Sunday, July 27, 2014

Infused Vinegars


Olivia reminded me this weekend how very good infused vinegar is and what an excellent healthy salad dressing infused vinegar can be.  You can use regular stopper vinegar cruets or bottles like the ones pictured below (available at Walmart).  The ones I used are handy to store in the refrigerator door.  Infusing vinegar is easy if you remember a few basic things.  Make sure the bottles are very clean and you may want to even sterilize them in hot water.  White distilled vinegar and apple cider vinegar work best, but you can use rice vinegar and wine vinegar is you like.  Just remember the rice and wine vinegar contain more protein that will spoil sooner than the others.  

To make the infused vinegar shown, I made two with apple cider vinegar and one with pomegranate vinegar.  The first apple cider vinegar contains a sprig of tarragon.  The second apple cider vinegar contains chopped garlic (you may use cloves of garlic) and basil.  The pomegranate vinegar contains rosemary.  

To make infused vinegar, use the very freshest herbs and make sure they are clean and remove any damaged or brown leaves.  When you fill the bottles, try to cover the herbs with the vinegar.  The longer the vinegar stays in the refrigerator, the more intense the flavor becomes, so you may want to pull the herbs out of the bottle at some point.  Remove them if they start to look wilted or old.  The vinegar will last in the refrigerator quite a while.  Get creative and use them on salads, potatoes, cooked vegetables to brighten them, and even fresh fruit.  Experiment!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Granola is a great source of fiber and can be a super healthy snack.  Olivia and I have a friend, Laura Greig, who gave Olivia a variation of this recipe and Olivia made just a few changes to make it her own. Try this version or tweak it and make it your own.  The basic idea is the same no matter how you mix it up.  Mix dry ingredients then add coating and bake just until warm and crunchy.  The biggest risk is not letting it burn.  You will love it once you've tried it!  If you bag this into individual servings it could even make a great addition to a child or adult's lunchbox.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two large cookie sheets (with rims, such as jelly roll pans) with parchment paper.  Mix the following together in a very large bowl:

7 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup cashew pieces

Meanwhile, in a saucepan on the stove, mix together:

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

After the mixture on the stove has melted together, pour it over the dry ingredients and stir.  Pour half of the mixture on to each prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes, and then stir both pans thoroughly. Bake five more minutes and then stir both pans again.  Bake for four to five more minutes, watching carefully, so you don't burn your granola.  Remove both pans from the oven and dump the granola into a large bowl.  Add dried fruits of your choice such as raisins or Craisins.   Store in an air tight container!

Saturday, July 12, 2014


During the Fourth of July holiday, the family went camping.  We decided to try and branch out  from the usual campfire fare we normally prepare.  This cake was a addition to our menu.  It is easy and very good.  All you do to prepare it is place on a large piece of foil cut up cubes of store bought pound cake, pieces of drained chunk pineapple, drained maraschino cherries, pieces of butter, and a sprinkle of brown sugar.  You don't have to be specific about measuring, just do it to taste and be sure to put enough butter on it so it won't be dry or stick.  Wrap everything up and seal the edges of the foil.  While you are eating, place this off to the side of your fire grate so it gets indirect heat for about 15-20 minutes.  When you unwrap it, you will be amazed by how warm and wonderful this simple dessert is.  It definitely rivals any traditional upside down cake.  Even if you are not camping, this is a great and easy dessert that may be prepared on your grill.  Just be careful you don't burn it.  Try it during your next cookout!