Gluten Free · Cookies and Bars · Breakfast

Banana Breakfast Cookies

Very ripe bananas were on hand and this recipe was on my list. I chose to double the recipe (based on 4 ripe bananas) and chose to make the cookies smaller. I pressed the dough down before I baked them with a spatula. I found that a longer baking time was needed to assure that the cookies browned on the bottom and weren’t gooey.

They were delicious and the grandsons gave a ‘thumbs up’ to these cookies. Don’t tell them they are fairly healthy!

Banana Breakfast Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cup oats
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 2 over ripe mashed bananas
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup chocolate chips optional, + 2 tablespoons for topping
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla, optional
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper, and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine oats, mashed bananas, peanut butter, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together with rubber spatula and add ½ cup chocolate chips. Mix again.
  3. Divide the dough into seven cookies and place them in the parchment paper pan. Press down on the cookies to make a cookie shape and about ½ inch thick. Top cookies with extra chocolate chips if desired.
  4. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!
  5. Note: You can store the cookies in the fridge for up to 3 days in a tight container or you can freeze them for up to 2 months.

Recipe from


Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Bars

My rhubarb plant finally produced enough fruit to make a dessert and the crumble bars hit the mark. In my rush to make the recipe I forgot to pulse the crust in the food processor but the results were still delicious, although a bit chewier than the original recipe. Delicious topped with whipped cream or ice cream!

Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble Bars



  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans

Fruit Filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped strawberries
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped rhubarb
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. Combine oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse twice to combine. Add butter, pulse until well incorporated. Measure our 1 cup of oat misture and reserve for topping. Transfer remaining dough to prepared baking pan. Press down firmly to form an even crust.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine strawberries, rhubarb, sugar and cornstarch. Spread the fruit filling over the crust.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the reserved oat mixture with the chopped pecans. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit filling.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbly in spots around the edges. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Recipe from United Healthcare RENEW magazine

Appetizers · Family · Family Favorites · Fish · Sandwiches

Maryland Crab Cakes with Remoulade Sauce

Crab and Crab Cakes are a family favorite! Oh, the memories of visiting the crab houses in Maryland with family, hammers in hand with bibs on all. Or on Sarah’s 4th Birthday when she requested crab and artichockes for her birthday dinner. Be careful when introducing young kids to expensive food…they might just like it!

Crab Cakes are easy to make and delicious alone or on a bun with Remoulade sauce. This family favorite will be returning soon.

Maryland Crab Cakes


1 pound jumbo lump, handpicked Maryland crabmeat (I purchased crab meat from Costco)
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
5 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp prepared mustard
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning or J.O. Crab Seasoning


Combine breadcrumbs, egg, mayonnaise, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and crab seasoning and mix well.

Pour mixture over crabmeat and fold in taking care not to break up the lumps.

Form into six cakes and pat until just firm, then deep fry in 350°F corn oil 2-3 minutes until golden brown.

Recipe from

Remoulade Sauce

  • ⅔ cup mayo
  • 1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste

Stir all together to combine.  Chill.

Cookies and Bars

Chocolate Cookies

Chocolate Cookies…yummy, soft and crispy on the edges. While this recipe is delicious, I chose to skip the espresso powder and cardamon. Lord knows, my grandkids don’t need to have caffeine/energy. I only wish I could bottle and use the incredible amount of energy they have. Needless to say, the sugar rush was enough for all of us. Delicious!

Chocolate Cookies

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups brown sugar, loosely packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 1/4 all-purpose flour (470 grams)
  • 1 cup dark cocoa powder (100 grams – I like this best with dark cocoa powder, but regular cocoa powder will work, too)
  • 1–2 tablespoons espresso powder (optional, but recommended if you’re using regular cocoa powder to give the flavor more depth)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • extra cane or granulated sugar for rolling
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing gently until just combined.
  2. Add flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix until combined into a soft dough.
  3. Form into balls (about ¼ cup per cookie / ball). Roll each ball in the extra sugar (mixed with cardamom, if you want). Bake for 10-12 minutes (I recommend 6-8 at a time on the baking sheet, so you’ll need to bake in batches). Remove from oven and let them rest – you want the cookies settle down a bit and give you crisped edges with thicker, soft-baked centers.

Recipe from PinchofYum

Meats · Sandwiches

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

Italian Beef Sandwiches has been on my to-do list for months. I recently made the beef but altered the recipe to remove the pepperocini spice to accomodate my grandkids. The result was delicious! This sandwich reminds me of a French Dip and more beef broth could be added, or served separately, for a dipping sauce. A side of caramelized onions would take this sandwich over the top. Everyone in the family enjoyed it and the recipe will be in my crowd-pleasing rotation.

Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwiches

  • 3 lb. chuck roast, trimmed of all visable fat and cut into large chunks
  • 1 envelope Good Seasons Zesty Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1 envelope Ranch Dressing
  • 1 envelope Beef Au Jus seasoning
  • 14.5 oz. can beef broth
  • Provolone cheese slices
  • 8 oz. Giardiniera (Chicago-Style Italian Sandwich Mix), drained (optional)
  • Pepperoncini peppers (optional)
  • Hoagie buns
  1. Add contents of 3 seasoning envelopes into 5.5 – 6 quart crock pot. Add beef broth and stir to combine. Place chuck roast into the bottom of a 5.5 – 6 quart crock pot, then spoon some of the seasoning over the top of the roast. OPTIONAL: If you like more spice, you can add 8 oz. pepperoncini pepper slices and a splash of juice.
  2. Place lid on crockpot and cook on low for 9 hours, or until meat shreds easily with a fork. Shred, then place meat back into crock pot and cook on low for 1 additional hour.
  3. Split bun since in half then scoop the shredded meat on top and add provolone cheese slies. Top or serve separately with additional pepperoncini peppers and Giardiniera, if desired.

Recipe slightly adapted from IowaGirlEats

Cookies and Bars · Family Favorites


Snickerdoodles aren’t a fancy cookie but, oh my, are they good! I have fond memories of eating these cookies made by my sister and my Mom. Now they are favorite for my family, too.


  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar, shortening and eggs.
  3. Sift flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt; add to creamed mixture.
  4. Mix until well blended. Chill if desired.
  5. Combine 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon separately.
  6. Form dough into small balls the size of a walnut and roll in cinnamon sugar.
  7. Place on an engrossed cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes on baking sheet before moving to cooling rack.

Recipe from our family recipe box.

Soups and Stews

Leftover Pork and Potato Soup

My son-in-law makes a mean Smoked Pork Butt on his Traeger. (Hopefully, I’ll remember to get the recipe and photos next time). Recently he smoked several pork butts for us and when I brought them home to shred, the broth was so rich. I decided to chill the broth and later skim off the fat (and it was a lot!). I then froze the remaining broth in muffin tins and when frozen solid, I saved for later use in sauce and soups.

This recipe popped us as an idea for a soup and I adapated to my taste, substituting a sweet potato instead of mushrooms. The soup has a slight smoky flavor and so delicious, not to mention, good for you! The recipe can be adapted to use whatever leftover meat and vegetables you may have on hand. But if you have leftover smoked pork and broth…you have to try it!

Leftover Pork and Potato Soup

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, diced
  • 4 celery ribs, diced
  • 4 large carrots, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • 1 to 2 cups leftover pork, cubed into 1/2” pieces or smaller (I used smoke pork)
  • 1/2 cup smoked pork broth (captured during the smoke process–optional)
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground or rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp ground thyme
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 large fistfuls of fresh kale (or frozen kale)
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook on medium until the onions just start to turn translucent.
  2. Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook until the vegetables start to become soft.
  3. Add the potatoes and chicken stock and simmer, cooking until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add the leftover pork, seasonings and kale and cook until the kale is wilted and the pork is heated through, about 5-10 minutes.
  5. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.

Adapted from dontwastethecrumbs

Appetizers · Holidays · Vegetables

Easter Bunny Vegetable Platter

Who doesn’t love a relish tray to graze on instead of filling up on heavy appetizers? Well, it’s a healthy thought! I do enjoy putting together a creative relish tray that the grandkids will enjoy before we jump into it. This idea popped up on Pinterest and I had to try it. I’ve tried the Turkey Relish Tray and had fun with that. What’s next? Can I sculpt my older women self for Mother’s Day?

Easter Bunny Relish Tray

  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Red Pepper, cut into strips and square for nose
  • Baby Carrots
  • Celery, cut into sticks
  • Raisins
  • Ranch Dip or Dip of choice
  1. Wash and prepare vegetables.
  2. Arrange into design as shown.


Cookies and Bars

Banana Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Too many ripe bananas prompted me to make Banana Oatmeal Cookies, but with the additional of Chocolate Chips. This is a recipe of my Mother, Betty Smaha. She was such an excellent cook and I love making her recipes, bringing me back in time to the Smaha Farm and the sweet smell of her baking cookies, breads and pies.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cup old fashioned oats
  • Optional: 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips or 1/2 cup raisins.
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets
  2. Beat egg in mixer; add softened butter and combine. Add sugar, combine. Add bananas, combine.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats
  4. Add dry ingredients to sugar mixture. Combine well.
  5. Stir in optional nuts, chocolate chips or raisins.
  6. Drop dollops of dough to cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown.
  7. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe from my sweet Mom, Betty Smaha.


Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

Thai food is so delicious but always seemed overwhelming to make. Once I tried some of IowaGirlEats Thai recipes, I knew I could make these dishes at home. Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup does not disappoint and is a quick, easy recipe. At first the ingredients may seem overwhelming, but it’s worth it. I was leary about the amount of red curry paste but 4 tablespoons yielded a mild amount of heat and added wonderful flavor. I added about 1 T. of fresh cilantro to the soup for even more flavor. Some of my family are anti-mushroom, but replacing with carrots would be delicious! IowaGirl Eats also suggests subsituting the rice for riced cauliflower and that would make this dish even healthier.

Thai Coconut Shrimp Soup

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 large shallot or small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 3-4 Tablespoons gluten free red curry paste, depending on how hot you like it
  • 2 cups gluten free chicken broth
  • 15oz can coconut milk (I prefer full fat in this recipe)
  • 1 Tablespoon gluten free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1lb 16/20 jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 8oz mushrooms, very thinly sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 lime, cut in half, one half sliced into wedges
  • For serving: cooked rice, chopped cilantro (For even more flavor add 1 T. of fresh cilantro to the soup)
  1. Melt oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add shallot or onion then saute until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger then saute until extremely fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add red curry paste – careful, as it may spit a bit – then saute for 1 more minute. Slowly pour in chicken broth while scraping up any bits from the bottom of the pot then add coconut milk, gluten free Tamari, fish sauce, coconut sugar, dried basil, and salt and pepper to taste. Turn heat up to high to bring the soup to a bubble then turn heat  down to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Turn heat up to high to bring soup to a rolling boil then add shrimp, mushrooms, and spinach. Simmer until shrimp are fully cooked through, 4-5 minutes, then squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lime and stir. Serve soup with cooked rice, lime wedges, and chopped fresh cilantro.

Recipe from IowaGirl Eats