Category Archives: Smart Substitutes

I like to make things from scratch, so these recipes are common ingredients that I make rather than buy.

New link

Okay, not totally sure how this all actually works but my blog has a new address.  All this info has been transferred over to the new site which is (somehow) being hosted by my oldest son’s business, TheTechShpere.  So, that address (hopefully easier to remember except DO also remember it’s .org!!   go check it out, its all there!  And you can now share recipes you like on social media!

See you there!!!

I’m baa-a-ack!!

Well, after having a near panic attack at my continued inability to post on this blog (and I’ve got recipe requests piling up!) I FINALLY am able to be back on here posting.  Why?  Because thankfully the world is full of all kinds of people who enjoy all kinds of different things.  My oldest son, Daniel, doesn’t enjoy knitting or gardening or drawing (all things I love) HOWEVER he does love computers, and anything to do with them.  Yeah, he said he could fix it, I scoffed, and yet, here I am and there he is (quite pleased with himself).  I’m back, issue fixed!  So, in the midst of a recipe blog, a quick little shout out to my computer geekoid boy, thank you!!!!

Amish Baked Oatmeal


I LOVE having this stuff on hand for breakfasts (and snacks)!!!  My Mom got us hooked on this as she makes it often, too. It is tasty, pretty good for you, and I make it in a 10x14x2 pan so I get plenty.  For the ingredients, the regular recipe is for a 9×13 pan so I will put the measurements I use for my 10×14 in parenthesis.  Also, I’ve played around with the add ins, just using what I have.  Chopped fresh apples are tasty, and this morning I really went crazy and added 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 a bag of chocolate chips, a big handful of dried cranberries and about 1/3 cup sliced almonds; its been in 10 min and already smelling yummy!  Okay, the recipe:

3/4 (1) cup oil or melted butter or a combination of both
1 1/2 (2) cups brown sugar
1/4 (1/3) cup honey
3 (4) eggs
3/4 (1) teaspoon salt
3 (4) teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 (2) cups milk
4 1/2 (6) cups oats
3 (4) teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 (2/3) cup applesauce (I use unsweetened)
1/2 (2/3) cup chopped nuts
1/2 (2/3) cup raisins or other dried fruit

Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a 9×13 (10×14) pan.  Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to thoroughly combine.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 35 to 40 min. or until lightly browned.

To serve, cut into squares.  Some of my gang likes to eat it like a crumbly cake on a plate, others crumble it into a bowl and pour a little milk (or eggnog!!!) on top.

Menus, Groceries….you know, behind the scenes

The purpose of this blog is to post recipes that are tried and true in this family.  That said, I’m posting today with kind of a behind the scenes view of my kitchen….you know, the planning stage…..more specifically, making menus and buying groceries.  This is an area where I’m actually VERY organized (and those of you who know me, know that organization is NOT my forte!)  I could go on and on about it (and if there’s interest, I will do other posts along these lines in the future), however, lately there have been MAJOR changes in our life and today I happened across a WONDERFUL blog that I’m just starting to dig around in, but already I’m in love!  It’s WholesomeMommy (and there’s a link in my side bar under blogs I follow).  More specifically, I’m reading a series of posts entitled Oh SNAP! REAL food on a Food Stamp budget.  Now, I am currently NOT on food stamps, however with my SuperHero retiring from the Air Force and starting to go to school, moving to Maine, etc., our life is being whirled and twirled and we’re still waiting for things to settle.  We’ve got money coming in FINALLY (that military hurry up and wait does NOT end when you retire from the military!) so we’re trying to play catch up as well as trying to adjust to a new income and new cost of living.  Lots of things which simply mean that I’m relearning where to buy, what to buy, etc.  We’ve gone from bi-monthly pay to monthly pay, so I’m trying to figure the best way to purchase….for the month, or continue with bi-monthly and set money aside?  We don’t have a lot of “wriggle room” really and prices are VERY different between Utah and here.  I don’t have a garden here either/yet.  So, all that to say, I’m learning the best way to shop and cook in my new home in my new life.  If I can figure out how, I will post my blank grocery list as that is something I’m still using and has been requested several times.

Ok….tried…..will wait for GeniusComputerGuy to get home from school and get him to figure it out for me.  😀

Mom’s Eggplant Parmigiana Express

Got this email from my Mom, so I’m including the whole thing because who doesn’t love notes from moms?

Good morning kids!
Amy called this morning requesting  this recipe, it’s one of our favorites, so I thought I’d send it to all of you to enjoy.
Love always,
The usual procedure of sauteing eggplant in oil after dipping it in egg and bread crumbs, is time-consuming and messy.  Because each slice absorbs quite a lot of oil, it is also caloric.  here’s another lighter, faster approach that yields delicious results.
Preparation time 10 min.
Baking time 30 min.
Serves 6 to 8
preheat oven to 425F
1 medium-sized eggplant
Wash and trim eggplant.  If skin is tender, there’s no need to peel it.  Cut into 1/2″ slices.
1/4 C. low-fat mayonnaise (but not no-fat!)
1 C. Cracker or bread crumbs
1/3 C. freshly grated parmesan or cheddar cheese
Spread mayonnaise thinly on each side of eggplant slices and dredge in combined crumbs and cheese.  Arrange slices on un greased baking sheet and bake for about 15 min., or until browned and fork-tender.  Reduce oven temperature to 375F.
1 thin slice mozzarella cheese for each eggplant slice (I sometimes use shredded cheddar cheese if I don’t have mozzarella)
1 C. Quick Tomato Sauce (see below) I usually use spaghetti sauce.
1/4 C. freshly grated parmesan cheese
Layer eggplant in a casserole lightly sprayed with oil, top each slice with mozzarella cheese, and sprinkle with half the parmesan.  Spread some of the tomato sauce on each slice and pour the remainder over all, Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan.  (This recipe calls for only 1 layer of eggplant, but I use more than one layer.) Bake at 375F for about 15 min.
A quick tomato sauce can be made by diluting two 6-oz. cans of tomato past with wine or water to make a thick sauce.  Add 1/2 tsp. basil, 1/2 tsp. oregano, 1/8 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. brown sugar, and salt and pepper to taste.  If you have more than you need for this eggplant parmigiana express store remainder in refrigerator for later use.

Big Time BBQ Rub


We bought a Big Green Egg (grill)a couple years ago and it came with a few recipes including this awesome rub. I’ve used it in hamburgers, on chicken, and pork, just to name a few. Delicious!

Big Time BBQ Rub
1/2 c salt
1/2 c Turbinado sugar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 Tbsp granulated onion
2 Tbs ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne
2 Tbs chili powder
1 Tbs granulated garlic
2 Tbs paprika
1 Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 Tbs thyme leaves

Combine all mix well, and store in an airtight container.

Jerilyn’s Northwest Blackberry Cobbler

wpid-IMG_20130826_092059_183.jpgWe stayed at my Mom and Dad’s this summer, in the midst of moving back to the east coast.  We were there during blackberry season and Dad has a good sized patch of wild blackberries.  We picked….and we picked….and we picked.  Last count we had picked 35 quarts, much of which got frozen.  But of course plenty also got eaten straight from the bush, sprinkled over oatmeal (steel cut sundaes…yum!) and a few tasty dessert type things.  I found this recipe in one of Mom’s cookbooks.  My Mom has cookbooks….I’ve been told I have lots, but my Mom has 3 or 4 times as many as I do.  Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree….we like cookbooks.  I found this recipe in The Farmhouse Cookbook.  And a certain sibling of mine may have even said that he liked it better than Mom’s usual recipe!  I don’t know who Jerilyn is, but this is so yummy she deserves many kudos for it!!

Jerilyn’s Northwest Blackberry Cobbler

For filling:
6 C blackberries
1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c flour

For batter:
2 c flour
1 c sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c millk
1/2 c (1 stick) melted butter
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix filling and pour into a cake pan.  Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg in food processor (or you can mix it by hand, that’s how I did it this morning, just mix it well).  Pulse/mix well.  Add milk and butter and beat until smooth.  Spoon batter over berries and spread to edge of dish to prevent juices from spilling over.  Bake until crust is brown and crisp on the outside and cooked all the way through, and berries are bubbling up a bit; about 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes.  Serve with whipping cream.

Serves 8-10

Eggs Pierre


Okay, this is how much I truly love my SuperHero:

  1. That I even make this stuff (which, BTW, I confess to calling “Pukes Pierre)  I will admit, though, that since adapting the recipe a bit, it is starting to grow on me and I now will eat it when I make it (yeah, I used to eat sandwiches while everyone else had this)
  2. I am putting this on MY food blog after I’ve spent years berating it.  SuperHero just called me to ask for my food blog address for a co-worker, because she wants this recipe (yep, you read it right, this is for you Jauna!)

I actually used to tell my MIL that I was sure she just made it up as NOBODY had ever heard of it before.  It’s one of those “comfort foods” I think, for hubby, but I have discovered that he is the only Jajliardo “child” that is still getting served this stuff.  With the changes I’ve made, it is tastier and looks a whole lot less “vomitrocious” (yes, I said that!)  The sauce makes about 6 or 7 servings, and you just make as much sausage, eggs and toast as you want.

Pierre Sauce (make this first as it needs to simmer about 15 min.  You could also cook up the sausage at this time and then keep it warming in the oven on the lowest temperature)

1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup sesame oil (yes, use sesame oil, the flavors better AND it gives it better color than….well, than you know what)
5 Tbsp flour
3 cups chicken broth (or 3 cups water + 3 chicken bouillon cubes)
1/4 cup tomato juice
1 Tbsp vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste (not too  much salt!  there’s already saltiness to it)

Heat the oil in a sauce pan, add garlic and briefly cook it.  Add flour, mix well and heat until it get bubbly.  Add the remaining ingredients and cook over medium low heat for about 15 min. (don’t let it boil)

You can use either sausage in either the breakfast links or patties, cook them as directed on the package.

While the sauce is simmering (and the sausages are cooked), fry up some eggs with a little salt and pepper (however many you want) and cook your toast.  Place the toast on your plate, top with an egg, some sausages and then ladle the sauce over it all.

I would LOVE to have your comments on this!

Enchilada Lasagna

Quick, easy and OH so yummy!  This is a family favorite.  It serves about 12 people, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t have that many mouths to feed at once….this makes wonderful leftovers as well!

1-1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (10 ounces) enchilada sauce
1 to 2 tsp ground cumin
1 egg, beaten
1-1/2 cups (12 ounces) 4% cottage cheese
3 cups (12 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
8 flour tortillas (8 inches), cut in half
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a large skillet, cook the beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the tomatoes, enchilada sauce and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

2. In a small bowl, combine egg and cottage cheese; set aside. Spread a third of the meat sauce into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Layer with half of the cheese blend, tortillas, cottage cheese mixture and remaining meat sauce. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.

3. Cover and bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Let stand for 15 minutes before cutting.

Servings: 12

Source: Originally published as Enchilada Lasagna in Taste of Home June/July 2010, p32

Better Butter

The price of butter keeps going up, but I don’t want to use “fake stuff”.  So I buy lots of butter when it’s on sale ($2 a pound) and I make some of it into Better Butter, which is very similar to margarine except that it’s homemade with more natural ingredients.  It’s much more spreadable than butter and my kids really like the taste.  Yes, I do add a little salt as we like that taste better.  From 2 cups of butter, you get 4 cups of Better Butter.

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup canola oil
1/4 tsp lecithin (optional)
2 Tbs water
2 Tbs dry milk powder
pinch of salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend well.  Pour into a seal-able container and store in refrigerator.  I linked the lecithin so you can read up on it and decide whether or not you want to use it.