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Check out my science fiction series - The Fall of the Altairan Empire

Thursday, June 1, 2023

Dan's Pudding

 My son is dealing with lymphoma and food allergies. Not a fun combo. One of the few foods that's sitting well for him is pudding. Made from scratch to avoid the stuff he's allergic to. This is his recipe. It takes a lot of effort, mostly standing at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring and stirring..., but it's very tasty. And very rich, definitely not anywhere close to diet. And right now, any calories we can get in him are a plus. So it's worth the effort.

I just made a half gallon of the stuff. That should last him a few days. Maybe.

Dan's Pudding

2 c. cream (half and half or whipping)

1 c. sugar (organic cane sugar for him)

2 c. milk (2% or whole)

6 T. flour

1/2 t. salt

1 t. vanilla

1/4 c. butter

In a 2-quart saucepan, heat cream and sugar over medium low heat. Stir constantly until it comes to a low boil. Keep stirring for five minutes.

Mix milk, flour, and salt, whisk until as smooth as you can get it. Add to the cream mixture, straining through a fine strainer to get all the lumps out.

Stir constantly (I use a flat whisk). Keep stirring until it barely comes to a low boil. That's just a few big bubbles. It will thicken up some before it hits this stage. Once it's bubbling a little, stir over low heat for 20 minutes. Set a timer and just keep stirring.

Remove from the heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into serving dishes and chill. It will thicken up more as it cools.

Banana variation:

Chop up a banana or two and stir in with the butter and vanilla.

Makes 1 quart of pudding, which is anywhere from one really big serving to eight small ones.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Super Simple Spinach Dip

 I adore spinach artichoke dip, but the commercial ones have things that give me problems, like artichokes. So here's my take. It takes 3-4 hours, but most of that is waiting for the slow cooker to do its thing.

Super Simple Spinach Dip

1/2 c. diced onions, sweet preferred

2 T. butter

1 t. minced garlic

1 8 oz pkg cream cheese

1/4 c. milk

1/3 c. mayonnaise

1 t. ground black pepper

1/2 c. chopped dill pickles OR pickled brussels sprouts OR marinated artichokes OR 1/4 c. capers

3-4 c. fresh spinach (I like to use the baby spinach/chard/kale mix)

Dump onions and butter in small crockpot (2-3 quart size). Cover and cook on high for about 1 1/2 hours, until onions are starting to brown. Stir in garlic. 

Drop cream cheese on top, pour milk over. Don't worry about stirring it. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until cream cheese is hot through.

Add mayonnaise, pepper, and pickles. Stir thoroughly.

Coarsely chop spinach. Add on top of other mixture. Pack it in if you like lots of spinach in your dip. Cover and cook on low for about an hour.

Stir spinach into cream cheese mixture. This can get messy, just keep trying to get the spinach coated in the cream cheese. Cover and cook on low for another 15-20 minutes, until spinach is wilted and dip is hot through.

Serve warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes 3-4 cups of dip.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Imposter Tom Kha Gai

 I can't find a good Asian grocer around here that carries fresh produce. I can't find another grocer that carries lemongrass, galangal, or lime leaves. So I found a way to fake it. Not quite the same taste, but still pretty good.

This version is pepper, tomato, and potato free.

And cilantro free. I hate the devil weed. Add it if you want but it's not going to get listed in the ingredients.

Imposter Tom Kha Gai, slow cooker style

1 T. butter

1/3 c. onion, minced

1/2 c. sliced mushrooms

1 t. minced garlic

2 t. fresh minced ginger

1 c. white yam, peeled and diced

1 c. carrots, sliced

1 small can sliced water chestnuts

2 T. chicken bouillon

1 t. ground black pepper

1 t. salt

1 T. lime ponzu OR 2 t. soy sauce and 1 t. lime juice

2 T. lemon juice

2 sprigs fresh thai basil

1 c. cooked chicken, diced OR cooked shrimp

1 14-18 oz can coconut milk (not the sweet dessert kind but the cooking kind)


1/4 c. chopped peppers - red bell, jalapeƱo, thai chili, or whatever

1/2 c. chopped broccoli

1/2 c. sliced zucchini

1/3 c. fresh spinach

1/2 c. chopped kale

1/2 c. chopped chayote squash (stays crispy!)

Heat crock pot on high. Add butter, onion, mushrooms, garlic, and ginger. Let cook for an hour, stirring about halfway through.

Add yams, carrots, water chestnuts, chicken bouillon, salt and pepper. Add just enough boiling water to cover. Cook for 2-3 hours, until vegetables are soft.

Stir in remaining ingredients and whatever optional ones you want to add. Add more hot water if needed. Cover and cook for one more hour, until hot through and all vegetables are cooked.

Serve with rice and garnishes like chopped green onions, chopped hot chilies, chopped peanuts, fresh thai basil leaves, and lime wedges.

Makes between 4 and 10 1.5 cup servings, depending on how many extra vegetables you add and how much extra broth and/or water you add.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Sweet Asian Dressing

 This is like that white salad dressing served in Thai, Japanese, and Sushi restaurants.

Sweet Asian Dressing

1/2 c. mayonnaise
5 T. rice vinegar
2 T. sugar
2 T. sesame oil
1 T. soy sauce
1/4 t. garlic powder

Mix everything together using a blender or a mixer. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Makes about 1 c.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Broccoli Cheese Bites

 Broccoli Cheese Bites

2 eggs
2 c. cooked broccoli, chopped small
1 c. shredded cheese
1/4 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. black pepper
1 c. fine bread crumbs (panko, crushed croutons, GF panko, etc)

Beat eggs. Stir in everything else. Mix until it's all combined.

Shape into balls or tater tot fingers, about 2 t. of mix per ball. Place on oiled baking sheet leaving space between each ball. Spray the tops with baking spray or brush with oil.

Bake at 400°F for 18-25 minutes, until lightly browned and crispy.

Serve with Ranch or blue cheese dipping sauce.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-size appetizers.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Book Review: Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

 Stitching Snow by R. C. Lewis

Rating: 4 stars

PG-13 for some language (mild) and violence (a little over the top at times)

I found this at the library. The cover caught my eye and the title was weird enough I picked it up to see what it was about. SF re-telling of Snow White? Might be interesting. So I took it home.

The first few chapters threw me off. Too much new world without much explanation. The storytelling felt jerky and rough. Once I got past those chapters and got into the story and the world, I enjoyed it.

It's a re-telling of Snow White, in space, with mining robots instead of dwarves. I liked the author's take on the characters. The mining robots were my favorites. It was a solid space opera story with good characters and an interesting storyline.

The romance was kept light and mostly in the background.

The only part of the story I really really disliked was the abuse that was hinted at from her father, then made more explicit towards the end of the book. That was too heavy. In my opinion, it wasn't needed. There was enough serious story with several characters dying and the theme of dealing with grief both past and present.

This is definitely not a Disney version of the fairy tale and not a younger kid's version. I did enjoy it overall, despite the flaws.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

 My daughter says these are the best she's ever eaten and that I had to post the recipe. So here it is. The biggest secret is to let the dough chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

GF Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 c. almond flour
1 1/3 c. GF flour blend (1-to-1 mix, I like the ones that are mostly rice flour)
2 c. milk chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugars, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and vanilla until well blended, at least 2-3 minutes. Add eggs; beat for several minutes until very light and fluffy.

Stir in flours and chocolate chips.

Cover tightly and refrigerate at least 6 hours, better if overnight or even 24 hours.

Remove from the fridge and let stand for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

Scoop out tablespoons of dough, place on greased baking sheet. They will spread a bit so don't crowd them.

Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Let cool on the sheets for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Handle gently because they do tend to crumble.