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Saturday, May 18, 2024


 I recently got inspired to "step up" my quiche game after breakfast at a cafe' while I was on vacation.  They offered two types of deep dish quiches which were super tasty.  So tasty in fact, that my daughter and I had breakfast there 3 of the 5 mornings we were there.   We each ordered one of the flavors, then split it in half so each of us could enjoy both flavors.   The quiche had great eye appeal because they were so tall and their custard was super creamy.   

I love the flavor combinations of mine, but I wanted to improve the interior consistency, and I definitely wanted to try my hand at a deep dish crust, versus the store bought pie crusts I had been using all these years.  

Since I've been baking with sourdough recently, I tend to have a fair amount of "discard".  With that in mind, I looked for a sourdough pie crust recipe.  The one I chose was wonderful!  Very flaky and it held up really well.  I used my springform pan.

This recipe makes 1 pie crust.   I doubled it since I wasn't sure with the springform pan if I needed additional.  As it turned out, I did end up with quite a bit leftover, plus my shell was thick in a couple spots, and I probably didn't need to go quite as high on the sides.   I froze what I didn't use and plan to see if I have enough to make another. 


1 cup + 1 tsp flour
8 Tbsp. butter COLD
½ tsp. fine sea salt
½ tsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. white vinegar
½ cup sourdough discard starter


Use a cheese grater to grate the cold butter into a large mixing bowl.  Add the flour, salt and sugar and use a fork to toss the ingredients together, making sure the butter is coated and separated.  Use a bench scraper or a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it forms large crumbles.

Add the discard and vinegar to the bowl and then use a fork to incorporate them into the mixture.  Switch to your hands and press the dough together until there are no dry bits left in the bowl.  ( if the dough is too dry, add a tsp of water)

Form the dough into a disk shape and wrap in plastic wrap.  Use a rolling pin to flatten the disk.  Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 4 days.  

Blind bake the crust.  Roll out the dough to approximately 1/8" thick.  For a 9½ springform the dough should be 16" in diameter.  Carefully lift into the pan and press up the sides and into the bottom.  Line the pie with parchment or aluminum foil and add pie weights or at least 3" of  dry beans.   Bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees.  The crust will be slightly golden around the edges.   Remove the foil and beans.  The bottom will look uncooked and slightly wet at this point.   Return to the oven for and additional 5-8 minutes.   The bottom will puff slightly, but will deflate when removed from the oven.  Allow the crust to cool.  

NOTE:  It's really important to work quickly to ensure a flaky crust.  You don't want the butter to warm.  You will be able to see bits of butter in the dough, which is exactly what you want.    If it starts to warm while you're working with it, put it in the fridge for 15 minutes and then finish up. 

This dough can be chilled (well wrapped in plastic wrap) in the fridge for up to 4 days, and frozen for up to 3 months. 

Recipe c/o:  Amy Duska

As for the quiche itself.  I modified my "tried and true" sausage and cheese quiche recipe to the following:


6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 cups spinach, wilted
1 lb. breakfast sausage links cut into small pieces
1 ½ cups shredded medium cheddar cheese
½ cup onion chopped
salt and pepper to taste
½ tsp. powdered garlic
fresh or dry parsley


Brown sausage links, allow to cool on a paper towel lined plate.  Once cool cut into small pieces.  I toss my cooled links lightly with flour before assembling to keep them from laying on the bottom of the quiche. 

Cook the onions until tender in the remaining sausage fat (if it's not too much, otherwise remove some before adding them to the frying pan).  Add in the spinach to quickly wilt. 

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and cream.  Stir in the spinach, onion, salt, pepper and garlic.   

In the baked shell, add a handful of shredded cheese and sausage.  Slowly pour in some of the egg mixture.  Add more sausage and cheese and continue.  Save some of the cheese to sprinkle over the top.  Just before placing in the oven, sprinkle parsley over the top.  I place my pan on a foil lined baking sheet just in case.  

Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.  I went with 1 hour and 25 minutes and it needed another 5 for sure.  

Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan.  Release the sides and let sit another 30-40 minutes before slicing. 

NOTE:  The whole milk and heavy cream was exactly what it needed!  The interior was so reminded me of the cafe' in Prague.  (if you're curious, my original recipe called for eggs and evaporated milk).  

Also just to clarify, the picture above was taken the following morning... cold from the fridge, so it doesn't have that gooey look to it....and I'll be honest, the one I took the evening I ate the quiche was too gooey, because I didn't let it cool long enough.  I was too excited to try it.

There are so many possibilities with ingredients, feel free to mix it up.   My other "go to" is ham and swiss.  Just keep the egg, milk and cream so you have that lovely consistency.


Thursday, April 11, 2024


 I am so late to the party on this one....but, here I am trying my hand at the art of sourdough.  I was gifted a dehydrated starter and some tools for a Christmas present and started my journey shortly after that.  I named my starter "Gertie" which reminded me of a strong woman from another generation and that's what sourdough is all about right?  An ancestral form of baking passed on through the generations.  

My first bake after I got my sourdough rehydrated was this artisan loaf.  It turned out pretty good for a first try.  I've made two more since then and I'm still working on it.  Between the high altitude and lack of humidity, I feel like I need to make a couple more tweaks to get it just right.  One is to the ratio of flour and water, the second is the bake time.   This bread also has several "stretch and fold" steps which is an art unto itself.  So, in short.....I'm still learning.

The next recipe I tried was a "fluffy sandwich bread".  I love this bread.  It truly is super fluffy and delicious.  Every single bake has been a gem!
I've also tried a few recipes that allows me to use my "discard".    First up was some crackers; similar to wheat thins....then, a cinnamon raisin bread, next a batch of granola (which I like to put on my yogurt), and finally cheddar bay biscuits.   I've truly enjoyed them all.                                                                       
I didn't include any recipes in this post since there are so many to choose from.  Let your fingers do the searching to find some.  I did use the King Arthur website.  But there are so many sourdough bloggers out there, the recipes are all over the internet as well as on social media sites.  

My sourdough starter was purchased from Sourdough Sparrow.   There's a touching story that goes along with their starter that will touch your heart like it did mine.

If you're heading down the sourdough path, or continuing your ongoing journey.  Enjoy the process and the goodness!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023


 This Christmas Eve dinner called for an appetizer.  And, for some reason the first thing I thought of was stuffed mushrooms.   I've enjoyed them many times, but have never made them before.  So this holiday seemed as good a time as any.  

This is the only picture I was able to get before these babies were devoured.  So, it seems only reasonable to share this yummy recipe with you!


24 oz. white button mushrooms (I selected 10 fairly uniform medium large)
1/3 lb. hot Italian sausage* 
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
8 oz. cream cheese*
1 egg yolk
3/4 cups grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup booking broth or white cooking wine*
salt and pepper to taste


Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Clean mushrooms.  Wipe off with a damp paper towel or rag.  Pop out mushroom stems, reserving both the caps and stems.  I spooned out the interior of the mushroom really well not only to clean them, but to create a large cavity for the filling. 

1.  Chop mushroom stems finely and set aside
2.  In a medium skillet, brown and crumble the sausage.  Drain and set aside on a plate.
3.  Add onions and garlic to the same skillet; cook for 2 minutes over medium heat.  Pour in wine or broth to deglaze the pan; allow the liquid to evaporate.  Add in the chopped mushroom stems, stir to cook for 2 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set mixture aside on a plate to cool.
4.  In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese and egg yolk.  Stir together with cheese.  Add cooked sausage/mushroom mixtures.  Stir together and refrigerate for a short time to firm up.
5.  Smear mushroom filling firmly into the cavity of each mushroom, creating a sizable mound over the top.  Place on a rimmed baking sheet.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.  Allow to cool at least 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with minced parsley (optional).

* I chose to use pork sausage instead of Italian sausage.  I also went with the 1/3 fat cream cheese which I felt for a recipe like this saves a few calories, but doesn't impact the flavor.  I also used a combo of chicken stock and white cooking wine because I had some leftover stock in the fridge and I thought it would add some additional flavor. 

I would definitely make these again!  They were delicious.  


Recipe c/o:

Thursday, November 30, 2023


 Each year I put together a Shutterfly calendar for the upcoming year.  I include pictures from our annual Mother/Daughter trip.  I like looking back on the previous year's trip evert time I turn the page to a new month.    I just realized having just finished my 2024 calendar, that I never posted about this year's trip.  So, here's the long overdue post.....


As I was doing my research on Greece, I realized the country really has a lot to offer.  But as with all my trips, I was really going to have to decide how to get a "feel" for the country by picking and choosing my destinations wisely.  I mean, it could take months to truly explore the country inside and out!

So, I finally landed on Nafplio, Delphi, Meteora, and Athens.  In order to take this all in, I was going to need a rental car until we reached Athens, then I could travel by foot and/or the metro.  I had reserved my rental car in advance, so as soon as we cleared customs, we picked up our car and began our 2 hour drive to the coastal town of Nafplio in the Peloponnese region of Greece.  We stayed two nights in this  quaint little town (the first Capital of Greece), right on the water.  We stayed at a lovely B&B, with the most amazing host, who cooked the tastiest breakfasts.  We trekked the 999 steps to the top of the hill to visit the Palamadi castle, and explored all the nooks and crannies of this city.   It didn't take us long to try some souvlaki, and of course gelato.   The second day we took a road trip to Epidaurus which was about one hour east.                                                    

 Our next destination was Delphi.  It was a four hour mountainous drive, through fog and some serious rain.  We chose to stop by the Corinth canal, which was an amazing site to see.  We dropped our bags at the hotel and quickly headed to the archaeological site of Delphi.  It was absolutely amazing, and the museum is well worth the admission fee.   Delphi is said to be founded by Zeus and is considered to be the "navel of the world".  The site dates back to the 14th century.  Delphi was a quick overnight for us, with Meteora being our next destination. We left right after breakfast since we had another 138 miles to drive.  I knew when I read about Meteora, that I absolutely had to see it!  The monasteries that sit atop these immense rock pillars were incredible to see.  

At one time there were 24, today there are 6.  It truly was a spiritual and amazing place to see.    We arrived about 1130a and promptly headed up the hill to check out three that first day.  Our hotel was right at the base of the cliffs and had a lovely patio that we sat at that first afternoon enjoying a glass of wine and the beautiful views.  The second day we took in another two of the monasteries before heading to Athens.  After our four hour drive to Athens, we dropped the car, caught the metro and met our host at the VRBO we were staying at for the next five days. 

Our VRBO was a two bedroom apartment right across from Monistiraki square.  We arrived about 430p on a Sunday afternoon and it was an absolute madhouse!  So many people, so much noise, including bongo drums.  We were in culture shock having spent the first part of our trip in the most serene and quaint locations.    We promptly walked across the street and enjoyed our first gyro of the trip!  There is so much to see in Athens.  I had booked a guided tour of the Acropolis, which I would recommend.  Just know that most of them are in the morning, so it's pretty busy.  If you'd rather explore on your own, it's less busy in the afternoon.   The museum is unbelievable as well.  We walked and walked and walked exploring the city.  I had also planned a day trip to Hydra island.  I wanted a taste of the island life while I was in Greece.  It was fun.  Just a 2 hour ferry ride.  We spent the day exploring this non-motorized island and had a wonderful lunch right on the harbor.  

And that's a wrap on another epic Mother/Daughter adventure!   We packed a lot in during the nine days we were on the ground in Greece and if you were to ask me if I would change anything, I would honestly say no.  Oh, actually just one thing.  Don't pay for a GPS for the rental car, it just doesn't work.  Use google maps instead.  

The 2024 trip has been planned and booked for quite some time.  It's another European trip that starts at the end of April, which will be here before you know it!

Monday, September 25, 2023


 With family in town, I was looking for a recipe that could feed five people, that was super easy to put together, went with this beautiful fall weather that we're having and was on the "comfort food" end of the spectrum.  

I began looking for pasta recipes of course.....The recipe I put together for baked ziti years ago has always been a favorite, but I wondered if there was something just as easy on the alfredo side.  I found exactly what I was looking for and it was so yummy I just had to share!

One of the best surprises about this recipe is you don't even have to pre-cook the pasta, so the assembly is super simple.  I'll be honest, I was a little skeptical, but it was great. 
fresh from the oven


1 16 oz. package uncooked rotini pasta      
1 22 oz. jar Alfredo sauce (about 2 ½ cups)
2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup white wine
½ cup diced onion
2 tsp. minced fresh garlic
1 (4 oz.) jar diced roasted red peppers (pimentos), drained (about ½ cup)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese or Italian cheese blend
2 lbs. raw peeled and deveined shrimp (41=50 count)
Optional garnishes:  grated parmesan,  fresh chopped parsley, basil, or other hers


Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large 13x9 baking dish, stir together uncooked pasta, Alfredo sauce, chicken broth, wine, onion, garlic and red peppers.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes. 

Remove dish from the oven and give it a stir.  At this point, check to ensure the pasta is al dente.  If it's still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven until pasta is al dente.   (I needed an extra 5 minutes)

Once the pasta is just right, and the sauce is thickened, stir in the uncooked shrimp.  Sprinkle mozzarella over the top.  Bake uncovered for 5-10 minutes.

The dish is finished when the cheese is melted and the shrimp is pink.  Keep a close eye on the don't want to overcook the shrimp and have it turn rubbery.  Garnish to your liking.  

Total cooking time will vary depending on the type of pan you use and your individual oven.  Ceramic and glass pans take longer than metal.  

Note:  I couldn't find raw peeled and deveined shrimp in this size.  I opted for 1 lb. cooked shrimp and 1 lb. of uncooked scallops....the cook time worked fine to cook the scallops and it didn't overcook the shrimp.  You might also notice mushrooms in mine.....I opted to sauté some fresh mushrooms and added them at the same time I added the seafood. 


recipe c/o:

Friday, September 15, 2023


 With some out-of-time family coming to town I always plan out meals, snacks, goodies.  So when I was thinking of goodies, homemade cookies came to mind.  I decided to bake a variety I haven't made in quite some time.....and that's gingersnap cookies.  I have to say, they tasted especially good having not had them for so long.  

With the feel of fall in the air, gingersnaps were so perfect.  Crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside.  


3/4 cup vegetable oil                                                                       
1 cup granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
2 tsp. baking soda
1 large egg
1/3 cup molasses
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1-2 tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly spray (or line with parchment two baking sheets)
2.  Beat together the oil, sugar, salt and soda
3.  Beat in the egg, then the molasses
4.  Add the flour and spices, beating to make a smooth and fairly stiff dough
5.  Make the coating by combining the sugar and cinnamon and place in a shallow dish
6.  Form 1" balls and roll into the cinnamon/sugar mixture
7.  Transfer to the prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 1 ½" between them
8.  Bake the cookies for 8-11 minutes for cookies that are crisp around the edges; and "bendy" in the center  (mine were perfect at 9 minutes)
9.  Remove the cookies from the oven and cool right on the pan, or wire rack.  Cool completely, then store tightly wrapped at room temperature.


recipe c/o: