cabbage has mostly softened.
Then, while the soup is still simmering, use one hand to continuously stir the soup round and round while you use your other hand to slowly drizzle in the whisked eggs. The eggs will cook instantly in the hot broth. Stir in a couple drops of sesame-chili oil until completely combined. Taste and season with salt, as needed, plus any extra sesame oil, and/or ginger that you think it might need. I added ginger and sesame-chili oil a bit at a time until the soup just started to have a nice kick.
Serve garnished with green onions if you’ve got ‘em.

God it was good. We both absolutely inhaled a large bowl each and there’s still some left over. Dave says it’s the best egg drop soup he’s ever had *heart eyes*

If you keep a ginger root in your freezer, and have chicken bouillon, sesame-chili oil, eggs, onions, and garlic always on hand, all you need to buy is a napa cabbage and you’re good to go!

Still no hot water, but Bob the Plumber is gonna take away the old water heater tomorrow and maybe install a new one on Friday if possible. Fingers crossed.

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October 4th, 2022 — 10:28pm

Woke up a bit too early but felt ok anyway. Thank goodness.

I made a really excellent Roasted Veggie Pasta Sauce: this morning I oven-roasted (475°F) a handful of mini red and yellow bell peppers, a double-handful of garden cherry tomatoes, a few cloves of garlic, and a small thinly-sliced onion. Drizzled with olive oil, of course! When they started to blacken I took them out and let them cool. Tonight, while I boiled water for pasta, I heated all the roasted veggies in a small saucepan and whizzed them with the immersion blender till smooth-ish. Added a couple pinches of kosher salt and a couple pinches of mixed herbs. Omg it was so freaking delicious!!! This made about two servings. If feeding a crowd, roast a /lot/ more veggies.

Skipped my exercises today, figured I deserved a break after doing them for two days in a row!

Forgot to say — Dave’s back has healed enough that he can sleep in our bed again instead of on the recliner in the living room, YAY! And my ribs are a little better every day too.

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May 14th, 2022 — 2:22pm

A few days ago I asked Teacher Nick, who runs Lulu’s beloved Nature School (at which six preschoolers run around having adventures in a forest all morning) if he needed any supplies. He said — play dough! So I set about trying to find a recipe, because I’d rather make it myself than buy the little plastic cans. Ugh.

Found a likely recipe, sent Dave to the store to salt and cream of tartar, and set to work this morning. Great recipe! From

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 c salt
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 c water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Food coloring

Mix dries in a bowl. Mix wets, including food coloring, in a pan. Stir dries into wets, cook over medium heat, stirring, till it thickens and stops being sticky. Turn out onto a big plate, let cool a few minutes, and knead for a few minutes. Done!

I made one batch each of five colors:

It was a lot of stirring so then I was done for the day :D

1 comment » | Blog, Homeschooling, Recipes


December 16th, 2021 — 3:14pm

I made some amazing muffins yesterday, banana-cranberry-oat. Dave says they are the best muffins he’s ever eaten, but he calls them “buns” which is his word for anything small, round, baked, and bready. So, muffins, rolls, English muffins, breakfast sandwiches, etc. are all “buns” :D Here’s my recipe, cobbled together from several others:

Kara’s Banana-Cranberry-Oat Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup white sugar
2 mashed ripe bananas
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
6 tablespoons milk
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl mix flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and set aside.
In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar, add eggs and mix until smooth. Stir in milk and mashed banana and mix well.
Fold in flour mixture into the liquid ingredients until combined.
Fill greased muffin tins two-thirds of the way full.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for 25 to 30 minutes. This will make about 18 muffins.

They won’t have round tops like store muffins! The tart cranberries cut the banana sweetness beautifully, and using only a half-cup of sugar means they’re not too sweet.

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Summer sandwich

August 31st, 2021 — 6:18pm

Here’s an easy sandwich I love to eat in summer:

  • A big, beautiful, ripe tomato
  • Mayo
  • Good whole wheat bread with lots of seeds and grains
  • Salt and pepper

Slice that tomato into very thick slices. Put as much mayo as you like on two slices of bread. Put those tomato slices on one and season generously with salt and pepper. Clap the other slice of bread on top and devour.

Juicy and tangy and delicious! I ate two for lunch today. High-quality bread and a good ripe tomato is such a perfect combination.

2 comments » | Blog, Recipes


August 19th, 2021 — 9:19pm

I made a small batch of my famous carrot – cheese – potato soup today. Sooooo delicious!

  • A small onion, minced
  • A few carrots, sliced
  • 2 or 3 russet potatoes, diced
  • A small amount of milk or cream
  • A lump of cheddar cheese, chopped or grated
  • a lump of cream cheese
  • Dill, salt, pepper

Sauté the onion in a fine knob of butter. Add potatoes and carrots. Cover with water and simmer till soft. Turn the heat as low as possible.

Now, if you have an immersion blender, go to town until the soup is as smooth as you like. Add splashes of milk or cream if it’s too stiff. I use a regular blender and it works fine, just be careful and do a small amount at a time. I puree a couple of ladlefuls, then pour them back into the pot, fish out a couple more chunky ladlefuls and puree them, etc. I always leave some chunks of vegetables.

Now, turn the burner to medium-ish and stir in a your cheeses. Stir stir stir. Add milk if it’s too thick. Don’t let it boil!! Just heat it to melt those cheeses.

Season with dill, salt, and pepper. Devour!

P.s. I don’t peel the potatoes, but you can if you prefer.

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favorite food

May 8th, 2021 — 8:13pm

Some people (most people?) like to eat something different for every meal. I like to find one good thing and eat it for every meal. Until I get tired of it and move on to something else. I’m not a huge fan of eating in general, and it’s easier if I don’t need to keep figuring out different meals.

My current lunch/dinner meal is taco salad. I put a layer of corn chips on a small plate with a few spoonfuls of refried beans on top, and nuke till warm. Then add a layer of shredded iceberg lettuce, sliced tomatoes, minced onion, and a little shredded cheese. Half a lime squeezed over and a drizzle of Cholula sauce. Super delicious and easy. Fairly nutritious. One head of lettuce, one box of tiny tomatoes, one onion, two cans of beans, one bag of shredded cheese, and one bag of limes last for many meals. I eat a yogurt for breakfast (mid-morning) and usually an apple with goat cheese before bed.

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October 24th, 2020 — 1:05pm

Hey I recorded another chapter of Over Sea, Under Stone! That’s number 6!

Also, this morning I made ratatouille again. I’ve been making it weekly — it’s so good over polenta or pasta or just on its own, and so incredibly nutritious, and vegetarian so it’s earth-friendly. I’ll jot down my recipe here. It’s easy but a bit time consuming so I sit on the seat of my walker while I chop veggies.

Kara’s Big Pot of Ratatouille

  • 2 big eggplants
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 lb zucchini
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • a few cloves of garlic, minced
  • thyme
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • red pepper flakes (optional)
  • a few bay leaves (optional)

You’ll need a big heavy-bottomed stock pot! Chop all your veggies into big dice. I do one eggplant first and get it started cooking while I chop the next, etc. So when you’ve chopped your first eggplant, put a couple glugs of olive oil in your pot and put it on med. high to high (depending on your stove) and, when the oil is hot, drop in your first batch of eggplant. You’re aiming to brown a few surfaces of the eggplant, not cook it all the way through, so stir frequently while you chop the next eggplant. When the eggplant has some brown edges, dump it into a huge bowl, glug some more oil into the pot, and get the next batch of eggplant started while you chop the zucchini. Repeat with the zucchini and peppers. (you will have burned crud on the bottom of your pan. Don’t worry about it. A soak and a scrub will clean it all.)

Now that the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers are a bit browned and waiting all together in that huge bowl, cook your onion in some more oil over a lower heat until it begins to get soft and translucent. Dump in your minced garlic and chopped tomatoes, some thyme, some salt, a couple bay leaves if you have them, and some red pepper flakes for kick. Cook this for a little while, till it starts to smell amazing, then dump that big bowl of slightly browned veggies in, stir it all around, cover, and cook on low until it’s done. The longer you cook, the more homogenous it will be. Stir, taste, and adjust seasonings now and then. When cooked to your liking, eat it all up!

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Black Bean Improv Soup

July 15th, 2020 — 7:50pm

We had some leftover liquid from a chicken soup my sister made last week and I didn’t want it to go to waste so I improvised a black bean soup.

Black bean improv soup:

Chop half a giant onion and a yellow bell pepper; sautée in butter and olive oil till soft and slightly browned

Throw in a few cloves of minced garlic, cook (low) another couple minutes, then add chicken broth (I used the remains of that soup from last week)

Add two cans of black beans (undrained, bean juice and all)

Cook a while. Add more broth or water if necessary. Throw in a handful of white rice and simmer till veggies, beans, and rice are soft (make sure there’s enough liquid for the rice to absorb)

Add some salt and quite a bit of Trader Joe’s chili-lime seasoning, tasting frequently. YUM. Add some grated cheese and a squeeze of lime to your bowl for extra yum.

Bowl of soup

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Kara’s Tabbouleh

May 17th, 2019 — 10:13am

Recipe time! I make tabbouleh/tabouli a lot in summer. I don’t care for parsley so I make mine with spinach. Also I never have mint. Who has mint? So no mint in mine. This recipe makes a nice big container.

Kara’s Tabbouleh

2 c bulgur wheat (check the rice or international section of your store)
2 c water
4 handfuls baby spinach
2-3 tomatoes
2-3 scallions or 1/4 onion
1/2 c lemon juice (maybe 2 lemons worth)
1/4 c olive oil

Microwave the wheat and water together for 5 minutes, stir, and let it cool.

Chop the tomatoes, spinach, and onion. Stir into the cooled wheat, then mix in the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt to taste. Fridge it for a while to let the flavours blend, then eat eat eat. You can, of course, adjust the quantities of everything as you like. Yummmmmmmmm.

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Amazing mince pies, USA-style

December 4th, 2016 — 12:57pm

Anyone who loves British books and culture has heard of mince pies, but they’re not really a thing here in the States. A few years ago, Henry and I bought a bottle of mincemeat and made our own version of mince pies. They were very good. This year, since I’m feeling energetic enough to make Christmas treats, I wanted to make mince pies but I couldn’t find mincemeat in any stores so I made my own. I combined and tweaked a few recipes and made my own version of mincemeat. My recipe is easy and tasty and uses ingredients you can find in any store.


Here’s my recipe. Note: mincemeat contains no meat.

Kara’s Mincemeat

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 cup each raisins, golden raisins, and dried cranberries, roughly chopped (you can substitute other dried fruit if you want, but keep it heavy on the raisins)
  • 2 tablespoons marmalade (should be bitter)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 green apple, peeled and grated
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan, mix everything else in, cover, and simmer over very low heat until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the fruit is plump and soft, stirring frequently. Add another big splash of brandy if you want! It’s only once a year. This turned out SO good — way way better than the bottled stuff. The bottled stuff probably didn’t have brandy in it ;-)

Let the mincemeat sit overnight or so.

Ok now you can make the PIES.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Make piecrust or, if you’re like me and don’t want to bother, buy some ready-to-use raw pie dough. Roll it out a bit thinner and use a glass or something to cut circles that are a little bigger than the bottoms of your muffin tin cups and press them into place. You don’t want the dough to go all the way up the sides of the cups — maybe a 1/2 inch or so.

filling the pies

Fill with just a spoonful of mincemeat. Not too full! The mincemeat will boil and you don’t want it to boil over the edges of the dough.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before trying to remove from muffin pan. Devour. Make more.


Save some for Santa!

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