Hearty Garden Chili Recipe

  Recipes for chili can vary greatly from one family to the next. Our neighborhood’s annual chili party is always fun with all the variety and  sampling from as many pots as we can! Personally I have two recipes that my family absolutely loves; a fabulous white chicken chili, and the red Hearty Garden Chili in this post. This particular chili is very chunky and filling, with beans, lots of ground beef, vegetables, and overall substance. It is wonderfully flavorful and nutritious, and spicy too (about medium), although the heat can easily be adjusted or omitted. Since I have a vegetable garden during the summer, I’ve been able to use my own homegrown tomatoes and peppers for this recipe. But if you don’t have access to homegrown tomatoes, you can use store-bought canned tomatoes as well. Though I have made some changes and added extra ingredients to personalize and create my own family recipe, the original recipe was shared with me by my sister-in-law. Thank you, Kelly!!! We both have made some changes over the years, and Kelly too, has started adding her own, homegrown tomatoes. We both agree it adds so much flavor! It really is hard not to have a second helping of this awesome stuff! Toward the bottom of this post you’ll first find the recipe with standard American measurements, then with metric measurements. If you try this recipe, please consider leaving a comment and star rating […] Read more »

Tender Whole Wheat English Muffins Recipe

    In this blog post I will share a delicious English muffins recipe that can be white or whole wheat. It was very much inspired by Alton Brown’s recipe, but I simplified some of the steps in the directions to make them easier to make, and I also switched out some of the ingredients to make them less processed. So in the end they are better for you and taste fantastic! I have received so many compliments on them! They are tender and wonderful with the correct texture and looks of English muffins, the way they should be. You’ll probably never want to go back to store brands again after you get a taste of the English muffins you can make yourself at home! Alton Brown has nailed it on several points and they bake perfectly on a griddle with cornmeal, like he suggested. Some of the changes I made was to use butter instead of shortening and real milk in place of powdered milk. In addition I discovered white whole wheat flour, and I’m so glad I did! There are different varieties of whole wheat grain just like there are different types of apples. White whole wheat is lighter in color, texture, and flavor than the traditionally used red wheat, and it tastes more refined, almost “white”. Yet it contains the same amount of nutrients and fiber as “regular” whole wheat. Since the texture is so light, you can get away with using mostly whole […] Read more »

Norwegian Risgrøt, Rice Porridge, Pressure Cooker Recipe

    Norwegian rice porridge, or risengrynsgrøt, is a thick, creamy, hot rice cereal commonly made in Norway throughout the year, especially as a Saturday lunch. Also called risgrøt, the standard way of cooking the white rice is in a heavy pot on the stove top as shown in my post Traditional Norwegian Risgrøt, Rice Porridge Recipe. The rice cooks in milk for an hour until it thickens and softens, and needs to be stirred every five minutes or so to prevent burning. It is a little bit of a process, so it is nice to have some additional preparation options. After having experimented with a lot of batches, I have figured out several good alternatives. In this post I will show you how to make it in an electric pressure cooker, and in a previous post you can see how to prepare it using one of the following methods: Oven, quilt, cooler, or slow cooker method. Although common year-round, risgrøt is often served for lunch on Christmas Eve day, with the leftovers used in the evening for the much loved Norwegian Christmas dessert, Riskrem (rice pudding). For many families, mine included, there is no Christmas without riskrem!! We have an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker, but I’m sure other electric pressure cookers will be similar. The important part is that it needs to have a “warm” feature if you want to cook the porridge directly inside the pot. When preparing risengrynsgrøt in a pressure […] Read more »

Norwegian Risengrynsgrøt 6 Ways; Rice Porridge Recipe

  Norwegian rice porridge, or risengrynsgrøt, is a thick, creamy, hot rice cereal commonly made in Norway throughout the year, especially as a Saturday lunch. Also called risgrøt, the standard way of cooking the white rice is in a heavy pot on the stove top, as described in my post Traditional Norwegian Risgrøt, Rice Porridge Recipe. The rice cooks in milk for an hour until it thickens and softens, and needs to be stirred every five minutes or so to prevent burning. It is a little bit of a process, so it is nice to have some additional preparation options. After having experimented with a lot of batches, I am now ready to show you several alternatives. Most of them require that you start by simmering the rice in water, then add milk and heat up again. Then you can finish it using one of the following methods: Oven, quilt, cooler, slow cooker, or electric pressure cooker method. The recipe itself is found at the bottom of this post, in which I chose to follow the oven method. But you can use the same measurements for any of the other methods described in this post. To keep this post from getting too long, I decided to post a separate post on the electric pressure cooker method (click this link.) If you decide to try my recipe, I would be thrilled if you left me a comment and star rating at the bottom […] Read more »

Traditional Norwegian Fårikål, Lamb & Cabbage Recipe

    Fårikål, or Lamb & Cabbage, is an old, traditional Norwegian dish loved by young and old in Norway. It is often on the menu in the fall when lamb is in season and very inexpensive. Lamb meat is a favorite among many Norwegians, and simmering with cabbage is one of the most popular ways to prepare it. This authentic recipe is very easy to make, and even cheap, tough cuts become tender and juicy when fixed this way. Traditionally, this dish is served with boiled potatoes and plenty of lamb broth ladled overtop. Fårikål recipes throughout the country are usually very much the same, using only five ingredients: lamb, cabbage, salt, pepper, and water. Some people add a little bit of flour to thicken the broth just a tad. A simple combination, yet so very tasty! Norwegians abroad will sometimes make changes to traditional recipes, but in this post I will show you how to make the original, authentic Norwegian Fårikål. Directly translated, fårikål (får-i-kål) means “lamb in cabbage”. Får is another word for lamb or sheep, and kål simply means cabbage. We Norwegians are very proud of the quality of lamb meat produced in our country; sheep and their lambs usually graze in the mountains all summer long where they enjoy fresh air, lots of space to roam, clean mountain water, and an all-you-can-eat buffet of natural feed. Drivers must always keep an eye out when up in the […] Read more »

Authentic Norwegian Meatballs / Kjøttkaker Recipe

      As a native born-and-raised Norwegian, I grew up making and eating traditional Norwegian food. My mother taught me how to cook from I was just a wee little girl as I watched and stirred the pot with her. What a blessing to have had such a loving mother to teach me valuable life skills! One of the dishes frequently served as a mid-week dinner in Norway is “kjøttkaker”, Norwegian meatballs. When searching online, many English-written recipes for Norwegian meatballs contain bread crumbs and pork and are not your typical Norwegian kjøttkake recipe.  There may be some regional differences, and of course every person will do things their own way. But the recipe I’m about to share, however, is a typical old fashioned meatball recipe from Norway, a recipe as genuine and authentic as they get! Traditional Norwegian kjøttkaker are all-beef, flavorful, and somewhat salty. Although Americans typically serve meatballs with BBQ or marinara sauce, Norwegian meatballs are served with brown gravy. Some Norwegians like to add a little bit of ginger to their meatball dough, and others will add chopped, raw onions. So you’ll find slight variations in these recipes but in the end they are all very similar to each other, and native Norwegians know what. If you decide to try this recipe, I would absolutely love a comment with a star rating as it really helps me out! Thanks in advance!   How to make traditional Norwegian meatballs: […] Read more »

Trader Joe’s Beauty Products; Better for Your Health?

      A couple of years ago I came to realize that most soaps, lotions, and other beauty products sold in stores today contain a lot of worrisome ingredients. Seeing lists of common ingredients and what the chemicals in them can do to your health made me want to look for safer alternatives. Since Trader Joe’s sells a lot of affordable, natural products, I wanted to take a closer look at the ingredients in their soaps and lotions. In this post I will review some of these products, list their ingredients, and highlight those that might be of concern. There may also be other harmful ingredients that are not familiar to me, but at least I will show you some of the big ones.  There are few regulations regarding what can be added to personal care products, so I have learned to check ingredient lists, even on “all natural” or organic products, which can sometimes be far from natural or safe! Pure Haven Essentials (former Ava Anderson Non Toxic) has a convenient list of chemicals to avoid that I also have seen listed on multiple other reputable websites.  So I will use their list as a guide when comparing Trader Joe’s products and their ingredients. The list from Pure Haven Essentials is in a PDF format, or you can look at the same list written down by another blogger but in a different format, both very informative in their own ways.   Need more information? Some links to helpful articles and websites: This article from Huffington Post explains the concern really […] Read more »

Delicious Cherry Lemonade for a Crowd. Recipe & Tips

    Best-Ever Flavored Lemonade on a Budget I recently hosted a graduation open house for over 150 people in honor of my daughter’s graduation from high school. A graduation open house is a tradition in the northern states, for you southerners who think I must be crazy! It is, actually, pretty crazy but a lot of fun, too! At any rate, when deciding on a menu, we looked at different options for beverages. The goal was to serve something easy and good tasting, but affordable at the same time. In the end we decided on water bottles and lemonade in dispensers. But not just any bland lemonade: I figured out a way to cut back on cost while serving a wonderful cherry flavored lemonade that not only looked beautiful, but also tasted absolutely delicious! It also ended up being very easy, even for such a large crowd of people, and yet so tasty! Using the following recipe also allows you to choose other flavors, although cherry is our favorite. Read on and you will see just how simple it can be to score big without breaking the bank, in addition to several good tips!   Other ideas that were considered:  We had looked at other beverage options as well. The easiest would have been soda cans and water bottles in a kids’ plastic pool filled with ice. But after we heard people say to provide 2-3 drinks per person (really??? That can’t be […] Read more »

Super Chewy Crinkly Sugar Cookies, Recipe

    Recently I have been baking sugar cookies, and now I want to share my two favorite recipes! I have tasted many different sugar cookies over the years but I find most of them to be bland and dry. The two recipes I’m sharing with you today, however, are among the best ones out there as far as I’m concerned! Sugar cookies have a simplistic, sweet flavor; they are not bold by any means or they would no longer be a sugar cookie. If you want a real aroma kick you should try my Malted Milk Cookies, which are truly outstanding! Sugar cookies are more plain, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bland. Both recipes are tasty and chewy but slightly different from each other: The cookies in my other recipe has great flavor, using lots of real butter and a whole 8-ounce package of cream cheese. And the recipe in this post, while still delicious tasting, also features a wonderful, chewy consistency due to ingredients selected for just that purpose. Because I like really chewy cookies, I do love this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, although I have made a couple of changes: I have added just a tiny bit of almond or coconut extract, depending on my mood, for extra flavor. I have also changed the order of the ingredients and made this into a one-bowl, or rather, one-pot recipe to simplify, making it a truly quick and easy […] Read more »

Tender Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies, Recipe

  Recently I have been baking sugar cookies, and now I want to share my two favorite recipes! I have tasted many different sugar cookies over the years but I find that most of them are bland and dry. The two recipes I’m sharing with you today, however, are among the best ones out there as far as I’m concerned! Sugar cookies have a simplistic, sweet flavor; they are not bold by any means or they would no longer be a sugar cookie. If you want a real aroma kick you should try my Malted Milk Cookies, which are truly outstanding! Sugar cookies are more plain, but that doesn’t mean they have to be bland. Both recipes are tasty and chewy but slightly different from each other: The recipe in this post (below) focuses on wonderful flavor and produces a tender crumb with a cream cheese tang, while the recipe in my next blog post features a great, chewy consistency due to ingredients selected for just that purpose. The recipe in this post uses real butter and also includes a full size (8 oz) package of cream cheese, both of which account for a lot of flavor. In addition there is just a tiny bit of almond extract added, which is a flavor I normally avoid because it tends to be over powering for me, but with only 1/4 teaspoon it gives just a hint of almond flavor and it is very […] Read more »