Easy Way to Plan Your Eating

Here’s a short video that can help you decide how much of which foods to eat to maintain a healthy weight (or lose if you are eating too much!):



Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Diabetic, General Info, Health, My life, Nutrition & Diet

Good Post on The World’s Healthiest Foods (Foods to Lower Cholesterol)

Something You Should Know to Improve Your Health

It’s good to know what foods can help you lower your bad cholesterol. Many of them also work on cancer prevention. This is a really good article called “Elevated Cholesterol 3: What foods and nutrients are good for healthy cholesterol levels?”

Thanks to Maria Hostetter at Rockingham Memorial Hospital Heart Health program for this excellent article.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Health, My life, Nutrition & Diet

Italian Chicken

This is one of the simplest, but tastiest, chicken recipes I make. You can grill the chicken indoors on a George Foreman Grill or outdoors on a gas or charcoal grill. We enjoyed this Saturday night with Risotto and Indian Ratatouille.


Italian Chicken is easy and tasty.

Italian Chicken
Serves 2

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1/2 pound each)
1/2 cup Italian Dressing (regular or fat-free)

Put the chicken in a shallow dish and pour the Italian dressing over it. Marinate the chicken in the Italian dressing for at least one hour in the refrigerator. Grill the chicken for about 9 or 10 minutes a side until the chicken is done (when pricked, the juices run clear).


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Entrees or Main Course, Poultry


Risotto, Indian Ratatouille, Italian Chicken

Risotto is a creamy rice side dish or you can eat is as a main dish. It is made from Arborio rice. I made some on Saturday night to accompany Italian Chicken and Indian Ratatouille.

Serves 6


1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cups vegetable broth or 3 cups water + 2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons fresh cinnamon basil (or regular fresh basil), chopped (optional)


Saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat in the oil; continue cooking for about 2 minutes. Add the basil and then add the broth, one cup at a time, until the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.

Idea: Add 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese at the end and stir until melted.

Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in My life, Side Dishes, Supper, Uncategorized | Tagged

Lois’ Mixed Berries Romanoff

Berries Romanoff with Shortcake

Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, wine berries and mangoes are good in this dessert.

Recipe Idea: We had this dessert for supper tonight. Don made the shortcake and I made the berries. I changed Don’s Strawberries Romanoff from simply strawberries to a mixed berry combination of blueberries, raspberries and strawberries. Also, the original recipe calls for either Grand Marnier or Cointreau, but we didn’t have either, so I used Triple Sec. It was delicious. The shortcake comes from our strawberry shortcake recipe.

Lois’ Mixed Berries Romanoff
Serves 8

Mixed Berries Romanoff Nutrition Label (includes Shortcake)

Mixed Berries Romanoff Nutrition Label (includes Shortcake)


2 pints of mixed berries: raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, and/or blackberries (mango is good, too)
1/3 C granulated sugar
4 tsp powdered sugar, divided in half
1/3 C Triple Sec (or Gran Marnier or Cointreau)
Zest of one orange or 1/2 tsp dried orange zest
1 C heavy (whipping) cream
A few drops of vanilla extract

Wash the berries and pat dry by blotting with paper towel. If you are using strawberries, remove stems and slice them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside. In a bowl mix the 1/3 C sugar, 2 tsp powdered sugar, orange zest and Triple Sec. Pour this mixture over the berries and lightly toss to be sure they are all coated with the liquid. Refrigerate in a covered bowl until time to serve.

Whip the heavy cream adding the 2 tsp of powdered sugar (and a few drops of vanilla extract if desired) halfway through.

Serve the berries over shortcake with a dollop of whipped cream, or separately without the shortcake.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Cakes, Desserts, Fruits and Jellies

The Best Blueberry Pie

The Johnson’s sent out an email in the middle of last week warning that the last of the blueberries were being picked. So we were up early on Saturday and off to the farmer’s market to get 6 pints. Some to eat and some to make a pie with. Sharon O’Connor’s Menus and Music email had an enticing blueberry pie recipe. But never satisfied with recipes as written, I added  my own signature ideas to make this one. Some changes were intentional and some were driven by lack of an ingredient or two.

First for thickening my fruit pies I like to use Tapioca rather than just plain flour. Then my favorite deep dish pie plate is one made by our friend and potter Betsy Krome and it’s only 8 inches not 10 as the original recipe called for. 8-inch deep dish pies are perfect for our empty nest home. Hence 5 cups of blueberries was reduced to 4. And the usual stash of vegetable shortening had somehow disappeared; therefore, butter replaced the shortening in the pie crust. I added lemon juice and cinnamon just to zest it up a bit. Voila! The Best Blueberry Pie.

Blueberry pie

Don's Best Blueberry Pie

Makes one 8-inch pie

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces or 3/4 cup Crisco
4 T water

4 C fresh organic blueberries
1/2 C sugar
1/4 C Tapioca
1 T lemon juice
1/4 t cinnamon
2 – 3 T cinnamon and sugar mixed
1 beaten egg yolk

Combine the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. With the processor running, slowly add the water until the dough forms into a ball. (You may have to stop and scrape the dough from the sides to be sure it is all blended.) Roll the dough into a ball and divide it in half. Then on a lightly floured counter, press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic separating the two disks with waxed paper and refrigerate for at least one hour.

In a suitable bowl combine the blueberries, sugar, Tapioca, lemon juice and cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 450F degrees.

On a lightly floured surface (I use parchment, butcher paper or freezer paper) roll out one pastry disk to a 10-inch round. Carefully fit it into the deep-dish pie pan. Trim the crust allowing for about a 1-inch overhang. Mound the filling mixture onto the pie shell. Roll out the other disk large enough to cover the top pie crust with some overhang. Trim the top crust, fold the edge under the bottom crust and crimp the two together. Cut steam vents in the top crust. Brush the top crust with the egg yolk and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture over the top crust.

Bake at 450F degrees for 10 minutes; then reduce the temperature to 350F degrees and bake for 50 minutes longer.

Let the pie cool before cutting into individual serving-size pieces.

Have an idea on how to make blueberry pie differently? Post a comment.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Cooking Tips, Desserts, Fruits and Jellies, Holiday Food, Lunch, My life, Pie, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Vinegar Dressing for Bitter Lettuce, Cucumbers & Onions or Tomatoes

We had more of our bitter leaf lettuce tonight. As Don was looking for another recipe, he came across this one, which is exactly what I was looking for when I made the Wilted Lettuce Salad over the weekend. It’s a simple salad dressing that takes just minutes to make.

Lettuce and tomato salad

Bitter leaf lettuce, tomato and onions is a good combination for Vinegar Dressing

Grandma’s Vinegar Dressing for Tomatoes
Serves 4


2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper


Whisk all the ingredients together and pour it over your salad. This is good over a simple lettuce and onion salad, sliced tomatoes, or sliced cucumbers and onions.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Accompaniments, Gluten free, Lunch, My life, Salad, Supper, Vegetables, Vegetarian

Wilted Lettuce Salad

This year I had some lettuce volunteer to grow in one of my pots. I ignored it and it grew and grew and grew. In fact, it was about 2 feet tall when I took this picture on Sunday.

gigantic leaf lettuce

I thought leaf lettuce grew in little clumps, not tall like brussel sprouts!

I decided to make a salad with some of it and cut off about a third of it for dinner. I remembered that my mom made a salad dressing with vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper, but I didn’t remember the proportions and decided I’d wait to experiment on that dressing another time.

I looked up a recipe in James Beard’s American Cookery cookbook. All of his cookbooks always have good, traditional recipes. Since leaf lettuce is a little bitter, I wanted something with sugar in it to offset that bitterness. This recipe, which is similar to a hot bacon dressing used on spinach salads, was delicious.

Wilted Lettuce Salad
Serves 2


2 cups Leaf lettuce (or baby spinach is good, too)
1/2 a Vidalia onion, sliced in thin rounds or diced
2 slices bacon
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 hard-boiled egg, cut into small pieces (optional)


James Beard says to use a warm bowl to serve the salad. I didn’t do that and it was terrific anyway. Wash the lettuce and pat it dry. Slice the onions and toss them on top of the lettuce. If using the egg, add it now.

Wilted Lettuce Salad

Wilted Lettuce Salad

Fry the bacon until crisp. Remove from pan and crumble over the top of the lettuce. In the same frying pan, pour in the sugar and vinegar and whisk until smooth and syrupy. Immediately pour the sauce over the lettuce and serve promptly. Since I had precooked bacon, I simply warmed up the bacon in the pan with a little olive oil and then continued with the rest of the recipe as written above. Olive oil is better for you than bacon grease, so I suggest you try the recipe this way.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Accompaniments, Lunch, My life, Salad, Sauces, Vegetables

Aunt Pauline’s Dillie Bread

Dillie Bread

Dillie Bread is good alone or with chipped beef on toast.

This is a great bread recipe passed down from my mother’s Aunt Pauline. She lived in an era where most bread was made at home. My mother used to make creamed chip beef gravy to serve over toasted slices of Dillie Bread. I like it with butter when it comes warm from the oven.  It’s also great accompaniment to a peasant meal on a cold winter’s evening.

Like all bread recipes, it takes a little finesse to bring it to life. I add about 1 cup of flour less at the beginning and also reserve one cup of water kneading first one then the other after the other ingredients have been blended.

Makes 4 loaves

12 C flour
1/4 C sugar
4 t salt
4 t dill seed
about 3 C warm water
3 packages of active yeast
1/3 C vegetable oil
2 C cottage cheese
1/4 C diced fresh onion

Dissolve the yeast in 2 C warm water.

Combine the oil, cottage cheese and onion in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Mix the dry ingredients, add the cottage cheese mixture and the water/yeast. Knead the dough adding flour and water until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Cover it and let it raise in a warm area until double in bulk. Punch down and divide the dough into 4 pieces, put in oiled loaf pans and let it raise again until double in bulk. Brush the top with melted butter and bake for 45 minutes in  a preheated 375F degree oven.

Momma Betty

Momma Betty loves Dillie Bread.

Slice and enjoy a warm slice as soon as it comes from the oven. Can be wrapped tightly and frozen. Also ships well to send to a friend. We will be sending one of our loaves from today to my mom on Tuesday. It’s one of her favorites.


Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Breads, Hearty food

Strawberries Romanoff

Berries Romanoff

If you don't like strawberries, you can use any kind of berries you do like in this recipe.

This is a quick dessert that can be prepared ahead to add a delightful finish to an elegant meal. Sometimes I’ll slice the strawberries and use this recipe for strawberry shortcake.

This came from one of those glossy cards some company sent years ago promoting their “recipe of the month” club. The ironic anecdote on the card said that although this is a recipe with Russian origin it is most often served in French restaurants. It was named for the royal family in Imperial Russia at whose court mostly French food was served!

Serves 8

2 pints of red, ripe strawberries
1/3 C granulated sugar
2 tsp powdered sugar
1/3 C Gran Marnier or Cointreau
Zest of one orange
1 C heavy cream

Cut the stems from the strawberries; wash well and dry by blotting with paper towel. Place the strawberries in a bowl. Add the 1/3 C sugar to the Gran Marnier or Cointreau, mix and pour over the strawberries. Sprinkle the orange zest over all and gently toss the strawberries to be sure they have all been coated with the liquid. Refrigerate in a covered bowl until time to serve.

Whip the heavy cream adding the 2 tsp of powdered sugar (and a few drops of vanilla or almond extract if desired) half way through.

Place the strawberries in an appropriate serving dish and serve with the whip cream.

~Don Crawford

Recipe Idea Shop logo

Posted in Desserts, Fruits and Jellies, General Info, Gluten free, My life, Vegetarian