How to Make Kolache

How to Make Kolache, a lightly sweetened Czech pastry

Kolache, kolace, kolach, or kolacky -

No matter how you spell it,just about everyone enjoys these tasty treats.  My momma taught me how to make kolache the way I do in this post, but there are many different shapes, sizes and fillings.  From  rounds to folded pockets, hand sized to pie-sized, sweet to savory, your imagination seems to be the limit.  Most sources seem to agree that the name “kolache” (however you spell it) comes from the Czech word for “cookie”.  As for the origin of kolache, no one is really certain, but this story from the Polish Art Center is sweet: [Read more…]

Troubleshooting Tips to Help You Bake the Perfect Loaf of Bread

Have trouble baking homemade bread? Get answers to the most common bread baking questions to help you turn baking flops into bread you'll love.

I got a phone call from an old friend yesterday.  As we were talking, his recent bread baking mishaps came up.  He told me, “Next time we’re over for a visit, you have to show me how to bake bread.  I’ve been trying, but one loaf of bread was flat, another loaf of bread looked great and then in caved in, and I just can’t get my bread to turn out right.”  Since he and the family won’t be able to come and visit until summer, I decided to write up a list of troubleshooting tips to help you bake the perfect loaf of bread, or at least bread that won’t do double duty as a door stop.  We’re going to tackle things in a question and answer format, so hopefully if there’s a question you’ve run into while bread baking, you’ll find it in the list. [Read more…]

Cheesy Broccoli Soup with a Surprise Ingredient

Cheesy Broccoli Soup with a Surprise Ingredient - This gluten free soup is loaded with veggies and bacon and one ingredient you may not expect.

I regularly whip together some version of homemade cream of vegetable soup, but when I put together this creamy, cheesy broccoli soup with a hint of bacon, my husband and the boys said it was one of the best I’ve ever made. Since I’m skipping gluten at the moment, I decided to raid the pantry for some dehydrated summer squash to use as an extra thickening agent. Eureka moment! It’s a great use for an abundant veggie, and adds a little more vegetable punch to the recipe, which is never a bad thing. [Read more…]

Super Easy Hard Lotion Bar Recipe

Dry skin?  Try these super easy hard lotion bars made with just 3 ingredients.

These have been wonderful for my winter dry skin.  I used to coat my hands at night with petroleum jelly (before I knew what was in it), because it was the only thing that helped with the dryness.  Normal lotion didn’t help much at all, plus I don’t like the fragrance of most lotions, and many have questionable ingredients.  Since I do a lot of dishes and wash my hands frequently, these bars have been a godsend.  No more dry skin for me!  My only regret is that I didn’t try them sooner, since they are so easy to make.  The smell is light and pleasant, and they absorb fairly quickly.

Most homemade lotion recipes involve quite a few ingredients, blenders and more mess than I’d prefer to clean up.  In contrast, all you need for these these bars is three ingredients, one pot, and molds – that’s it!

I used a recipe from Jo’s Health Corner, a site that I highly recommend.  Jo has tons of neat ideas for natural health products.

Hard Lotion Bar Recipe [Read more…]

Onion Pudding

Onion Pudding - an old-fashioned savory side dish that complements any meal.  Need to use up lots of onions?  Try this dish!

2014 blessed us with an onion harvest like I have never seen before. Red, yellow and white onions were hauled out of the garden by the bucketful to fill the shelves of the root cellar. The white onions, a Vidalia type, were so sweet that when my sister visited at Thanksgiving, she said they were the first garden onion she’d consider eating like an apple.  While nearly every savory dish we enjoy includes onions in one form or another, I wanted to add some new onion focused recipes to the menu. I started digging through my favorite veggie focused cookbooks, and came across a recipe for onion pudding in “Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things: A Cookbook for When Your Garden Explodes“.

What’s onion pudding?  Think rich and creamy onions with a hint of cheesy goodness.  The high oven temp gives a bit of a crispy edge while leaving a smooth center.  It’s a wonderful side dish with any meat, and a great complement to a salad or other fresh veggie dish.  To make the most of this dish, I highly recommend taking the time to grate your Parmesan cheese fresh.  The flavor and texture is so much better than the green can product with wood pulp added to prevent caking.  And since Parmesan is a hard cheese, it lasts a really long time in the fridge, especially if you vacuum seal any leftover chunks.  I usually bake mine in a nine inch glass pie plate, which makes 8 slices. [Read more…]